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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Index funds are the most widely influential investment vehicles available. They have revolutionised investing by saving millions of people billions of dollars in fees that would otherwise have gone to fund managers. It is no exaggeration to say that the rise of passive investing is probably one of the most consequential financial inventions of the past half-century, by rewiring markets and reshaping the finance industry.

Yet some detractors say that index investing is an insidious disease, and, with their rapid expansion and grip on the financial market, index funds may have cataclysmic consequences that we aren't even aware of yet. What might the socio-economic risks of wide-spread passive investing be? What are the longer-term consequences to capitalism? And what does the future look like for the investment landscape?

Through exclusive interviews with key industry giants, Robin Wigglesworth, the Financial Times' New York-based markets editor, reveals the thrilling and untold history of the revolutionists behind the invention of index funds and investigates one of the most pressing financial uncertainties of our time.

©2021 Robin Wigglesworth (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A terrific read." (Gregory Zuckerman, special writer at the Wall Street Journal and author of The Man Who Solved the Market)

"A rollicking great yarn, replete with admirable heroes, political infighting, fascinating diversions and unexpected triumphs." (William Cohan, special correspondent at Vanity Fair and author of The Last Tycoons)

"A wonderfully engaging romp through the last half century of market news." (Rana Foroohar, global business columnist at the Financial Times and author of Don't Be Evil)

What listeners say about Trillions

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Fascinating AF

Narration: Perfect for this type of book

I loved this look at an important time in financial history with a deep dive into a product that is now responsible for around $15 Trillion worth of investments.

The author goes right back to where the ideas came from with a look at French mathematician Louis Bachelier. It was his PhD thesis, The Theory of Speculation, published in 1900, which essentially explained why markets are hard to beat.

A few others like Cowles and Lorie explained and evidenced that professional active money managers could not outperform the markets year on year. This gave rise to the index fund and passive investing and has been growing every single year since John 'Jack' Bogle first brought them to market in 1975 with his Vanguard Funds.

The author brilliantly timelines the history of the index fund and has a conclusion at the end which is also fascinating to listen to, somewhat of a warning about index funds.

Overall loved this.

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Very good book

The author really has done a good job of summarizing the history of Index founds, their inner workings, advantages and possible market consequences.

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A riveting finance book

A thrilling book about the growth of index funds and how they changed the world of finance. It’s an easy listen