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Summary

Consider the $20 bill. It has no more value, as a simple slip of paper, than Monopoly money. Yet even children recognize that tearing one into small pieces is an act of inconceivable stupidity. What makes a $20 bill actually worth $20?

In the third volume of his best-selling Naked series, Charles Wheelan uses this seemingly simple question to open the door to the surprisingly colorful world of money and banking. The search for an answer triggers countless other questions along the way: Why does paper money (fiat currency, if you want to be fancy) even exist? And why do some nations, like Zimbabwe in the 1990s, print so much of it that it becomes more valuable as toilet paper than as currency? How do central banks use the power of money creation to stop financial crises? Why does most of Europe share a common currency, and why has that arrangement caused so much trouble? And will payment apps, bitcoin, or other new technologies render all of this moot?

In Naked Money, Wheelan tackles all of the above and more, showing us how our banking and monetary systems should work in ideal situations and revealing the havoc and suffering caused in real situations by inflation, deflation, illiquidity, and other monetary effects. Throughout, Wheelan's uniquely bright-eyed, whimsical style brings levity and clarity to a subject often devoid of both. With illuminating stories from Argentina, Zimbabwe, North Korea, America, China, and elsewhere around the globe, Wheelan demystifies the curious world behind the paper in our wallets and the digits in our bank accounts.

©2016 Charles Wheelan (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Naked Money

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Great content

This is my second reading of the book and I love it.
As someone who has never formally studied economics but finds it fascinating this strikes the balance between intelligent and fun

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Great

Great content, great narration. Naked Money, Naked Economics and Naked Statistics are full of great content and they all compliment each other.

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Excellent listen

Clear and lively explanation of what money is, what money isn't, how its used and the essential work of central banks. Good overview of monetary policy responses to the crashes of 1929 and 2008, and even a chapter on bitcoin. First class.

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Money... makes my head spin round

A really useful, interesting, & informative overview, surprisingly easy to listen too! A topic so rarely talked about and something that is exploited by politicians the world over in justifying fiscal policy.

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Informative and Entertaining

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this book. It explains money and the financial system with humorous, witty analogies that made me laugh whilst being educated at the same time.

It has made me think in a different way about the system having previously listened to other books on money that are more critical of leaving the gold standard, whilst this book explains the benefits of fiat currencies and the central banks having control and flexibility.

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  • Thirsty Mind
  • 10-11-18

This is a beautiful audiobook, and well-narrated.

This turned out to be a great book. The last half explained all the major dynamics of international economies of recent decades that I have wondered about:

Japan's deflation problem
The European Union's dilemma
China's Balance of Payments situation
The 2008 economic collapse
Is Bitcoin anything?

http://a.co/gLTp1SE

The narration was nuanced and entertaining.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Ken Beller
  • 30-04-16

Brilliant, Witty, Easy to Understand, & Well Read!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Without reservation, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about, or talk intelligently about, the federal reserve, monetary and fiscal policy, or even the gold standard.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Wheelen has an excellent understanding of the topic and writes about it in a fun and approachable way, making it enjoyable and easy to understand and without talking down to the reader or leaving out "it's too hard for most to understand" information. He also does a great job explaining complex and difficult ideas simply and elegantly, using multiple examples and coming at them from different perspectives.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Jonathan Davis is an EXCELLENT narrator!.One of the very best.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Central banks have a real purpose in the world's monetary system. If not the best, it is certainly one of the best economic books I have ever read.

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  • RB
  • 16-04-18

Ab excellent book that answers many questions

If you could sum up Naked Money in three words, what would they be?

Must Read

What was one of the most memorable moments of Naked Money?

Deciphering the concept of money, demystifying some of the common (apparently wrong) ideas that you hear these days from politicians (like using the gold standard), describing the role of the federal reserve, and many more.

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He gave a good performance. I think that you could get the same ideas from reading the book as well. It's just that you can listen to an audiobook in situations where you cannot read a physical book (e.g. driving or exercising).

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This was not a moving book but rather an illuminating book. Very instructive, educational, and a good use of your time. You will learn something here.

Any additional comments?

Overall, a very good book.

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  • Dan Collins
  • 17-10-19

I actually listened to this one twice

As a leader in IT I considered it wise that I learned more about money. In addition to that I had recently developed an interest in central banking and was curious how that worked. I am not foolish enough to believe that after listening to this book, even twice like I have, that I have any level of mastery of these deep and complex topics, but I do feel more confident to talk about them conversationally. I recommend this book as a primer for anybody in a similar situation.

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  • AppleCedAR
  • 26-04-18

the magic of money demistified

well written
well read
a fascinating trek through the system that are only feasible through fiat, currency and exchange

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  • Travis L.
  • 10-06-22

A good primer on money

Overall a good primer on money. I wonder about the gold standard and bit coin, he makes some good arguments against both. He may have a man crush on berneke, but given his synopsis on the 2008 financial crisis and how they handled it, it's some what unavoidable.

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  • LS
  • 04-06-22

Entretenido e interesante

Me gustó muchísimo, la información es de primera calidad y los ejemplos son dignos de ser enmarcados. Lo releeré seguramente en un par de años.

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  • A. C.
  • 04-04-22

Great information shared with clarity

I have enjoyed all of this author's work. He explains important concepts very clearly and makes it plain why we should care about what he is sharing. He minimizes technical jargon and thoroughly explains it where it is necessary. This is a very good book. The reader is mostly unobtrusive, which I consider a good thing for a book like this.

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  • James
  • 23-02-22

Masterpiece

Charles Wheelan writes to be read. I discovered this in 2014 with the book Naked Economics and reinforced this knowledge with Naked Money and Naked Statistics. This specific volume is so good I bought it again on audio book and will be buying a paper copy to make my own notes on it. I preferred the audiobook at 1.15 speed as it makes the reader sound more natural than the normal pace, but that's a personal preference

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  • Charalampos Kokkotas
  • 20-01-22

Excellent

I think this book should be part of high school education, maybe in a simpler form, if that's possible. English isn't my native language and still was easy to understand. A lot of people would understand how economics works and wouldn't get embarrassed by arguing about things they don't really know.