Author: Jeffrey E. Garten
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Summary: This was a fascinating, whirlwind tour of the history of globalization, but would have been better if it were longer.
I’d describe this book as a microhistory, focused on the most influential people in the expansion of globalization. About 30 pages are devoted to each of ten influential individuals, from Genghis Khan to Andy Grove to Margaret Thatcher. Each had a large impact on history, but was also a product of their times and provided an interesting window into the era they lived in.
I really enjoyed this book and found it a surprisingly easy read given the ambitious topic. The author wrote in a way that was very engaging and accessible. I found the sections at the end of each chapter describing the long term impact of these individuals fascinating and persuasive. I could definitely understand why he chose them to focus on! I was less convinced by the bits where the author tried to relate the way these individuals influenced globalization to events happening today. These connections felt tenuous at best.
Although I enjoyed that this was an easy read, I also wanted more. This felt like a very shallow overview of a very complex topic. While the author did take the time to present both the good and bad of globalization and the individuals he profiles, overall, this reminded me of Headstrong – short, fascinating snippets about individuals that just left me wanting more. Since only ten individuals were described here, instead of Headstrong‘s 52, the problem wasn’t as pronounced. I’ll certainly remember all of the individuals the author discussed and have no trouble remembering who was who! Still, this was an enjoyable book on a fascinating topic and I wish the author had believe in his audience’s ability to handle more.