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Library Journal Best Business Book


The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg

By Niall Ferguson

Narrated by James Langton

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Publication Date: 06/30/2010 Running Time: 17 hrs 30 min
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Bestselling author Niall Ferguson reveals for the first time the true extent of Siegmund Warburg's influence—and the lessons we can learn in a time of crisis from the last of the high financiers.


Review Excerpts

"James Langton employs a clear, clipped voice for much of the narration.... This is a well-written, broadly sourced look at a brilliant financier." ---AudioFile

"[A] valuable book." ---Kirkus

"Ferguson draws a richly vivid portrait of this unusual banker." ---Liaquat Ahamed, The New York Times

"Ferguson brings great authority to this account.... [He] is a talented writer, capable of grace and insight, but it is his ability as a historian that shows most strongly in High Financier. ---Washington Post

"Ferguson has written a most engrossing and edifying tale of high finance.... Highly recommended." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Its many finance lessons aside, High Financier is a pleasure to [listen to] simply as a work of literary skill. It is not only prodigiously researched but also splendidly written---clear and vivid and precise." ---The Wall Street Journal


In this groundbreaking new biography, based on more than ten thousand hitherto unavailable letters and diary entries, bestselling author Niall Ferguson returns to his roots as a financial historian to tell the story of Siegmund Warburg, an extraordinary man whose austere philosophy of finance offers much insight today.

A refugee from Hitler's Germany, Warburg rose to become the dominant figure in postwar City of London and one of the architects of European financial integration. Seared by the near collapse and then "Aryanization" of his family's long-established bank in the 1930s and then frustrated by the stagnation of its Wall Street sister, Kuhn Loeb, in the 1950s, Warburg resolved that his own firm of S. G. Warburg (founded in 1946) would be different.

An obsessive perfectionist with an aversion to excessive risk, Warburg came to embody the ideals of the haute banque—high finance—always eschewing the fast buck in favor of gilt-edged advice. He was not only the master of the modern merger and founder of the eurobond; he was also a key behind-the-scenes adviser to governments in London, Tokyo, and Jerusalem—to his critics, a "financial Rasputin." Like a character from a Thomas Mann novel, Warburg was a complex and ambivalent man, as much a psychologist, politician, and actor-manager as he was a banker. In High Financier, Ferguson shares the first book-length examination of a man whose life and work suggest an alternative to the troubled business principles that helped shape our current financial landscape.

HISTORYModern20th Century

High Financier

Library Journal Starred Review
MP3 Audio Sample

Other Titles by this Author
  The Ascent of Money
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