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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Intelligent Asset Allocator

Praise for The Birth of Plenty

"Bill Bernstein has given us a compact and immensely readable economic, political, military, and institutional history of our civilization that is a tour de force. Put everything else down. Take a deep breath. Open The Birth of Plenty. And prepare to be amazed." (John C. Bogle, founder and former CEO, The Vanguard Group) 

"The Birth of Plenty is a brilliantly written, whirlwind account of how the modern world was formed. It is a hugely enjoyable read, full of vigor and liveliness, and a book every American should possess - at least those who treasure our abundant life and care about our future." (William Schultheis, author, The Coffeehouse Investor)

"Put simply, this is my favorite economic history book. It gathers what is interesting about economic history to draw important lessons." (Ed Tower, professor of economics, Duke University)

"William Bernstein scrutinizes the research literature, distills it with originality and insight, then shares the results with classic Bernstein clarity and wit. Ideologues on both political wings should prepare to have their assumptions challenged." (Bernard Sherman, host, Talk of Iowa - Focus on Finance radio show)

A daring look at the development of human prosperity - how it was created, and where it's headed 

In the breakthrough spirit of Against the Gods, William Bernstein's The Birth of Plenty has the topical uniqueness and storytelling panache to literally create its own category and listener. Based upon the premise that mankind experienced virtually zero economic growth from the dawn of time until 1820, this provocative, big-picture book identifies the four conditions necessary for sustained economic progress - property rights, scientific rationalism, capital markets, and communications and transportation technology - and then analyzes their gradual appearance and impact throughout every corner of the globe. Filled with best-selling author William Bernstein's trademark meticulous research and engaging writing style, The Birth of Plenty explores:

  • Where the world economy could be headed next
  • Implications of the book's thesis for today's society
  • How the absence of one or more of the conditions continues to threaten beleaguered regions 

Rare is the book that proposes an entirely new premise, validates that premise with inarguable research and analysis, and then explains beyond question both the relevance and the implications of its premise to the listener and the world at large. The Birth of Plenty is just such a book. From its unique topical subject matter to its tremendous review potential, this insightful book will be one of the most talked-about volumes of the publishing season.

©2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (P)2005 McGraw Hill-Ascent Audio

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