Jacob Soll

2011 MacArthur Fellow

Jacob Soll received in Diplôme d’Études Approfondies from the Écoles des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and his Ph.D. from Magdalene College, Cambridge. He has taught at Cambridge, Princeton, Rutgers and will be Professor of History and Accounting at the University of Southern California in 2012.

His work sits at the crossroads of political, information and economic history. His first book, Publishing The Prince (2005), won the American Philosophical Society’s 2005 Jacques Barzun Prize. It showed how editors and publishers changed the meaning of Machiavelli’s The Prince and helped create what is one of the most influential books in human history. His second book, The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Information Network (2009) showed how Louis XIV’s famous minister was a forerunner of early technology entrepreneurs and architects, mixing public and state communications networks into a large-scale state information system and intelligence network.

Soll’s current book, The Reckoning (Basic Books, 2013) is a new history of accounting, politics, accountability and why financial crises happen, from medieval Italy to modern Wall Street.

Soll is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2012 MacArthur “Genius Grant.” Soll has written for the New York Times and Book Forum. He is a contributor to the New Republic.


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