The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger by Greg SteinmetzThe life and times of the wealthiest man who ever lived--Jacob Fugger, the Renaissance banker who revolutionized the art of making money and established the radical idea of pursuing wealth for its own sake.
Jacob Fugger lived in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century, the grandson of a peasant. By the time he died, his fortune amounted to nearly two percent of European GDP. Not even John D. Rockefeller had that kind of wealth.
Most people become rich by spotting opportunities, pioneering new technologies, or besting opponents in negotiations. Fugger did all that, but he had an extra quality that allowed him to rise even higher: nerve. In an era when kings had unlimited power, Fugger had the nerve to stare down heads of state and ask them to pay back their loans--with interest. It was this coolness and self-assurance, along with his inexhaustible ambition, that made him not only the richest man ever, but a force of history as well. Before Fugger came along it was illegal under church law to charge interest on loans, but he got the Pope to change that. He also helped trigger the Reformation and likely funded Magellans circumnavigation of the globe. His creation of a news service, which gave him an information edge over his rivals and customers, earned Fugger a footnote in the history of journalism. And he took Austrias Habsburg family from being second-tier sovereigns to rulers of the first empire where the sun never set.
The ultimate untold story, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived is more than a tale about the richest and most influential businessman of all time. It is a story about palace intrigue, knights in battle, family tragedy and triumph, and a violent clash between the 1 percent and everybody else. To understand our financial system and how we got it, it pays to understand Jacob Fugger.
There are loads of different themes. Selflessness, Bravery, Honesty, Intelligence and Peacefulness. They all kind of merge into one. It sounds like I'm just listing the traits of each faction, but they point is that these traits can't exist without eachother. People can't be labelled as being Brave, and not have any of the others. Yes, their bravery might be their strongest trait, but that doesn't mean that they exist without selflessness, or honesty, or intelligence or peace. They are brave when they have to be; they don't go around starting fights just because they have Bravery and other people don't.
From the SparkNotes Blog
So because I have an 11 year old daughter I went to see the movie Divergent this weekend. It was the longest 7 hours of my life ok, only 2 hours and 23 minutes. There has been some heated pushback against complaints about fatigue over making movies with and appealing to girls on a few feminist blogs I follow. But I was much, much more distressed by the anti-intellectual message pushed by this film. For those who have not had the pleasure, Divergent is the story of a post-apocalyptic Chicago which has dealt with whatever bad thing happened to them in the past by walling off the remnants of the city and splitting the surviving population into five factions. Each faction has a defining quality and role to play in this place. The heroine, Tris, leaves her birth faction of Abnegation, whose members are devoted to selflessness and thus are entrusted with governing, to join the Dauntless faction, which is tasked with defense and policing.