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Money Changes Everything:
How Finance Made Civilization Possible
William N. Goetzmann

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Its strength is the effort it makes to set money not only in its economic context, but also in its wider social and cultural setting."--Warwick Lightfoot, Financial World

"[A] fascinating book."--Martin Wolf, Financial Times

"[A] magnificent history of money and finance."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Money Changes Everything is a treasure, unequalled in scope, unparalleled in depth of insight. . . . This is a must-read for anyone in finance or who wants to find out what it's about."--Financial Post

"A most pertinent and brave publication. . . . This hefty, worthy book, really is a historical eye-opener."--David Marx Book Reviews

"A panoramic historical sweep packed with interesting nuggets. . . . All very enjoyable, and I'd say essential for anyone interested in financial history."--Enlightened Economist

"Money Changes Everything is altogether a splendid book."--Mark Gamin, D&O Diary Blog

"Rigorously researched and extremely enjoyable to read, Money Changes Everything enhances investors' understanding of contemporary markets."--Bruce Grantier, Financial Analysts Journal

"William Goetzmann's Money Changes Everything is a thorough look at finance and world history, a 5,000-year journey that demonstrates the pivotal role of free market capitalism in building nations and serving human interests."--Washington Free Beacon

"Goetzmann offers an extraordinarily wide-ranging and thorough investigation of financial activity from earliest times to the present day, and his enthusiasm for the subject and his lively writing style make the topic much more engaging than one might expect. The immense breadth of his research means that every reader, no matter how expert in history or finance, will learn much. . . . The book has something for everyone."--Peter Acton, Australian Book Review

"The book is replete with fascinating historical tales and figures, including an option payoff diagram developed by Henri Lefèvre in the mid-1800s. Well-written and engaging, Goetzmann's book is a wonderful resource for those interested in learning more about the historical role of finance and its potential for addressing future challenges."--Choice

"Goetzmann weaves his expertise in finance, architecture, archaeology, sinology, and art history into a wonderfully rich tapestry. Goetzmann's enthusiasm for his topic is infectious. . . . Goetzmann has written a wonderfully erudite book in a way which is accessible to a wide audience. This book should be compulsory reading for all finance professionals and anyone with an interest in economics, finance, or history. If you want to understand how money changes everything, then Goeztmann's magnum opus is a must-read."--John D Turner, Economic History Review

"This fascinating book rehabilitates finance by examining its 5,000 years of history."--Martin Wolf, Financial Times

"No one book can capture all there is to know about financial history. But Money Changes Everything comes awfully close to a comprehensive review of financial infrastructure. . . . The intersection of war, nation-building, finance, mathematics, and even art is given exhaustive analysis in this book. . . . Goetzmann’s work is a fascinating tour through the history of currency, finance, probability, and risk."--David R. Henderson, Regulation


"Only William Goetzmann--an archaeologist, art historian, and esteemed finance scholar--could have produced this masterful exploration of money and investing through the ages. Money Changes Everything is at once deep, broad, sweeping, and gorgeously illustrated. It is a book that readers will savor and refer to again and again."--William Bernstein, author of A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

"Money is the greatest invention since the wheel. In this masterwork, Money Changes Everything, William Goetzmann traces money's role from prehistoric times to the present, showing how civilizations developed on a bedrock of financial transactions. A beautifully written and compelling book."--Elroy Dimson, University of Cambridge and London Business School

"In Money Changes Everything, readers learn a tremendous amount about the core ideas of finance. William Goetzmann uses a vast range of historical examples to explain why the evolution of finance and civilization are inseparable."--Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"In this engaging book, William Goetzmann, a modern Renaissance man, demonstrates that throughout recorded history, the power of financial technologies has improved human existence. Like other technologies, financial innovations can sometimes be disruptive. Goetzmann, however, shows us that much of the time, these innovations propel economic progress and expand individual opportunities."--Richard Sylla, Stern School of Business, New York University

"If anyone had told me that someone could write coherently and intelligently about Karl Marx, cuneiform tablets, the South Sea bubble, the opium trade, and David's painting Death of Marat between a single set of covers, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. This book accomplishes precisely this. Money Changes Everything does nothing less than to think through the contribution of finance to modern civilization. A thrilling read."--Hans-Joachim Voth, University of Zurich

"Ranging from early civilizations to the present day and moving from the Fertile Crescent to our current global society, this book contains a wealth of interesting observations about the history of finance. Readers will be attracted by the genial tone and tales of personal discovery."--Peter Temin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This is a long-term history of the development and importance of financial technologies and institutions. A useful synthesis that brings together primary materials, the book argues that financial systems provide the means for advancing civilization."--Graham Oliver, Brown University

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File created: 9/19/2017

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