Book Review: Lords of Finance

ILords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World. I realize that isn’t my typical reading material, but it was a fascinating read nonetheless.  Over the last few years I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t just read for enjoyment.  Previously I mostly read fantasy and science fiction novels, but now if there isn’t some sort of educational value that I can get out of the reading then I’m just not interested.  This book falls right into that bucket.

I first learned about this book on Time Magazine’s Best Business Books of 2009 list.  While reading through the short write-ups of each book this one really stood out as something of interest.  One thing we all have heard before is that history repeats itself.  Well we are currently working our way out of a difficult global recession.  It isn’t as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930’s, but it’s the closest we have gotten to that time in a long time.  If you want to understand the present then a great place to start is by understanding the past.

Lords of Finance focuses most of its page telling the story of four central bankers who combined held much of the financial power in the 1920’s and how the decisions that they made led us into the Great Depression.   The book was extremely interesting learning about these individuals and their paths to power.  I did think that the book could have been a few hundred pages shorter and did go through stretches of being hard to follow with all the details of a past age, but you do not lack for knowing all the details.

I would recommend this book for someone who has an interest in either history or economics.  The Great Depression was one of the most defining times in the last hundred years and learning the mistakes that we made to get there provided a telling tale.  Also our current financial circumstances made the reading all the more interesting.  So give the book a look if this is of interest to you, but just be warned it’s not a short read for those not interested in the details of financial policy and international diplomacy.

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