Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 1, 2012 - Business & Economics - 304 pages
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“Lively history. . . . Show[s] double entry’s role in the creation of the accounting profession, and even of capitalism itself.”—The New Yorker


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.
 

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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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hf22 - LibraryThing

A surprisingly poor attempt to explore the history of accounting, built around an account of the traditional father of modern accounting leading into a superficial plan for using accounting to advance ... Read full review

Contents

Bobby Kennedy and the wealth of nations and corporations
from Sansepolcro to celebrity
Paciolis landmark bookkeeping treatise of 1494
Venetian doubleentry goes viral
Double entry and capitalismchicken and egg?
John Maynard Keynes double entryandthewealth ofnations
Bibliography
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Jane Gleeson-White is the author of Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, which won the 2012 Waverley Library Award for Literature. Gleeson-White has degrees in economics and literature from the University of Sydney.

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