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I already have this book in print -- which has gorgeous color plates of many of the financial instruments described. If you like works such as Niall Ferguson's 'Ascent of Money,' Jack Weatherford's 'History of Money,' or Philip Coggan's 'Paper Promises' (each available at audible), then you may delight in this. (Niall Ferguson wrote one of the segments here). Here we get financial concepts wrapped in a developmental story, indeed in their stories of origin (as best our scholarship can tell). Those familiar with tales of John Law and Dutch financial innovation will yet find fresh perspectives. But this book digs further back, with translations for example of cuneiform business records from the Near East, a few thousand years BCE (as far back before the year 1 CE, as we are after that date)! The pace slows down a few times, as for example during recitations of terms of several loan deals in that ancient setting. If it bogs down, it doesn't for long, and we are treated to work of many fine authors. But this overall hits the sweet spot for me, between brisk walks through straightforward financial ideas and teminology, scenes of business history (with bits of historical coloration to keep it interesting, but always generally sticking to the point), commentary about meanings and impacts of all this in history, and the fostering of a deeper comprehension of today's financial innovations.
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