(Bloomberg) -- What better way to prepare for what may be the first U.S. rate hike in almost a decade than to tour 6,000 years of interest-rate history? This week, Joe and Tracy speak with NYU Stern finance professor Richard Sylla, co-author of A History of U.S. Interest Rates. We start in Babylonia, where Hammurabi codified the relationship between debtors and creditors, and end with zero percent interest rates in the U.S. in the 21st century. Along the way, we journey to the Roman city that pledged its public colonnades as collateral, learn why medieval French princes had such terrible credit histories and figure out why today's negative interest rates in parts of Europe really are a historical oddity. In other words, Odd Lots read a 700-page book on interest rates so you don't have to. (No, really, you should read it. It's a great book).