Lords of Finance Discussion Part One (I am writing this only 150 pages into a 508 page book. I anticipate a series of reviews, much like how I handled Les Miserables in 2012, except over a short amount of time. I will have the book completed no later than March 4th, 2013)
Author: Liaquat Ahamed
Genre: Economics/ History
Length: 508 pages
Inevitably I read something and find about ten more things I need to read. My constant lament on this blog is why we didn’t read more source documents in school. So is it any wonder at all that while reading Lords of Finance for the HPB Humble Book Club I discover that I absolutely must have a copy of The Economic Consequences of the Peace? Probably not. Or it shouldn’t be.
In addition to that title, I find myself longing to dive into more history books on the time period as well as full length biographies on a few of the people mentioned. You wouldn’t expect that kind of revelation out of reading a finance book, but Ahamed has a way of turning a phrase that makes interest and exchange rates, and the people directly responsible for their flux, fascinating.
I think this would be a great title to hand to a high school student during an economics course, it would definitely make the class more interesting. I enjoyed my economics classes in college, taught by a clever little man with a wonderful accent (Scotland? Liverpool? Not sure) and had a great sense of humor despite teaching all his courses at eight o’clock in the morning. But what I remember of high school economics was pretty cold and void of any kind of spunk. It was filled with boring formulas, worksheets, and a fairly heavy textbook that we read very little of. Obviously, the formulas are handy and important, but couldn’t there have been a little more meat? A little more perspective? A little more history?
Maybe living in a recession has weighed heavily in how I view the dollar, but I would like my child to grow to understand how much the economy effects politics, social customs, humanity, and art.
Idolizing money is a concern and a problem, but seeing how money fits into our lives and the bigger picture is important. So often we are taught that money is separate and that we should keep it that way, but the truth is money is never separate. Our history is riddled with money driven politics, so why is our history class and our economics class separate? Our religions are filled with instructions on what to do with our money, our philosophies rooted in our thoughts on whether to live richly or poorly and how rich and poor are defined. I think the history of banks, the dollar, and what your views are on the matter should all be addressed while you are learning how to calculate it, not as a completely separate train of thought.
Ahamed’s Lords of Finance was recommended to me by a customer at Half Price Books, it was actually chosen for the Humble location’s book club by that same customer, and I am so glad I took his advice. We will be discussing the book as a group March 4th, 2013, starting at 7:30 pm. Additional members are welcome, so if you are interested in the book and are in the area, please join us. Treats are provided.
So far, the book is enlightening and informative, it covers a lot of the banking information provided in the documentary Zeitgeist without the haze of conspiracy theories and blasphemy. I imagine we will have a lot to discuss when we meet. Until then, I plan to share my own thoughts here.
Other titles in my personal Economic Library:
Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations
Thorstein Veblen’s Conspicuous Consumption
Craig Karmin’s The Biography of the Dollar
Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door
Please share any titles you think should be added from a historical, philosophical, or sheer financial perspective.