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The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World [Anglais] [Relié]

Niall Ferguson
4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

The hardback publication of Niall Ferguson's book was prophetic, but this edition - topped and tailed with a passionate, closely argued call for us to educate ourselves about financial markets - could not be more timely (Tony Clements Telegraph)

Dazzling ... extraordinarily timely (Martin Vander Weyer Spectator)

A whistle-stop tour of the historical events that gave us the financial system we have today ... To Niall Ferguson's list of talents we can now add great timing (Stephanie Flanders Mail on Sunday)

Ferguson is the most brilliant British historian of his generation ... he writes with splendid panache (Times)

Ferguson's powers are on formidable display (Tristram Hunt Observer)

Wonderfully accessible ... Ferguson is spot on (Allister Heath Literary Review)

A fine history ... told with verve and insight (Daily Telegraph)

One of the world's leading historians (Hamish McRae Independent) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

Watch the PBS program based on The Ascent of Money.

Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of finance, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance.

Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it’s the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it’s the chains of labor. But in The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. What’s more, he reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history.

Through Ferguson’s expert lens familiar historical landmarks appear in a new and sharper financial focus. Suddenly, the civilization of the Renaissance looks very different: a boom in the market for art and architecture made possible when Italian bankers adopted Arabic mathematics. The rise of the Dutch republic is reinterpreted as the triumph of the world’s first modern bond market over insolvent Habsburg absolutism. And the origins of the French Revolution are traced back to a stock market bubble caused by a convicted Scot murderer.

With the clarity and verve for which he is known, Ferguson elucidates key financial institutions and concepts by showing where they came from. What is money? What do banks do? What’s the difference between a stock and a bond? Why buy insurance or real estate? And what exactly does a hedge fund do?

This is history for the present. Ferguson travels to post-Katrina New Orleans to ask why the free market can’t provide adequate protection against catastrophe. He delves into the origins of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Perhaps most important, The Ascent of Money documents how a new financial revolution is propelling the world’s biggest countries, India and China, from poverty to wealth in the space of a single generation—an economic transformation unprecedented in human history.

Yet the central lesson of the financial history is that sooner or later every bubble bursts—sooner or later the bearish sellers outnumber the bullish buyers, sooner or later greed flips into fear. And that’s why, whether you’re scraping by or rolling in it, there’s never been a better time to understand the ascent of money.


Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 432 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Press HC, The (13 novembre 2008)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1594201927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201929
  • Dimensions du produit: 23,6 x 16,4 x 3,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 87.404 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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4.8 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Une approche très agréable d'un sujet difficile 9 février 2011
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Avant toute chose, ce livre est facile à lire. Ce n'est pas un ouvrage d'économie compliqué, c'est un livre d'histoire très bien écrit, sur un sujet qui ferait fuir n'importe qui (et ici à tort). Le livre débute aux temps les plus anciens, et déroule une fresque historique de Sumer aux subprimes de Detroit avec une aisance déroutante. Sans être un prix Nobel d'économie, l'auteur domine son sujet avec aisance, et promène le lecteur à travers des sujets - comme l'assurance chez les Ecossais - dont je n'aurai pas imaginé qu'ils puissent être décrits aussi bien (et c'est fichtrement intéressant, en plus !). A lire sans hésitation aucune, et à faire lire.
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19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par fCh
Format:Relié
Ferguson comes up again as an unabashed defender of empire(s), especially those espousing financial capitalism as modus operandi. So much so that he touches revisionist overtones at times.

Had this been just a history book, however partial, Ascent of Money would have been only half bad. However, Ferguson's ideological positions only add insult to the periodic injury produced by financial capitalism.

Staying with history for a while, the book makes for a quick traversal of modern financial instruments and some of the supporting institutions and ideologies. Assuming the role of historian of finance, Ferguson doesn't seem to worry about proving anything; a narrative from the perspective of the victors, in (t)his case, the Anglo-Saxon financial elites, might do just as well. One comes away with the idea that financial capitalism is better, necessary, and almost always self-sufficient. Moreover, the welfare state should be viewed not only as a half-baked idea of capitalists, but also past its due date by now.

Here are few examples of missing pieces from Ferguson's take one the rise of financial capitalism: Nowhere is the goal of financial capitalism explicitly stated. I would posit that financial markets are supposed to help/guide us to do the best resource allocation (read, optimal) with the idea of maximizing social welfare. The "us" above is the state and voting citizenry, and not the financial elites alone. Without any compass at work, it's easy for the author to ignore the societal costs of financial capitalism--in the UK/US case, the disappearance of production followed by de-professionalization, and misallocation of resources during, and in the aftermath of, bubbles.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Livre très instructif 28 septembre 2012
Par Octobre
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Ce livre regorge d'anecdotes historiques à travers les siècles sur la finance, ses relations avec la politique, les guerres, l'économie. Il est très abordable pour un public non averti même si parfois certaines notions sur la masse monétaire sont un peu pointues.
C'est un livre généraliste qui parle un peu de tout. Il essaie par exemple de donner une explication historique au fait que certaines industries financières comme le Droit d'Affaires ou Financier (qui était un parent pauvre à l'origine)soient devenues florissantes et emploient majoritairement des personnes du même milieu ethno-religieux.
Il est bien écrit et se laisse lire. A la limite du loisir et de l'instruction. Très bon.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Comprehensive but complex 26 décembre 2012
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This provides a detailed explanation of economic history starting in 13th century Venice, through the various bubbles with their consequent collapses up to the financial crash of today. The research must have been formidable - 40% of the book consists of footnotes -unfortunately, all at the end.

