Over the centuries, gold had stirred the passions for power and glory, for beauty and security, and even for immortality. No other object has commanded so much veneration over such a long period of time. The most striking feature of this long history is that gold led most of the protagonists in the drama into the ditch. Gold had them, rather than the other way around.
Power and passion begin with the magical, religious, and artistic qualities of gold. As the story progresses from primitive uses to the invention of coinage and the transformation of gold into money and the gold standard, gold speaks more loudly of power as it acquires increasing importance as money. Ultimately, the book confronts the future of gold, in a world where gold has been relegated to the periphery of global finance.
Along the way, we meet Moses and Midas, Croesus and Crassus, Byzantine emperors and humble miners, unscrupulous moneyers and ransomed kings, Francisco Pizzaro and Benvenuto Cellini, Charlemange and Charles de Gaulle, Richard I and Richard Nixon, Asian monarchs and Arab potentates, Isaac Newton and Winston Churchill, David Ricardo and John Maynard Keynes, and the Forty-Niners and the speculators who pushed gold to $850 an ounce in 1980. It has been an icon for greed and an emblem of rectitude, as well as a vehicle for vanity and a badge of power that has shaped the destiny of humanity through the ages.
In the end, this story is a morality tale. The pursuit of eternity will not be satisfied by gold, or by anything else we choose to rpelace gold. Gold as an end in itself is meaningless. Hoarding does not create wealth. Gold makes sense only as a means to an end; to beautify, to adorn, to exchange for what we want and need.
"The story of gold–in all its splendor and mythology, its fascination for individuals and nations alike. . . . Peter Bernstein is up to the challenge. His spritely exposition is a fine read even as it makes us think and reflect." --Paul A. Volcker, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve
"Admirably written...a wonderfully interesting view;—not alone of gold but of the greater economic history. Like other of his work, it is assured of a wide readership." --John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University
"This book is a noble treatment of the most noble of elements. The Power of Gold is a brilliant and unexpected tale of three thousand years of a metal as virtual reality." --Steve Jones author, Darwin’s Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated
Peter L. Bernstein
Peter Lewyn Bernstein (1919 - 2009) was an American financial historian, economist and educator whose development and refinement of the efficient-market hypothesis made him one of the country's best known authorities in popularizing and presenting investment economics to the general public.
Bernstein was the author of ten books in economics and finance as well as countless articles in professional journals such as Harvard Business Review, Financial Analysts Journal and, in the popular press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Worth magazine and Bloomberg, among others, and has contributed to collections of articles published by Perseus and FT Mastering, among others.
Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, was published by John Wiley & Sons in September 1996 and won the Edwin G. Booz Prize for the most insightful, innovative management book published in 1996. In 1998, it was awarded the Clarence Arthur Kelp/Elizur Wright Memorial Award from The American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA) as an outstanding original contribution to the literature of risk and insurance. The book has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.
In 1992 Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street was published by The Free Press in Canada and Maxwell Macmillan Internationaland in USA since become a worldwide guide to modern investment theories and practices. Capital Ideas Evolving, the follow-up to this seminal work, was published in May 2007 by John Wiley and Sons.
Streetwise: The Best of The Journal of Portfolio Management, edited by Peter L. Bernstein and Frank J. Fabozzi, was published in 1997 by Princeton University Press:
Earlier books include A Primer on Money, Banking and Gold (Random House 1965), as well as Economist on Wall Street (Macmillan 1970), and The Price of Prosperity (Doubleday, 1962), in addition to two books on government finance co-authored with Robert Heilbroner.
Bernstein’s other books are The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession, published in the fall of 2000 by John Wiley and Sons, Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation, published in 2005 by W.W. Norton & Co.
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