Double Entry by Jane Gleeson-White
How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance

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"Double Entry"...loses its focus as it approaches the present—an attempt to link double-entry bookkeeping to the failure of our national accounts to incorporate environmental costs doesn't come off.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

“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.
 

About Jane Gleeson-White

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Jane Gleeson-White holds degrees in economics and accounting and is studying for her PhD in creative writing and literature. She has worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice and currently lives in Sydney, Australia.
 
Published October 1, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 305 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Professional & Technical, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Edward Chancellor on Nov 07 2012

"Double Entry"...loses its focus as it approaches the present—an attempt to link double-entry bookkeeping to the failure of our national accounts to incorporate environmental costs doesn't come off.

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