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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

Books recommended with this one:

Comments and mentions from HN threads:

Ask HN: Books you read in 2015?

profEpcot: Bit of a slog, but worth it for an in depth look at the historic mechanisms of debt that are inexorably tied to violence and control

Mentions by: jaylitt

Ask HN: What are the must-read books about economics/finance?

contingencies:'s possibly the most interesting book I've ever read. It cops a lot of flak from some conservative established economists though, probably because most of the book is dedicated to disassembling economic myth from the perspective of history and anthropology.

loeber: a controversial but rather important recent publication. I haven't seen it mentioned yet, so I wanted to recommend it.

Mentions by: Henchilada : mempko : bronlund

Ask HN: What books have made the biggest impact on your mental models?

austenallred: For understanding money and finance from the ground up

RealityNow: Learned that most of history has been communist (eg. hunter gatherer societies), shops of the past were run on credit (eg. tally sticks), money/capitalism tended to emerge with the rise of the state, taxing to feed soldiers for war, and that the drive to pay off one's debt fueled a lot of the cruelty of mankind (eg. Hernan Cortez, Casimir).

Mentions by: etplayer

Ask HN: What are your favorite books of all time, and why?

mbrock: For making me interested in money and credit systems from an anthropological point of view.

Ask HN: As a technical founder what is the best business book you've read?

arthurcolle: More of a historical examination of the modern origins of debt, not really 'business' per se but still a really solid book that I think many people in this industry could benefit from reading.

Ask HN: What books changed the way you think about almost everything?

sinkpoint: completely changed the way I view money, society, and relationships.

vishnugupta: This is truly a magnum opus. Until I read this I had taken money, economy, market etc., for granted. And I had held onto the widely accepted, but naive, view that economic systems somehow grew out of barter systems. The range of topics discussed, and the way author shows how seemingly independent concepts are intertwined, is truly astonishing. I'm on my 2nd read.

Mentions by: rubidium

Ask HN: Best books you read in 2012

contingencies: Another HUGE vote for 'Debt: The First 5000 Years'. This book simply changes the way you look at the entire world.

Mentions by: rsync

Ask HN: What book changed your life in 2014?

urish: I'm cautious to say it changed my life, but it definitely changed my view on many things. I'm more aware of the ubiquity and power of debt, and I can no longer take those for granted. It's an extremely interesting read and has a broader intellectual appeal, elucidating the roots of money, morality, and the roles of markets, nations, and friends with regard to those.

martythemaniak: I definitely think of that book is life changing - it changed how I understand the very concept of money. What I really liked was that he put the development of money (and markets, morality, nations etc) in a great historical context so you can see why things happened the way they did.

Ask HN: What is the most mind blowing book you've ever read?

kbob: Everything we know about money is one of many alternatives tried somewhere at some time.