Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 1, 2012 - Business & Economics - 294 pages
2 Reviews

“A timely, topical, readable, and thought-provoking look at the history and legacy of double-entry bookkeeping.”—Elif Batuman, author of The Possessed

Filled with colorful characters and history, Double Entry takes us from the ancient origins of accounting in Mesopotamia to the frontiers of modern finance. At the heart of the story is double-entry bookkeeping: the first system that allowed merchants to actually measure the worth of their businesses. Luca Pacioli—monk, mathematician, alchemist, and friend of Leonardo da Vinci—incorporated Arabic mathematics to formulate a system that could work across all trades and nations. As Jane Gleeson-White reveals, double-entry accounting was nothing short of revolutionary: it fueled the Renaissance, enabled capitalism to flourish, and created the global economy. John Maynard Keynes would use it to calculate GDP, the measure of a nation’s wealth. Yet double-entry accounting has had its failures. With the costs of sudden corporate collapses such as Enron and Lehman Brothers, and its disregard of environmental and human costs, the time may have come to re-create it for the future.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FKarr - LibraryThing

Can't really recommend this book. A few interesting facts here and there. She spends time on the Renaissance and on Pacioli's background. There's a quick gloss on what double-entry bookkeeping ... Read full review

Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance

User Review  - Sue White - Book Verdict

Though a history of accounting might sound like dry reading, that is not the case in this narrative of the birth of double-entry bookkeeping in 15th-century Venice. Gleeson-White (Australian Classics ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »

Contents

Bobby Kennedy and the wealth of nations and corporations
1
our first communications technology
10
Merchants and mathematics
29
from Sansepolcro to celebrity
49
Paciolis landmark bookkeeping treatise of 1494
91
Venetian double entry goes viral 1 2 3 4 5
115
the industrial revolution
132
Double entry and capitalismchicken and egg?
161
John Maynard Keynes double entry and the wealth of nations
176
The rise and scandalous rise of a profession
194
Gross Domestic Product and how accounting could make or break the planet 10 29 49 91 115 132 161 176 194
226
Epilogue
250
Acknowledgements Notes Bibliography Index 250
255
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Jane Gleeson-White holds degrees in economics and accounting and is studying for her PhD in creative writing and literature. She has worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice and currently lives in Sydney, Australia.

Bibliographic information