‘The Ascent of Money’ – Niall Ferguson

Trying to make sense of the current global financial meltdown is not easy, but Niall Ferguson’s very accessible and readable history of money (and its derivatives, such as bonds, insurance and banking) is a good place to start. The book has been recently updated to take account of developments last year, but it seems hardly surprising that things went the way they did, given the background Ferguson provides.

It’s something of an irony to think that the US government bears a share of responsibility for causing the collapse, given its encouragement of people to take out mortgages they could ill-afford. Of course, the sub-prime mortgage failure is only one of the causes, but Ferguson leads us neatly and gently through the financial world and its history.

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