cover image Connected: 24 Hours in the Global Economy

Connected: 24 Hours in the Global Economy

Daniel Altman, . . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24 (287pp) ISBN 978-0-374-13532-4

Altman's overview of the world's economic workings is useful and informative, though surprisingly dutiful considering the author's promise of a "whirlwind tour." Moving briskly between topics—pegged to an hour-by-hour timeline gimmick—he discusses many concepts: exchange rates, trade deficits, international deals, currency markets, corruption, financial derivatives, technological innovation, the importance of oil. While addressing the outsized role of the U.S., Altman offers valuable glimpses of key foreign economies and leaves us with a solid understanding of how they fit into "the world trading system." "If you want to cope with connectedness," journalist Altman writes, "you have to be as connected as you can—in other words, you have to pay attention to what's happening in the rest of the world." Granted, anyone who's already paying attention will find much of the book's information somewhat remedial. And Altman's attitude toward globalization is so studiously evenhanded and argument-free that the reader may long for the glossy zeal of an advocate like Thomas Friedman or a detractor like Lou Dobbs. Still, as global macroeconomic primers go, this is a quick read that reminds us that we're all in this together—and that many of us have an awful lot to learn to keep up with the global economy. (May 1)