A Column of Fire

I got around Ken Follett’s latest 1,000 page brick: A Column of Fire. If you are looking for a good for book for the Holidays or a gift, this book will fit the bill. Like any of Ken Follett’s work, this book historically well researched.

The story starts in the late 1550s with Europe torn apart by religious conflict. This was a time when the Catholics burnt the Protestants and then the Protestants burnt the Catholics on the stake. The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter what the cost.

Here’s a praised for the book: As Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? International bestselling author Ken Follett takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with his magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire. – Amazon

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The Most Valuable Companies of All-Time

Below is a chart of the the most valuable companies of all-time. The amounts have been adjusted for inflation.

Source: Visual Capitalist

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was a bubble formed from the prospect of trading with faraway lands. The Dutch government granted VOC a monopoly on trade. VOC could acquire exotic goods, establish colonies, create military forces, and even initiate wars or conflicts around the world. Of course, the very nature of these risky ventures made getting any accurate indication of intrinsic value nearly impossible, which meant there were no real benchmarks for what companies like this should be worth.

The VOC also got caught up in the Tulip Mania (The bitcoin of the 1630s.) Despite its 200-year run as Europe’s foremost trading juggernaut – the speculative peak of the company’s prospects coincided with Tulip Mania in Holland in 1637. It’s during that time that the company was worth $7.9 trillion. Eventually the company was nationalized in 1800, and its possessions and debt were taken over by the government.