About the Authors

Norton Reamer

Norton Reamer is the former chief investment officer and CEO of Putnam Investments. He founded and ran United Asset Management for twenty years. In 2003, he founded and led Asset Management Finance. Each firm was a leader in its investment approach and organizational structure. He now lives and works in Boston.

"After thousands of years when only the powerful and high-born could invest, the last 400 years have brought this wealth-creating opportunity increasingly within the reach of ordinary people through the creation of corporations, public markets, and large industrial and service infrastructures.

"This has led to opportunities and challenges for billions of people in the developed world that they have only begun to address, such as the concept and funding of retirement. As a result, I was inspired to improve the process of education for these masses of new investors by creating the first detailed account of investment's history. My hope is that the book will help ordinary people and professional investors to become more conversant with where investment has come from and where it is today."

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Jesse Downing

Jesse Downing is a graduate of Harvard College, where he studied economics and mathematics. He currently works at an investment management firm in Boston.

"Investment undergirds countless aspects of modern society: the allocation of capital for the education of our youth, the ability of our seniors to retire, the prospect of homeownership, the deployment of funds into research and innovation, the organization of collectives like unions and charities, and the creation and destruction of corporations. And yet, in spite of its omnipresence, a genuinely comprehensive history of investment had never been written before. We found this deeply curious and almost troubling as understanding the history of investment is so crucial to comprehending its inner workings, its nuances, its deficiencies, and its power. There is no dearth of “how to” books on the subject and there are even some books on the history of rather narrow episodes and topics within investment, but one with a broader focus seeking to unearth investment's very essence through the lens of history was lacking. This book represents our attempt to weave a narrative that describes, synthesizes, and analyzes the lessons of history in a manner that is broad, engaging, and enriching for the professional and layperson alike."

View the book's timeline.