The Evolution of Money Book Summary - The Evolution of Money Book explained in key points
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The Evolution of Money summary

David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý

From ancient Greece to the digital era

4.1 (79 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

"The Evolution of Money" by David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý explores the history and development of monetary systems. It delves into the relationship between money and society, and offers insights into the future of finance.

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    The Evolution of Money
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    Contrary to popular belief, money wasn’t invented to replace the barter system.

    Have you noticed how bartering comes very naturally to children? Perhaps you remember exchanging a juice box for some cookies, or your best set of marbles for a Matchbox car.

    One old and popular theory holds that money was “invented” as societies outgrew the barter system. In fact, this theory dates back to Aristotle.

    Though it was essentially pure speculation, the theory gained traction with many great thinkers who followed, including the influential eighteenth-century economist, Adam Smith.

    They all believed that money was an outgrowth of commercial trading – where, for example, some valuable bit of property such as cattle could be traded for a certain number of slaves.

    But this isn’t very efficient; things like cattle aren’t very easy to transport, whereas coins are.

    Plus, the precious metals in coins were seen as being valuable just about anywhere, while other goods may not be in demand in some areas and are therefore less valuable.

    This idea of money evolving from bartering may sound plausible, but it’s actually been debunked. In 1913, Alfred Mitchell-Innes, a British economist, published his own findings, noting that there was no evidence in commercial history to suggest that a barter-only system ever existed.

    And Mitchell-Innes has yet to be proven wrong – in fact, historians have only gone on to find more evidence of ancient civilizations using old forms of money in addition to bartering.

    Around 5,000 years ago, in Sumer, one of Mesopotamia’s earliest urban civilizations, commercial transactions were recorded on clay tablets, which show us that salt, beads and bars of precious metals were all used as early versions of money.

    The truth is, we don’t know exactly how or when money came to be used, but we do know that the first coins began appearing in the seventh century BC, in the Mediterranean kingdom of Lydia.

    And by the sixth century BC, Greek city-states were minting their own coins as a demonstration of power and independence.

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    What is The Evolution of Money about?

    The Evolution of Money (2016) offers an insightful look at the history of currency in civilized society, from shells and coins to the digital ones and zeroes of an online bank account. Find out how monetary systems have always functioned much like religion – without faith and belief, they’d collapse – and learn what the future may have in store.

    The Evolution of Money Review

    The Evolution of Money (2016) is a thought-provoking exploration of the history and future of money that is definitely worth reading. Here's what makes this book special:

    • It offers a comprehensive look at the evolution of money, from its origins to modern-day digital currencies, providing readers with a deep understanding of its impact on society.
    • Backed by extensive research and expert insights, the book uncovers the underlying drivers and trends shaping the way we use and perceive money.
    • With its accessible language and engaging examples, this book succeeds in making a potentially complex subject fascinating and relevant to readers of all backgrounds.

    Best quote from The Evolution of Money

    Like a toxic algal bloom on a lake, the economy is doing fine, but it is asphyxiating everything around it.

    —David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý
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    Who should read The Evolution of Money?

    • Students of politics and economics
    • Businesspeople
    • Anyone curious about the financial crisis of 2007

    About the Author

    David Orrell is a Canadian author with a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Oxford. His writing has been featured in several economic publications and his other books include Truth or Beauty: Science and The Quest for Order.

    Roman Chlupatý is a journalist and consultant who specializes in economics and politics. He is also the author of the book (S)OUR EARTH: Fourteen Interviews About Things That Are Changing Our World.

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    The Evolution of Money FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Evolution of Money?

    Understanding the history and future of money can provide valuable insights into our economy and society.

    How long does it take to read The Evolution of Money?

    The reading time for The Evolution of Money varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is The Evolution of Money a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Evolution of Money is worth reading as it offers a thought-provoking exploration of the role of money in our lives.

    Who is the author of The Evolution of Money?

    The Evolution of Money was written by David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý.

    What to read after The Evolution of Money?

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