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

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

Jeffrey E. Garten. Harper, $29.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-240997-3

In this wide-ranging book, Garten (The Politics of Fortune), former dean of the Yale School of Management, identifies 10 transformational individuals who laid the foundation for modern globalization. He begins with Genghis Khan, who conquered and united the vast Mongol Empire, and moves chronologically as he profiles Prince Henry of Portugal, whose fearless naval expeditions set in motion the Age of Exploration; Robert Clive, the merchant-soldier who laid the basis for the British Empire; Mayer Amschel Rothschild, whose dealings represented the beginnings of global financial markets; Cyrus Field, layer of the first transatlantic telegraph cable, which set the stage for modern telecommunications; John D. Rockefeller, the businessman whose companies anticipated today’s multinational corporations; Jean Monnet, who coordinated the establishment of the European Union; Margaret Thatcher, the free-market evangelist who linked Britain’s economy with the world’s; Andrew Grove, the manager who made Intel a leader in the microprocessor industry; and Deng Xiaoping, the modernizing Chinese leader whose market reforms brought hundreds of millions of people into the global economy. Garten recognizes each figure’s unique skills and qualities as well as their evils. It’s an unapologetically neoliberal take on history, but Garten is correct that each contribution reverberates in the present. Maps and illus. Agent: James Levine, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Mar.)