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Publisher's Summary

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 our 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 the gusher of substantially 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 these stories Garten probes critical questions, such as: How much influence can any one person have in fundamentally changing the world? From Silk to Silicon is an essential book to understanding the past - and the future - of the most powerful force of our times.

©2016 Jeffrey E. Garten. (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

Travel the ages to find 10 movers and shakers of our world who have struggled and succeeded in tying us together through pain, suffering and with a seemingly singular and similar vision. It's a fascinating view. Arguably, there are others that could be added to the list, but the premise of the book is that in the end we are a global village and when we share our differences, great things happen for the progressive good of the whole and that is when the world moves forward. And it's rarely a rosey journey because when change happens lives often get shattered. That's the ugly side of progress, which the author honestly also includes as a stark reality. Change hurts. Really enjoyed it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Horrible narrator

Interesting book hobbled by narrator who makes some of the most vibrant historical figures boring.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting stories of movers in history

This book was not what I expected. It is an interesting biography of 10 prominent figures in history, who were obsessed and persistent to make real change.

I found the second half of the book much more enjoyable if only because of the impact of those that truly connected the modern world.

These guys may have been great in their achievement, but in most cases it came at a cost. Most had a dark side, and it can be hard to admire such monsters, but they got the job done. They changed the world through hook or crook.

The ends justified the means would be a good attribute to their methods. One cannot deny that each played a major part in history, but it wasn't in isolation. They surrounded themselves with capable allies.

I recommend this book only because their stories are exceptionally dramatic, not so much as role model but as hard men who knew what they wanted and what it takes to force change.

I'm sure they were many more people that were important, but a selection of 10 is reasonable considering the length of the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

seeing history through a focused lens

people make the world, things don't just happen and this book really drives that home. This is a great piece of motivational history for those who dream.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • NY, NY, United States
  • 06-06-16

Fantastic Journey

Where does From Silk to Silicon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the top, the author has just the right sense of detail, he's know's your curiosity level, and knows when add details, and when to stream line. The stories are well researched, fascinating, and wonderful.

What other book might you compare From Silk to Silicon to and why?

Sorry, nothing comes to mind.

What does Tom Perkins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He does a fine job, (not a good question)

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Again, not a good question.

Any additional comments?

This is great for a person who is interested in technology history, (starting very early 1500's). It's very well written, well researched, and no major faults. Highly recommend. (Ps Im into audible, some 70+ books).

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great history of trade and commerce

Would you listen to From Silk to Silicon again? Why?

yes, because it provides great context to connect cultural expansion, integration, and wealth by way of trade/commerce