What is money? It’s a simple question to ask but the answer is complicated. I know, as I’ve read and blogged about Wealth, Capital, Debt, Lords, Americana, and America’s Bank, amongst a lot of far dryer, far more challenging economic history books.
Then along came Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing by former Planet Money host Jacob Goldstein, and wow, what a difference when a story teller picks up a pen rather than a economist.
If you want an answer to that big opening question, I highly suggest starting with Money. It’s a page turner.
In the book you’ll come across Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself” and be surprised that was from the then-new President’s first fireside chat, and surprise, the fear was a fear about money.
Later you’ll come to the Euro and Mario Draghi, the then-new European Central Bank, who with the words “the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro“, saved the euro.
You’ll discover why the gold standard was never the panacea some people reminisce about. You’ll hear the real story behind Bitcoin, how it sprung from anarchy, and why its ideas may someday replace cash.
In short, in fewer than 250 pages and just a few hours, you’ll understand how money actually works, and if you then want to know the rest of the details, dive into the other, far slower reads for those details. Clearly from the story Jacob even more dry economic histories than I did. But thank you Jacob for then summarizing all of those important stories into a highly readable primer.
And… don’t miss Jacob’s new podcast What’s Your Problem, where he talks to entrepreneurs and engineers about the future they’re trying to build – and the problems they have to solve to get there.