From Silk to Silicon

Jeffrey E. Garten, Dean Emeritus of the Yale School of Management


From Silk to Silicon” tells the story of globalization through the lives and times of 10 people who changed the world by their singular accomplishments.

This is the first book to look at the history of globalization through the lens of individuals who did something transformative, as opposed to describing globalization through trends, policies, or particular industries. “From Silk to Silicon” tells the story of who these men and women were, what they did, how they did it, and how their achievements continue to shape the world today. They include:

  • Genghis Khan, who united east and west by conquest and by opening new trade routes built on groundbreaking transportation, communications, and management innovations.
  • Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who arose from an oppressive Jewish ghetto to establish the most powerful bank the world has seen, and ushered in an era of global finance.
  • Cyrus Field, who became the father of global communications by leading the effort to build the transatlantic telegraph, the forerunner to global radio, TV, and the worldwide Internet.
  • Margaret Thatcher, whose controversial policies opened free markets that linked economies across borders.
  • Andy Grove, a Hungarian refugee from the Nazis who built the company — Intel — that figured out how to manufacture complex computer chips on a mass, commercial scale and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley’s computer revolution.

Through their stories Jeffrey E. Garten finds the common links between these figures and poses questions including: How much influence can any one person have in fundamentally changing the world? And how have past trends in globalization affected the present and how will they shape the future?

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