Book Review | Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing by Jacob Goldstein
September 25, 2020
By Robert Miller | Portfolio Manager at NAOS Asset Management
There are countless books about money, so what makes this one worth reading? Jacob Goldstein, who doubles as the host of a renowned podcast series, looks at the history of money through a unique and interesting lens. Jacob’s conclusion is that the history of money contains many long periods of little to no activity or progress, followed by relatively short bursts of frenzy, progress and innovation and then the cycle repeats.
From ancient Chinese civilisations, through the industrial revolution to the GFC, the evolutions of money become born out of necessity. There are many periods of activity which this book outlines through interesting stories, ideas and people. One such is John Law. A gambling and murdering Scotsman turned French Prime Minister whom created a monetary system, a publicly traded superpower company, a trading floor and employed capital management techniques, some which are still in use today. This occurs all within the space of approximately 20 years. It is hard to fathom how that is even possible.
The stories and time periods change but human behaviour remains the same. As a result, market cycles have been here since ancient history and market cycles continuing to occur is likely the only guarantee that you could make about the future of money.