Reviews of The world’s first stock exchange

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Forward Contract (1644), National Archives, The Hague


“This book is a wonderfully textured account of the rise of stock trading in seventeenth century Amsterdam. It is replete with the personalities, circumstances, wisdom, and folly of the men who fashioned from nothing our modern world of derivatives, repos, and naked short selling. It can be read for pleasure as well as instruction.”
Gregory Clark, University of California, Davis

“The inventions of shares of stock and of a stock exchange are arguably as formative to the development of the world we live in as the discovery of the telescope or of the laws of motion. And those financial innovations were born in Amsterdam. Lodewijk Petram takes us back to 1602, when it all began, and shows how the major elements of the financial life of our time came into being. This is a clear and vital book.”
Russell Shorto, Author of Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City

“Petram’s informed and lively account of Amsterdam’s 17th-century securities market demonstrates that when it comes to investing and speculating we have not progressed much in four centuries. Although a company’s dividend may sometimes have been paid in East Indian spices as well as cash, in most respects Dutch financial markets were surprisingly modern, with not just shares and bonds, but also forward contracts, derivatives, even repo financing with haircuts. And, of course, the Dutch experienced frauds, bankruptcies, crises, and corporate governance problems. While modern Wall Street may have succeeded Amsterdam as the leading market, what goes on there is hardly new.”
Richard Sylla, NYU Stern School of Business

“This is an extremely accessible and clear description of a fascinating topic; Petram writes with the general reader in mind, and carefully conveys the intricate details of the issues addressed in an admirably lucid way. It is one of the best explanations I have seen of various aspects of securities trading that are still relevant today.”
Ailsa Röell, Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

“Petram’s book is a very good example of that rare specimen, a financial history book for a popular audience. The reader gets a very good feeling of atmosphere, of time and place, and of the specific society that gave rise to our contemporary financial structure.”
Joost Jonker, NEHA Professor of Business History, University of Amsterdam

“A fascinating book which I can recommend unequivocally to anyone with even a modicum of interest in the history of financial markets.”
Brenda Jubin,, 27 May 2014 | Read full review

“In its focus on the 17th century Dutch stock market, this book gives a fascinating look at a remarkable episode in financial history.”
Kenneth Silber, Financial History, Spring 2014

“Petram does a fine job of bringing history to life and showing its relevance to modern financial crises. Recommended for readers interested in the origins of the stock market.”
Bonnie Tollefson, Library Journal, 15 May 2014

“[The World’s First Stock Exchange] is a must read for finance scholars and followers. [...] The book is highly lucid and accessible as well.”
Amol Agrawal, Mostly Economics Blog, 15 December 2014 | Read full review