Jacob Soll’s book drums on the fact that accounting is the basis of building businesses, states, and empires. The Reckoning, takes a tour from ancient Mesopotamia, Israel, Egypt, and China, to Renaissance Italy, the Spanish Empire, and Louis XIV France, to the Dutch Republic, the British Empire, and the early United States, where it is shown that effective accounting and political accountability have made the difference between a society’s rise and fall.

  The book is overflowing with engaging stories of known and unknown individuals whose financial fortunes, and that of their corporations, have an uptrend when the principles of double-entry bookkeeping are adhered to properly.

  However, Soll doesn’t hold back the stories of financial demise and kings turning into paupers are equally engaging when pointing out the stark truth that poorly practiced or neglected accounting has contributed to cycles of....

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