Bulls, he writes, are what someone else might call zealously open to the messianic other:
In rising financial markets, the world is forever new. The bull or optimist has no eyes for past or present, but only for the future, where streams of revenue play in his imagination. In falling markets, there is nothing that has not happened before. The bear or pessimist sees only the past, which imprisons the wretched financial soul in eternal circles of boom and bust and boom again.
Bulls don't read. Bears read financial history. As markets fall to bits, the bears dust off the Dutch tulip mania of 1637, the Banque Royale of 1719-20, the railway speculation of the 1840s, the great crash of 1929. Leering phantoms emerge from the historical dark, like the parade of ghostly Scottish kings in Macbeth...
Ferguson's reputation is so high that if he were a stock one would short him. The very title of his book, The Ascent of Money, is a screaming sell signal, like the shoe-shine boys trading stock tips at the door to Grand Central Station in New York in 1929. In fairness, Ferguson recognises that and his pages are hot with proof-stage tyre-marks, as he goes into violent reverse to escape from under collapsing arguments. None the less, his book is very readable indeed and the television series for which it is a sort of trailer, will, I am sure, be even better.)