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Ferguson is a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.In May 2010, Ferguson was asked by Education Secretary Michael Gove to advise on the development of a new history syllabus, to be entitled "history as a connected narrative", for schools in England and Wales.

While researching this book, in early 2007, Ferguson attended a session at a conference in Las Vegas at which a hedge fund manager stated there would never be another recession.Published in 2008, The Ascent of Money examines the history of money, credit, and banking.In it Ferguson predicts a financial crisis as a result of the world economy and in particular the United States using too much credit.Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.From 2010 to 2011, Ferguson held the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics.In War of the World, published in 2006, Ferguson shows how a combination of economic volatility, decaying empires, psychopathic dictators, racially/ethnically motivated and institutionalised violence resulted in the wars and the genocides of what he calls "History's Age of Hatred".

The New York Times Book Review named War of the World one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year in 2006, while the International Herald Tribune called it "one of the most intriguing attempts by an historian to explain man's inhumanity to man".

In his books Colossus and Empire, Ferguson presents a reinterpretation of the history of the British Empire and in conclusion proposes that the modern policies of the United Kingdom and the United States, in taking a more active role in resolving conflict arising from the failure of states, are analogous to the "Anglicization" policies adopted by the British Empire throughout the 19th century.

The American writer Michael Lind, responding to Ferguson's advocation of an enlarged American military through conscription, accused Ferguson of engaging in apocalyptic alarmism about the possibility of a world without the United States as the dominant power and of a casual disregard for the value of human life.

Ferguson's books include Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World and Civilization: The West and the Rest, all of which he has presented as Channel 4 television series.

He writes and speaks about international history, economic and financial history, and British and American imperialism.

He then became a Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Jesus College at the University of Oxford, where in 2000 he held the position of Professor of Political and Financial History.