I found it more difficult towards the end with today's credit default swaps and other financial wheezes designed to part the clients from their money.

It fully lives up to its title and I am full of admiration for the author.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  282 commentaires
296 internautes sur 315 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Financial Subplot 15 novembre 2008
Par Izaak VanGaalen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Niall Ferguson has written an easily accessible and very entertaining history of finance, ranging from the clay tokens of Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago to the hedge funds of today. The title of this book has apparently been modelled on Jacob Bronowski's "The Ascent of Man," and like that book it will be made into a television series. Being a television celebrity is not something that wins the admiration of one's peers in the history profession, to say the least. But those little rebukes are relatively mild compared to the scorn he received for his political views in Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power and Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. In those works he argued that empire was beneficial not only to the mother country but the dominated countries as well. In this work he chronicles not only the history of money but also makes a case for liberalized finance.

Ferguson examines the financial subplot behind some of the major historical powers such as the role of money in ancient Mesopotamia, the denarius in Roman society, and gold and silver in the civilization of the Incas. He is very good in his descriptions of financial families like the Medicis and the Rothchilds, and how they became banking dynasties. Another memorable episode was the rise of Amsterdam as the world's financial center and the center's subsequent shift to London.

History is also filled with financial disasters of which we are well aware today. Ferguson tells the story of John Law and how he became France's head of finance. He engineered a financial bubble that took them several generations to overcome. Making matters worse, it occurred at the same time as the British South Sea Bubble.

Also instructive is the history of the first great globalization (1870-1914). (For this period also read Jeffrey Frieden's Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century.) The world had become so economically interdependent that the pundits believed the possibility of war between great powers had been eliminated. This sentiment was famously expressed in "The Great Illusion" by Norman Angell.

Although this book was written before the current economic crisis, the last chapter is very prescient. "From Empire to Chimerica" tells of the symbiotic relationship between China and America. The combined country "accounts for just over a 10th of the world's land surface, a quarter of its population, and a third of its economic output, and more than half of the global economic growth of the last eight years". This relationship, in which China saves and America spends, and in which China's savings is used to enable America to spend even more, is clearly unsustainable. Ferguson sees this savings glut as the cause of the current subprime crisis. That, in my humble opinion, was one of the causes; there were many bad actors involved in this catastrophe, citizen-borrowers included.

Although it is not obvious to everyone in the midst of a crisis, Ferguson correctly points out that financial engineering is one of the great forces behind human progress. The history of finance is a process of creative destruction. Financial risk-taking is necessary for economic expansion and human development, and Ferguson does a good job in making the case. Too bad it reads like a script made for the History Channel.
61 internautes sur 63 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Descriptive but not Prescriptive 18 mai 2009
Par Brian Brockmeyer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Niall Ferguson's THE ASCENT OF MONEY, as its subtitle promises, is a broad overview of financial history, from the dawn of the first form of currency in Ancient Mesopotamia to the proliferation of complex residential asset-backed securities early in the twenty-first century. In six chapters, Ferguson traces the genesis and evolution of the pillars of modern finance: currency, bonds, corporate stock, insurance, and real estate. A final chapter focuses on the US and China's symbiotic debtor-creditor relationship, and an afterword discusses the current global recession and includes a somewhat strained evolutionary analogy comparing financial development to natural selection.

The objective here is to illuminate the modern economic system by surveying its historical origins, and to a large extent, Ferguson succeeds. The book is targeted to a lay audience and such readers are certain to walk away from a reading with an enhanced understanding of modern economics. The author generally takes the time to explain even elementary concepts in an effective manner, but there are also several maddening instances throughout where he casually references somewhat arcane metrics and complex ideas (e.g., VaR) without any explanation as to their meaning and significance. In this respect, Ferguson can be at times simultaneously too basic for the advanced reader and too complex for the novice.

Never dry reading, the narrative flows freely over its 358 pages, with perhaps the most interesting and edifying chapters being those on the bond, equity, and real estate markets. I especially enjoyed Ferguson's exploration of the five stages of "bubble" (displacement, euphoria, mania, distress, and revulsion).

