From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives

In This Review

From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives
by Jeffrey E. Garten
Harper, 2016
464 pp.
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Garten approaches globalization, which has occurred in fits and starts, through the biographies of ten people who powerfully shaped the process—sometimes inadvertently, and often driven by selfish motives. Among his subjects are Genghis Khan, John D. Rockefeller, Jean Monnet, Margaret Thatcher, and Deng Xiaoping. Each was determined and single-minded, if not monomaniacal, in pursuit of his or her objectives. Each displayed a great mastery of details and enjoyed an unusual skill for organizing people; they were doers, not just thinkers. It is impossible to know whether they genuinely altered the course of history, since impersonal forces might have produced similar effects. But they were first movers, and their stories and the immediate consequences of their actions are thoroughly engaging.