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Heroes and Villains of Finance: The 50 Most Colourful Characters in The History of Finance

Heroes and Villains of Finance: The 50 Most Colourful Characters in The History of Finance

Adam Baldwin

ISBN: 978-1-119-03902-0

Apr 2015

216 pages

Description

Explore history's titans of finance, and their lasting global impact

Heroes and Villains of Finance is a fascinating dive into the history of money as an institution, highlighting the fifty most significant figures that, rightly or wrongly, are responsible for the financial landscape we live in today. From philosophers and bankers to fraudsters and academics, this book provides a striking introduction to the most remarkable characters in the history of finance. Their impact reaches far beyond the financial system itself, and has helped shape the course of human history. The economic systems of today would look very differently if it weren't for these innovators, thought leaders, storytellers, and rebels, and this captivating examination takes you inside their stories to understand their thinking, their background, their perspective, and their inspiration.

People both inside and outside the world of finance are perpetually curious about the larger-than-life characters who built, shaped, and continue to populate the industry. Their actions, both positive and negative, are responsible for what we understand as finance today. This book provides a glimpse into the events and motivations that contributed to the industry's evolution.

  • Learn how the Knights Templar became the first banking institution
  • Examine the Rothschild family's pioneering use of financial instruments in order to safeguard their wealth from distrusting European monarchs
  • Study the origins and evolution of the Ponzi scheme
  • Realise how Reaganomics still affects the U.S. economy today

The finance industry is always in the public eye, and it's one of the few places where the actions of a few — or even a single person — can ripple throughout large populations. Heroes and Villains of Finance gives you a closer look at the biggest names that had the biggest impact, for better or worse.

 "This book is a marvellous introduction to a gallery of fascinating figures from the world of Big Money. The author has chosen a brilliant collection of crooks, entrepreneurs, philosophers, economists and bankers. These highly readable short lives provide an excellent education to any reader who wants to understand the personalities who shaped today's world of investment"
Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, former chairman of Pizza Express and Channel 4 Television, Financial Times columnist and author of 'Start It Up'



"Heroes and Villains of Finance provides a fascinating and insightful guide to the personalities and developments that have transformed finance and continue to do so. Anyone trying to understand where finance is now, how it got there and where it might go should read this book"
Dr Stephen Davies, Institute of Economic Affairs



"An exciting, informative ride through the big ideas and even bigger personalities that have shaped the world of finance"
Sam Bowman, The Adam Smith Institute



"This delightful book provides a punchy reminder that, whilst we should rightly celebrate the longevity of the vision of the heroes of finance like Adam Smith, the potential downsides of financial innovation have always been with us which we are inclined to forget"
Professor Mike Wright, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London and ranked #1 worldwide for publications in academic entrepreneurship

01 THALES OF MILETUS 2

02 CHANAKYA 6

03 THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR 10

04 NICOLE ORESME 14

05 THE MEDICI FAMILY 18

06 JOHN LAW 22

07 SIR JOHN BLUNT 26

08 ADAM SMITH 30

09 CHARLES HALL 34

10 THE ROTHSCHILD FAMILY 38

11 DAVID RICARDO 42

12 KARL MARX 46

13 VILFREDO PARETO 50

14 AMADEO P. GIANNINI 54

15 CHARLES PONZI 58

16 ALVES DOS REIS 62

17 J.P. MORGAN 66

18 FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT 70

19 WADDILL CATCHINGS 74

20 HETTY GREEN 78

21 F.A. HAYEK 82

22 JOHN VON NEUMANN 86

23 JOSEPH SCHUMPETER 90

24 LUDWIG VON MISES 94

25 JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES 98

26 HARRY DEXTER WHITE 102

27 SIDNEY WEINBERG 106

28 GEORGES DORIOT 110

29 BENJAMIN GRAHAM 114

30 ALFRED WINSLOW JONES 118

31 DENG XIAOPING 122

32 PETER DRUCKER 126

33 RONALD REAGAN 130

34 BERNARD CORNFELD 134

35 ROBERT VESCO 138

36 HYMAN MINSKY 142

37 HENRY KRAVIS 146

38 MICHAEL MILKEN 150

39 MURRAY ROTHBARD 154

40 EUGENE FAMA 158

41 MILTON FRIEDMAN 162

42 HARRY MARKOWITZ 166
43 MUHAMMAD YUNUS 170

44 NICK LEESON 174

45 KEN LAY 178

46 BERNARD MADOFF 182

47 WARREN BUFFETT 186

48 GEORGE SOROS 190

49 NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB 194

50 DICK FULD 198

GLOSSARY 202

REFERENCES 205

“On the face of it, a book about the world of finance hardly seems something to get excited about, however the new book, Heroes & Villains of Finance: The 50 Most Colourful Characters in the History of Finance will certainly change your mind… it’s a fascinating read(manshed.cc, May 2015)

“Any book with the words ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ in the title promises to be a rollicking read.  And that it is” (Financial Adviser, (FT), May 2015).

“A leisurely stroll with the greats and infamous of finance throughout history.” (Opalesque, May 2015)

"The book provides a striking introduction to the most remarkable characters in the history of finance" (Wealth & Finance International, April 2015)

“the book will be of interest to a global audience and includes many international characters” (Shares Investment, July 2015)