*The Reckoning*: Jacob Soll on Accounting and Accountability

Double-entry bookkeeping doesn't exactly have a reputation for excitement. Indeed, who among us spends weekends and evenings painstakingly tallying our assets against our liabilities when there are so many delightful distractions around? Jacob Soll, a historian and accounting professor at the University of Southern California, thinks accounting needs a makeover, if not a renaissance. Soll has demolished the boring accountant stereotype with his new book, "The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations." Soll's research takes us behind the scenes to reveal the ways that bookkeeping practices have shaped and been shaped by different cultures during critical historical periods. Find out whether modern governments and financial institutions can survive in a society that neglects the task of "keeping the books balanced." Or, are we prone to yet more financial crises—or worse, a moral reckoning with our debts?