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How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie


wealthymatters.comThis book was required reading in class XII.At the time I didn’t pay too much attention to it.I was way too focused on improving my PCMB scores .Today I’d say it’s worth at least one read and deliberate practise of the techniques suggested in it.Business is after all all about getting people to do as you want and having friends always makes getting ahead easy.

Here is the author’s own summary of this book: Read more of this post

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The Ascent of Money


wealthymatters.comThe Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson is a fantastic book.I was drawn to read it after watching the TV series based on the book and I have no regrets.It’s time and money well spent.

The book describes how banks, joint stock stock companies, bond markets, insurance companies, etc. originated at different places, at different points in time, in response to specific needs .While I was reading the book I had many aha moments and I heartily recommend the book to anyone who wishes to understand our modern financial world better.

Prof.Ferguson also tells the fascinating stories of how time and again with every financial innovation there have been abuses and excesses.These stories are great to remind us that neither good nor bad times last forever,that frauds and scams are par for the course and that no financial crisis is the end of the world though it might end the world as we know it. Read more of this post

Currencies of Antiquity


The Reichsmark was never an international currency.So studying inflation in the Weimar Republic is not enough.This post traces the history of the Drachma,Denarius,Bezant and Dinar–the international currencies of antiquity.I think knowing this history will help us see the parallels and understand our world better.If macro-economics is not really your thing,atleast knowing about the coins should give a rough idea of which ones would be more collectable for their bullion content!

The Drachma

wealthymatters.comThe Greeks minted stunningly beautiful coins.Non-Greeks thousands of miles away treasured these coins and so they became the first “international currency”.Archeologists have found Greek coins as far away as China, India and Northern Europe. In fact, even though Rome soon rose to eclipse Greece, most Asians kept using Greek money for centuries.

The main currency of Greece was the Athenian Drachma (pic on the left). It was a silver coin, and its weight and quality stayed amazingly consistent through the centuries. From Solon, around 600 BC, to Alexander the Great, around 300 years later, it stayed exactly 67 grains of fine silver. This was the money Alexander brought to India, and from there it traded yet further East becoming the monetary standard of all Asia. And even as Greece declined and was finally absorbed into Rome, its value did not fall much. By the end of the Drachma’s life, it had only declined to 65 grains of fine silver. This is an extraordinary achievement. No other civilization has ever had an international currency that stayed the same value —or pretty much so, since a fall from 67 to 65 grains of silver is a loss of less than 3%. And this was not only during the period of its greatest influence, but even as it declined in power over a period of six centuries.Whatever the secret of the Greeks was, no international currency since then has ever been able to keep its value, even as the government issuing it started on its seemingly inevitable decline.Certainly the conquering Romans were astounded at how the Greeks had mastered money. They paid Greece the ultimate monetary compliment by fashioning their own money, the Roman Denarius, as an exact copy of the Drachma right down to the size and weight. Read more of this post

Cold Steel


wealthymatters.com

‘Cold Steel’ is a mesmerising read.It is a narration of the takeover battle waged by Lakshmi Narayan Mittal against the management of Arcelor to emerge as the Emperor of Steel.

In 2006, the two largest steel-producers in the world-Arcelor and Mittal Steel, are in the middle of  a bitter battle for total market domination

At first Lakshmi Mittal proposes a friendly merger with rival Arcelor, a pan-European company whose interested parties include the governments of Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.

Arcelor’s mercurial CEO, Frenchman Guy Dollé, firmly refuses,using intemperate language.To quote,“The answer is clearly no…There are two categories of steel. There is premium-quality steel and there is commodity steel. It’s like, there’s perfume, that Arcelor specialises in, and then there’s a sort of eau de cologne which is Mittal’s domain… a lot more technology and grey matter goes into each tonne we sell.” ….. “Part of Mittal’s offer consists, if you’ll excuse the expression, of monnaie de singe.”(literally meaning “monkey money” or “funny money” or tainted money).These same words come back to haunt him later.

The refusal sets the scene for a massive hostile takeover involving billions of dollars of finance and government and shareholder manoeuvring. The corporate battle that ensues takes on epic proportions and becomes  one of the world’s biggest and most hard-fought industry takeovers of recent years. It sends shockwaves through the political corridors of Europe, excites the world’s financial markets, enriches thirty hedge funds and transformes the global steel industry.The participants come from many different continents and include six billionaires, many of the world’s top investment bankers (interestingly with two brothers, pitted against each other, one working for Goldman Sachs and the other for Morgan Stanley),top law firms and public relations outfits , presidents , prime ministers and politicians occupying the highest positions in the current and emerging superpowers. Read more of this post

Why Not Teach People How To Become Wealthy?


This post is in reply to this post http://goodnewsforisla.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/day-58-billions/ and other articles in a similar vein.

To quote from the above post:

Richard Stearns World VisionHere are a few facts about billionaires and the wealthy (taken from ‘The Hole In Our Gospel ‘by Richard Stearns).  
1) Today’s 1,123 billionaires hold more wealth than the wealth of half the world’s adult population.   

2) The wealthiest 7 people on earth control more wealth than the combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 most heavily indebted (poor) nations.  
3) The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for just 5 percent of the global income.  The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of the world’s income.

 
These facts are staggering when you consider the disparity between the wealthy and the poor.  If only those that were extremely wealthy would share their wealth, perhaps the poor wouldn’t be as poor.  The sick could be cured.  Thirst could be quenched, and hungry tummies fed.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Please  consider the following points:

(1) Billionaires hold about one percent of the world’s house hold wealth( source:http://www.ppionline.org/ppi_ci.cfm?knlgAreaID=108&subsecID=900003&contentID=254950).So what would happen if all the world’s rich gave away their wealth?Something like this…..The world’s richest man Carlos Slim Helu has a estimated networth of less than US$60billion.There are some six billion souls on earth.So if we were to distribute his money amongst all the people of the world,each person would get an additional US$10.And if instead of all the people if we were to give the money to only the poorer 50% ,each person would get  US$20.Still money but not that much….. Read more of this post

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