A reading club with a view to the future

510 Jacob Goldstein : Money

“Money” explores the history, evolution, and societal impact of money, unraveling its complex and often misunderstood nature.



"Money" takes readers on a captivating journey through the origins, transformations, and cultural significance of money. From its humble beginnings as a simple exchange system to its current role as a global force, Jacob Goldstein explores the myths, realities, and paradoxes of money. Through captivating stories and engaging analysis, the book sheds light on the power dynamics, economic principles, and psychological factors that shape our relationship with money. Whether exploring the rise of cryptocurrencies or dissecting the impact of inflation, Goldstein offers a compelling narrative that challenges our assumptions and deepens our understanding of this vital human invention.


Title: "Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing" 

Author: Jacob Goldstein 

Publishing Year: 2020 

Publisher: Hachette Books 

Length in Hours: 5 hrs and 37 mins

5 main ideas

  1. The concept of money is a human invention with no inherent value, yet it has become an essential and complex part of our lives.
  2. Money has evolved throughout history, from bartering and early forms of currency to the emergence of banking systems and the rise of digital transactions.
  3. The creation and control of money have profound economic and political implications, shaping societies, governments, and power structures.
  4. Money is deeply intertwined with psychology and behavior, influencing our decisions, relationships, and societal values.
  5. The advent of cryptocurrencies and new financial technologies is challenging traditional notions of money, raising questions about trust, regulation, and the future of global finance.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy a really nice cup of coffee."
  2. "I tried to pay my bills with a smile, but the utility company preferred cash."
  3. "Money is like air conditioning—it's only noticed when it's not there."
  4. "If money grew on trees, we'd all be spending our weekends raking leaves."
  5. "Money may not buy love, but it sure can buy a lot of chocolate and flowers."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Money is a shared hallucination that we've all signed up for."
  2. "The value of money is not in the physical object itself but in the belief and trust we place in it."
  3. "Money has the power to create and destroy, to lift individuals out of poverty or plunge nations into economic crises."
  4. "The pursuit of money has shaped history, fueled exploration, and fueled both innovation and exploitation."
  5. "In the digital age, money is becoming more abstract and intangible, challenging our traditional understanding of its nature and value."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the need for economic growth with the potential negative consequences of excessive consumerism and resource depletion.
  2. Navigating the ethical challenges of wealth inequality and the concentration of economic power.
  3. Deciding between the stability of traditional financial systems and the potential benefits and risks associated with new forms of digital currencies.
  4. Determining the appropriate role of governments and regulatory bodies in overseeing financial systems and ensuring fair and transparent practices.
  5. Addressing the psychological and emotional tolls of living in a society driven by material wealth and financial success.

5 examples

  1. The impact of the gold rush on the growth of Wells Fargo and other banking institutions.
  2. The role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in managing global currencies and financial stability.
  3. The influence of John Maynard Keynes' economic theories on government policies and the concept of fiat money.
  4. The rise of digital payment platforms like PayPal and Venmo, transforming the way we exchange money.
  5. The impact of billionaire philanthropists like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on global economic and social initiatives.

Referenced books

  1. "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" by David Graeber
  2. "The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World" by Niall Ferguson
  3. "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith
  4. "The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking" by Saifedean Ammous
  5. "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Share a quote

"Money is like air conditioning—it's only noticed when it's not there."

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