The Birth of Plenty

  • by William Bernstein
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 4 hrs and 42 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the breakthrough spirit of Against the Gods, William Bernstein's The Birth of Plenty has the topical uniqueness and storytelling panache to literally create its own category and listener. Based upon the premise that mankind experienced virtually zero economic growth from the dawn of time until 1820, this provocative, big-picture book identifies the four conditions necessary for sustained economic progress: property rights, scientific rationalism, capital markets, and communications and transportation technology; and then analyzes their gradual appearance and impact throughout every corner of the globe. Filled with best-selling author William Bernstein's trademark meticulous research and page-turning writing style, The Birth of Plenty explores:



Where the world economy could be headed next
Implications of the book's thesis for today's society
How the absence of one or more of the conditions continues to threaten beleaguered regions
Rare is the book that proposes an entirely new premise, validates that premise with inarguable research and analysis, and then explains beyond question both the relevance and the implications of its premise to the listener and the world at large. The Birth of Plenty is just such a book. From its unique, topical subject matter to its tremendous review potential, this insightful book will be one of the most talked-about volumes of the publishing season.

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What the Critics Say

"An authoritative economic history, accessible and thoroughly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant and accesible

The book that every politician and head of state should read. It should also be required reading for the third world countries dictators that bring their people to misery and poverty.
This book is the story of how the west came across this magic formula that brought wealth, freedoms and human rights even to the most disadvantaged members of our society.
The logic and arguments is irrefutable. The author’s genius is not in really uncovering new historical facts, but putting together a long sequence of causes and effects that seem to answer the million dollar question: How to run a society? (Or why the western model has prevailed)
The book is full of concepts, filled with answers that I looked for, for a very long time. I wonder if anyone else tried such comprehensive explanation of the success of modern capitalism.
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- Jean Le Lupi

Entertaining and Educational

Dr. Bernstein uses expert historical analysis to explain what accounts for economic growth or lack thereof in different societies at different times. His analysis is readily applicable to emerging markets today and to future biomedical technologies of tomorrow. His storytelling is compelling. Well worth a listen for students of history, economics or science!
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- JOSHUA HELMAN, M.D.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-28-2006
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education