Ultimately, though, the book will be of most benefit to those with a casual interest in economics, as it is entirely descriptive and not prescriptive. Ferguson never really offers anything resembling a thesis, nor does he reveal his own views except for the most fleeting of moments when singing the virtues of late-19th/early-20th century imperialism. He is focused exclusively on reporting, not analyzing. As such, THE ASCENT OF MONEY, though well-written, does not transcend its status as a historical chronicle and will be of trivial value to those seeking a sophisticated economic treatise.
121 internautes sur 136 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Readable and engaging 14 novembre 2008
Par John Zxerce - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Historian Niall Ferguson teaches economic history at Harvard so he certainly has credentials for a book like this. While his historical knowledge is impressive his financial claims can seem a bit cavalier and broad-sweeping.

Ferguson celebrates financiers as the source of modern wealth and prosperity. He backs up his claim by a historical examination of the last 500 years. This includes the Italians in the late Middle Ages, as well as the Dutch in the 17th century and Britain's empire success which he partially attributes to the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694.

After setting the historical context Ferguson becomes a pundit on the current global situation. Commenting on those who speculate in the financial markets today Ferguson writes, "When people have a run of luck, they very quickly impute this to their own brilliance. Once you start interpreting your good fortune as your skill, you're very quickly a master of the universe who can never fall. That, of course, is precisely when you fall." He likens financiers to gamblers, which may not be a completely fair connection. Of course there is risk involved in investing, but the primary concern in the financial world is how to limit that risk, react wisely, and be patient.

As Ferguson considers the financial crises his assessment is neither overly positive nor calamitous. "Before this crisis," Ferguson says, "there were people who thought there would never be another recession--that kind of crazy, myopic, unhistorical belief. That was followed in the last month or so by wild panic, as if it's the end of the world."

Ferguson states the obvious when he declares we will all be affected by the current financial mess, and that it will take a while for the market to correct itself.

In short, if you like history more than finance, this is going to be an enjoyable book for you. However, if it's the other way around the details might be suffocating.
114 internautes sur 133 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 TV tie-in, not a history book 21 décembre 2008
Par G. Murray - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
When I was given this book, my heart leapt because I know Niall Ferguson is a robustly contrarian, sharp, articulate and well-informed historian, but it sank immediately that I saw that the book, like many of his recent works, was again based on a television series. Ferguson is a man of genuine talent; it is a shame he chosen to prostitute that talent. No doubt "The Ascent of Money" made for a TV show of far more than average quality, but the book is necessarily scrappy and somewhat shallow. It seems to evolve according to the picturesqueness of certain locations (the televisual imperative), rather than the logic of the argument. I would like to see the television link flagged much more prominently on the cover so one is made aware in advance that this is not a serious work of history, but a potboiler designed to raise funds so that Ferguson can boost his earning power to the levels of equally (or less) brainy college contemporaries who went into finance or the law. Frankly, I was disappointed. I hope Ferguson will get back to being a proper historian soon.
417 internautes sur 498 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Erudite hodgepodge 5 décembre 2008
Par Balint Kacsoh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
When I saw the interview with Niall Ferguson on CNN, I thought that I would get an insightful book that would enable me to understand and navigate the current economic crisis. After all, Ferguson is a Harvard professor (thus he is superbly credentialed), and the interview suggested that he had the foresight of the coming events.

Yet the book turned out to be an utter disappointment. On the surface, the book seems to have a good structure. The chapters logically follow a sequence: the history of money, credit, bonds, stocks, insurance, real estate, globalization, hedge funds, computer models of investing, and behavioral finance. The text is easy to read and crafty. However, the chapters fall short on several accounts. The chapters present selected events in the history of their respective subject rather than a broad overview. I did not expect a comprehensive history, but the selection was minimalist, often skewed, and the events were more often than not presented in a disjointed manner. There was some semblance of logic tying them together, but one had to know way more than the average reader to see the connection. If the reader had that kind of knowledge, the book did not offer much. Without the knowledge, the book's logic was lacking and, indeed, contained gaps and jumps.

Even before I reached the end of the book, I developed the feeling that the Author's pretty shameless primary goal was to write a book that can sell many copies, and make money. It is a quickly assembled patchwork that, in spite of the polished writing, is mostly useless fluff. There are much better books on the subject that will explain the concept of money and the current economic crisis. (Just an example: Robert Prechter's Conquer The Crash, published in 2002.) Since the interview on CNN, I heard additional interviews with Niall Ferguson (e.g., on NPR). The timing of the publication and the marketing efforts are way superior to the qualities of the book.

If you can borrow this book from someone, you will only waste some time by reading it, but at least you will save your money. This book is certainly not worth having on your shelf - in the long run it will only collect dust, and you will not open it again. Probably you would be better off not reading it at all (there are better alternatives). The knowledge you will gain is most likely not proportionate with the time invested (wasted) in the reading. The two stars I gave might be a little too generous, especially considering that one expects a much better book from a Harvard professor. However, I have to give credit for the style and a modicum of usefulness.
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