From the Financial Times's global finance correspondent, the incredible true story of the iconoclastic geeks who defied conventional wisdom and endured Wall Street's scorn to launch the index fund revolution, democratizing investing and saving hundreds of billions of dollars in fees that would have otherwise lined fat cats' pockets.
Fifty years ago, the Manhattan Project of money management was quietly assembled in the financial industry's backwaters, unified by the heretical idea that even many of the world's finest investors couldn't beat the market in the long run.
The motley crew of nerds—including economist wunderkind Gene Fama, humiliated industry executive Jack Bogle, bull-headed and computer-obsessive John McQuown, and avuncular former WWII submariner Nate Most—succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Passive investing now accounts for more than $20 trillion, equal to the entire gross domestic product of the US, and is today a force reshaping markets, finance and even capitalism itself in myriad subtle but pivotal ways.
Yet even some fans of index funds and ETFs are growing perturbed that their swelling heft is destabilizing markets, wrecking the investment industry and leading to an unwelcome concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands.
In Trillions, Financial Times journalist Robin Wigglesworth unveils the vivid secret history of an invention Wall Street wishes was never created, bringing to life the characters behind its birth, growth, and evolution into a world-conquering phenomenon. This engrossing narrative is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand modern finance—and one of the most pressing financial uncertainties of our time.
About the Author
Robin Wigglesworth is the global finance correspondent at the Financial Times. He focuses on the biggest trends reshaping markets, investing, and finance more broadly across the world, and writing longer-form features, analyses, profiles and columns. Before joining the Financial Times in 2008 he worked at Bloomberg News.
Praise for Trillions:
“A magisterial, delightfully written history offering up portraits of the academic scribblers and entrepreneurial practitioners who created the index-fund revolution. It also contains common-sense wisdom that will benefit all investors... With consummate skill, he brings to life the eggheads and the “iconoclastic” investors who guided indexing through its difficult birth pangs and oversaw its exponential development...A rip-roaring yarn.” —The Wall Street Journal
“With well-researched accumulation of one story after another, Wigglesworth brings to life how all aspects of investing have been transformed by indexation....But Wigglesworth manages to bring life to even well raked-over events, such as the boardroom bust-up that led to the birth of Vanguard or BlackRock’s “deal of the decade” acquisition...[a] first-rate book.” —The Financial Times
“A thoroughly reported and engaging account, featuring characters including the indomitable John "Jack" Bogle, founder of the Vanguard fund powerhouse, Larry Fink, architect of the even-larger BlackRock, and Louis Bachelier, a French mathematician whose 1900 PhD thesis made an early contribution to the academic underpinnings of passive investing...an enjoyable read.” —Reuters
"Entertaining and educational. Wigglesworth explores one of the most important modern-day financial innovations, bringing what could be a dull topic to full life." —Gregory Zuckerman, special writer at the Wall Street Journal and author of The Greatest Trade Ever and The Man Who Solved the Market
"As only the incomparable Robin Wigglesworth could do, this book turns the often obscured history of the investment industry into a rollicking great yarn." —William Cohan, special correspondent at Vanity Fair and author of The Last Tycoons, House of Cards, Money and Power, and Four Friends "Wigglesworth has turned this arcane tale into an easy-to-understand and fun read, full of lively characters and little known details of how finance works today. Anyone who wants to understand modern investing should read this book." —Gillian Tett, chair of the editorial board and US editor-at-large at the Financial Times and author of Fool's Gold and The Silo Effect
"Very few writers can tell a great story and help us understand a big idea. Wigglesworth is one of those rare journalists who can." —Rana Foroohar, global business columnist at the Financial Times and author of Makers and Takers and Don't Be Evil
“A tour de force." —Mohamed El Erian, Chief Economic Adviser of Allianz and author ofWhen Markets CollideandThe Only Game in Town
"In Wigglesworth’s hands, the greatest change in investing in the last 100 years is brought to life like never before. A page turner!" —Fred Grauer, former CEO of Wells Fargo Investment Advisors/Barclays Global Investors
"Wigglesworth is one of the most lucid and exciting journalists writing about finance today. This book tackles the enormous changes that have swept the investing world through the stories of its charismatic innovators." —Bradley Hope, writer at Project Brazen and author of Billion Dollar Whale