The Unauthorised Biography
Money was one of man’s greatest inventions. But we have become its slaves. Felix Martin takes us to the heart of society’s misunderstanding of money and sets us straight.
What is money, and how does it work?
The conventional answer is that people once used sugar in the West Indies, tobacco in Virginia, and dried cod in Newfoundland, and that today’s financial universe evolved from barter.
Unfortunately, there is a problem with this story. It’s wrong. And not just wrong, but dangerous.
Money: the Unauthorised Biography unfolds a panoramic secret history and explains the truth about money: what it is, where it comes from, and how it works.
Drawing on stories from throughout human history and around the globe, Money will radically rearrange your understanding of the world and shows how money can once again become the most powerful force for freedom we have ever known.
Praise for Money
Brilliant… A fascinating new way of telling the story of what money isJohn Lanchester, Guardian
A superb synthesis...a lucid, colourful introduction to 3,000 years of monetary history... So replete with literary and historical examples that the story almost tells itselfMartin Sandbu, Financial Times
Magnificent – hugely imaginative, clear, coherentRobert Skidelsky
Fizzing with ideasSunday Telegraph
Compulsively readableNew York Times
A most accessible and thrilling read. If you want to read just one book about money, this is itHa-Joon Chang
If you don’t know about economics, this is a really good introduction…gets right to the heart of itMisha Glenny
It’s a wealth of understanding for understanding wealthEsquire
Combines breadth of scholarship with a wealth of practical experience in tackling the most elusive of economic subjects - the nature of moneyJohn Kay
Martin’s remarkable book, Money, is economic history – and indeed cultural anthropology – with a difference... His sparkling book is worth taking seriouslyRaymond Tallis, Prospect
We should ask ourselves not just: what is the euro?; but also: what is money? An excellent new book, Money, written by the macro-economist Felix Martin, does just thisBen Wright, Financial News
Felix Martin condenses the broadest of subjects into a searing and potentially life-changing read that destroys all accepted knowledge of this thing we sell our souls forShortlist
The virtue of Martin’s book is that it exposes the deep flaws in the way we have traditionally thought about money. The exposition is clear… FreshAlex Brummer, New Statesman
I’m going to read Money by Felix Martin. I’m determined to find out how it worksLucy Mangan, Stylist
Stimulating and timelyDavid Priestland, Guardian
Since the banking crisis, masses of books arrive every week. Scanning them all would be incompatible with eating and sleeping... Much the most entertaining is just called MoneySamuel Brittan, Financial Times
Two chapters in, I realized that this was the book I needed when I was having conversations during the Occupy movement, and friends were all trying to understand what had happened and what we wanted to happen differently, and I think if I had read this at the time I would have had more language and stories to talk about that whole argumentEllah Allfrey
A very spritely and lucid and well written bookKevin Jackson
Covers a vast geographical and historical spreadMartin Shubik, Nature
Like a thriller writer, Martin inserts little hooks at the end of his chapters for the next section – and he deserves…credit for creating a readable work on such a potentially bone-dry subjectIan Birrell, Observer
Martin tells an interesting story and his diagnosis is persuasiveJosh Glancy, Sunday Times
EngrossingJon Ihle, Sunday Business Post
This book is a great read, and one that I think non-economists will find completely accessible… The historical detail is fascinating, and the ideas they are used to illustrate are clear and thought provoking, so I’m very glad I read itSimon Wren-Lewis, MainlyMacro Blog
[Martin] demonstrates a capacity both for wit and literary style in this engaging, timely historyFrank Trentman, BBC History Magazine
An entertaining history of one of the most powerful, misunderstood forces in the world around us. Not one of those awful books about how to get richStuff
A wonderfully original and entertaining history of money. If you have ever wondered why the whole system seems so dangerously and chronically unstable, this is the book to readLiaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
SplendidAdam Fergusson, Literary Review
This is an excellent book to read, full of interesting history and insight, and very clear and well written... A beautiful and sometimes even entrancing study of human thought about moneyTyler Cowen, Times Literary Supplement
An important insight into how finance and economics blindsided each other in the runup to the financial crisisGeorge Hay, Reuters
Startling insights in clear, intelligent prose… You will emerge better informed, and also surprisingly entertainedNicholas Lezard, Guardian
A terrific analysisWilliam Leith, Evening Standard
Money isn’t just an entertaining read, it’s also really usefulBig Issue
A thought-provoking bookGood Book Guide