Who Was the the Richest Man Who Ever Lived?

Jacob Fugger is Greg Steinmetz’s answer in his book, “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived,” which I have just finished reading.

Fugger was a Renaissance era banker. He made some money as a standard merchant banker of the era but his real killing was in funding the beginnings of the Habsburg empire.

I enjoy biographies of businessmen. With the modern contempt for the past so common, few are written and most are really character assassinations or anti-business screeds masking as biographies.

Steinmetz’s effort is different. He appreciates what Fugger did, what he built and doesn’t hold his activities that we’d find distasteful today against him. There aren’t many places where you get a taste of how economies of another age worked (beyond the usual pop-agitprop of ‘The rich exploited the poor… blah…blah….blah…’).

Hardily recommended, especially if you like to read about how we got where we were today.

And if any Simon & Schuster editor reads this, or Steinmetz, for that matter, a few of corrections.

Page 91: “keep” not “kept”
Page 187: “puttered” not “pottered”
Page 210: Böblingen and Boblingen appear on the same page, pick one
Page 237: 1427 should be 1527

Here’s a link to the book at Barnes & Noble.


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