Investing-the commitment of resources to achieve a return-affects individuals, families, companies, and nations, and has done so throughout history. Yet until the sixteenth century, investing was a privilege of only the elite classes. The story behind the democratization of investing is bound up with some of history’s most epic events. It is also a tale rich with lessons for professional and everyday investors who hope to make wiser choices. This entertaining history doubles as a sophisticated account of the opportunities and challenges facing the modern investor. It follows the rise of funded retirement; the evolution of investment vehicles and techniques; investment misdeeds and regulatory reform; government economic policy; the development of investment theory; and the emergence of new investment structures. Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing map these trends and profile the battle between low cost index and exchange-traded funds, on the one hand, and the higher-fee hedge funds and private equity, on the other. By helping us understand this history and its legacy of risk, Reamer and Downing hope to better educate readers about the individual and societal impact of investing and ultimately level the playing field.