Summary of High Financier

The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg

Penguin Group (USA), more...

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High Financier book summary
Siegmund Warburg helped rebuild Europe after World War II, changed the course of international finance and built one of the 20th century’s most powerful banking empires.


8 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

7 Style


This panoramic biography of Siegmund Warburg reveals a complex man who built international banking in response to the great turbulence of the 20th century. Given access to previously unavailable personal letters and diaries, Niall Ferguson, a history professor at Harvard, spent 12 years profiling this singular man, who was shaped by early-20th-century Prussian Europe and lived through World War I, the rise of Nazism, the dark years of the Holocaust and post-World War II reconstruction. The book’s title aptly describes Warburg’s “lives,” since he reinvented himself in the face of world and personal events. Ferguson artfully weaves Warburg’s motives, business environment and family intrigues into the political evolution of Western Europe and the US. getAbstract highly recommends this detailed, readable biography of an extraordinary man.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What historic factors shaped Siegmund Warburg’s life,
  • How Warburg built his financial empire and
  • What personality traits helped him succeed as an international banker and globalization visionary.


Family Fortunes
Siegmund Warburg (1902-1982) was born into a wealthy family that could trace its heritage to the money-changing and banking businesses of the 1640s. Family tradition held that male members should pool a portion of their wealth and use it as capital for the family business...
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About the Author

Niall Ferguson teaches history at Harvard University and wrote Empire, The Cash Nexus, The Ascent of Money and several other books.

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Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Biographies of the giants of industry show how they rose to the very top, what they did to stay there and just how ruthlessly they did it.

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