In a surprisingly entertaining history filled with colorful characters, Jane Gleeson-White 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; made possible by Arabic mathematics, it was the first system that allowed merchants to actually measure the worth of their businesses, and it fueled the Renaissance, enabled capitalism to flourish, and created the global economy.
"A lively and elegantly written account of the history of double-entry bookkeeping. Though the topic hardly sounds intriguing, the author makes ledgers and numbers come alive. As she writes: 'Our urge to account—to measure and record our wealth—is one of the oldest human impulses.'... This dynamic examination ... will likely become required reading in business school curricula."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)