“Compact and immensely readable . . . a tour de force. Prepare to be amazed.” — John C. Bogle, Founder and Former CEO, The Vanguard Group “Vital—a cogent, timely journey through the economic history of the modern world.” — Publishers Weekly In The Birth of Plenty, William Bernstein, the bestselling author of The Four Pillars of Investing, presents his provocative, highly acclaimed theory of why prosperity has been the engine of civilization for the last 200 years. This is a fascinating, irresistibly written “big-picture” work that highlights and explains the impact of four elements that when occurring simultaneously, are the fundamental building blocks for human progress: Property rights, which drive creativity Scientific rationalism, which permits the freedom to innovate without fear of retribution; Capital markets, which provide funding for people to pursue their visions; Transportation/communication, which allows for the effective transfer of ideas and products. Meticulously researched, splendidly told, and featuring a new preface and introduction, The Birth of Plenty explains the interplay of the events, philosophies, and related phenomena that were nothing less than the crucible of the modern age. This is one of the rare books that will change how you look at the world.