"A smart, lively history of the world economy, seen through the crucial inventions that shaped it. Who thought up paper money? What was the secret element that made the Gutenberg printing press possible? What is the connection between The Da Vinci Code and the collapse of Lehman Brothers? In [this book], author and economist Tim Harford paints an epic yet intimate picture of economic change by telling the stories of the ideas, people, and tools that have had far-reaching and unexpected consequences for all of us. Drawing on his hugely popular BBC radio program and podcast ..., Harford expands on them with fascinating glimpses into the inventions that have transformed the ways, we work, play, and live. From the plow to artificial intelligence, from Gillette's disposable razor to IKEA's Billy bookcase, Harford recounts the memorable story of each invention and introduces us to the characters who developed them, profited from them, and were in some cases ruined by them. The result is a wise and witty book of history, economics, and biography."--Jacket.