Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: "The Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson マネーの進化史 : ニーアル ファーガソン

I love history and finance, and this was both. It was pure pleasure from page one. Niall Ferguson explains both very creatively and amusingly, a very complex journey of how money started out. You learn how it evolved as a means of exchange at first, to the current storage of wealth. We then learn more about its globalized spread as a critical need for use across borders. 

This book and in-depth research has been so popular it also became a BBC documentary series with wonderfully engaging episodes. There were a number of stories in financial history that I had never before encountered, and I liked that historic challenge. Was Forex market making really how the great families in Italy like the Medicis, made their fortunes for example? Our modern day view of banking does seem to have its origins from this point. 

The original word for bank, comes from banco or bench, where the original money changers worked from in Florence. If they went insolvent, they broke their bench, hence the term bankruptcy in English used today. There were so many similar amazing facts about how the world of money started, evolved and later developed. It was a treasure trove of fascinating historical facts like this.

Barter is how we all began, but both coins and currency, have had an amazing change in development over time. This is what the author Niall Ferguson, really helps you to better understand. Bitcoins are just the latest chapter. It is but one of a long list of new products and concepts that sometimes work, sometimes not, but always moves forward. You have to make mistakes in order to learn, and the world's economies are no different. There have been plenty of global mistakes to learn from.

No matter how much you think you know about, there is always something more to add to your knowledge and consider. The world of money is the history of the world's economy, and it is a story that is ultimately never ending. At 400+ pages this book is long and really enjoyable, in a full bodied multi-course dinner kind of way. 

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that impact any reader are:

1) Rome was the first large system on earth to use a common widely used money. Gold, silver and copper coins originated large distribution across borders from there.
2) Abuse of metal coins came soon after as late stage empire economics had a negative impact across the Roman world.
3) Paper currency may have originated in China, but finding common means of exchange has always been a challenge globally. This is true for many markets, even today with virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

History used to be boring and bland in the hands of many, but this author Niall Ferguson, is different. The author's style is so entertaining that I feared its ending as I ran out of pages left in the book. This is always a very good sign. This book is really focused on the twin subjects of finance & history, if these interest you, then this book is Highly Recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

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