The Three Books You Must Read if You Want to Argue About Gold

Gold: If you're going to argue about it, you should at least understand it

Gold’s Technical, Fundamental Trend Is to Downside: Bauer

The most controversial rocks int he world

Here are three precious books on gold.

One is a classic; another the great one-volume read; and the other, a controversial effort on the emotion and fear that often drives the price of precious metals and certainly drives perpetual interest in gold.

Barry Eichengreen's Golden Fetters is the classic must-read on gold. It has been near-two decades but it is still the required own. Eichengreen's tome changed the discussion. Before Golden Fetters there was no authoritative text that brought together the economics and finance of what gold meant for society. Warning: Eichengreen writes in a deceptively dense fashion. It will take you longer than you think to wade through the 400+ pages. It is worth it. It helps that the young Eichengreen of 1996 has become a definitive international economist. A Berkeley Bonus: check out his concise Exorbitant Privilege.

 

I recently talked about Peter Bernstein's Against the Gods. That one gets the fame and acclaim which unfortunately hides his other great efforts. One of those other works is The Power of Gold. The book combines an exploration of our beliefs in gold with a quick and measured history. Peter Bernstein does what he does in every book; makes you furious that there are no more pages to turn. It is hugely readable and is without question the one-volume to move you beyond the gold-bear/gold-bug parallax. Bernstein does economic history like no one else and brilliantly tosses in myth and mystery when writing on gold.

Finally, in the great tradition of gold writing there are those who worry. Agree or disagree, James Rickards owns the high ground on why we should worry about the many swans of our international financial system. In the great tradition of Harry Browne (and yes, I read them all), The Death of Money informs on why we should worry. It makes for must reading for gold-bugs and those sitting on top of the wall of worry. Far more, optimists will frame and reframe their optimisim with a careful reading of Rickards. How can you not worry if you don't understand why the worriers worry? 

Books on the end of the dollar/Fed/WallStreet as we know it are a devalued dime a dozen. Some are earnest, most shrill and few dead wrong over many decades. Rickards is different. He writes clear, cogent and direct. 

One important note: I am clearly in the things-will-work-out-camp. The great savior of the financial system is always 'compensating factors' and adjustment at both the macro- and micro-economic level. See this classic paper from William Cline on over-wrought worry in foreign exchange.

So, here are three constructive efforts on all things gold. You may not want to 'buy gold' but buying the best books about gold is a great investment.

Discuss.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE