Conference Roundup “Money Changes Everything”: The Many-Faceted Mind of Will Goetzmann

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At the Q Group on April 15, 2019 the Yale professor William N. Goetzmann presented a paper, “How Alternative are Private Markets?” which revealed the side of Professor Goetzmann that is concerned with mainstream financial research. However, as his introducer, Andrew Ang, said, Goetzmann is also a prolific author, a filmmaker, an expert on the art of the Wild West in the United States and of the Viking period in Scandinavia, the ancient history of stock markets, the original tulip bubble in the Netherlands, and neglected corners of the investment markets such as art and real estate.

All that and he also wrote, with Roger Ibbotson, a volume of collected works on The Equity Risk Premium: Essays and Explorations, to which I contributed.

Will Goetzmann is the Renaissance man of the financial world.

Since I don’t really care how “alternative” private markets are, I’m going to focus on Will’s most recent book, a kind of capstone work capturing many (but far from all) aspects of his career, called Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible.

Since he mentioned writing on “financing civilization” close to a quarter century ago, I’m guessing this book is the outcome of that aspiration.

I’ll then discuss some of Goetzmann’s other works, including one that has nothing to do with finance.

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