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Publisher's Summary

On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without all those dots, the world would not work.

Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system. Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.

Rose George, acclaimed chronicler of what we would rather ignore, sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore on ships the length of football fields and the height of Niagara Falls; she patrols the Indian Ocean with an antipiracy task force; she joins seafaring chaplains and investigates the harm that ships inflict on endangered whales.

Sharply informative and entertaining, Ninety Percent of Everything reveals the workings and perils of an unseen world that holds the key to our economy, our environment, and our very civilization.

©2013 Rose George (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“Consistently absorbing...Timely as well as deft...George's spirited book cracks open a vast, treacherous and largely ignored world.” ( The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I was quite mislead by the title.....

I thought this book was going to be more about the container industry,but is basically a woman's journey on a container ship one way voyage. She shares the stories she hears from the crew throughout the book. Since I work in Logistics I had a bigger expectation.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Inaccurate title; boring, disorganized book

I work in Supply Chain and thought this would be a good book to learn more about the industry. turns out it is just a story of a woman living on a container ship writing about whatever comes to her mind. she goes on for hours about topics like piracy, whale watching, whale exploding and whale conservation. all of which have little to do with the shipping industry. the interesting parts are of life at sea and what that is like, but again that is not about the industry. 2 stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The first 5 chapters are great

Skip the whales and Vasco de Gama parts. They get really off topic. I think she just didn’t have enough for a book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Startling

Given how important shipping is to our lives, its shocking how little the average person knows. The author does a marvelous job of telling the story by embedding it within an actual voyage aboard a container ship.

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

Nice story.

I found the authors reluctance to explore the ship disappointing. Basicly it's a tourism guide with pirate stories.
Some economics are thrown in for fun.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

You will learn a lot... buy this book.

What made the experience of listening to Ninety Percent of Everything the most enjoyable?

I learned so much reading this book... from what life is like aboard a container ship to the incredible impact this industry has had on our society. The author doesn't dwell too long on any particular topic and liked it that way.

Have you listened to any of Pearl Hewitt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have never heard this narrator before, but I thought she was well-cast. She sounded like she could have been the author... seemed well-connected to the material.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS.

This is DEFINITELY not a business book. British accent on narration that, if you're American, distracts and makes the already slow moving, mostly uninteresting content even more difficult to digest. If you were interested in learning about how the business side of shipping works and its impact on our lives, you will not get that here, you will instead get the authors account of being on merchant ships, which is exactly as boring as it sounds.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unabashed admiration for an excellent narrative

What did you like best about this story?

Rose George takes a huge, highly relevant, dry and unfamiliar topic and systematically breaks down each of its components (ships, sailors, routes, maritime economics and law, environmental and social concerns, pirates and shipwrecks). She addresses each component with more than sufficient detail, expertly juggling each of her story lines in a way that never lets your interest lag.

Have you listened to any of Pearl Hewitt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've never listened to any of Pearl Hewitt's performances, but I listened to this recording for two nights while I was recovering from a painful surgical procedure and couldn't sleep. I thought it might lull me to sleep, but instead I found the text and the performance exhilarating.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved by many moments, particularly George's accounts of shipwrecks and the plight of modern sailors.

Any additional comments?

I look forward to seeing the book translated into Spanish.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Comprehensive and Entertaining

This is a comprehensive look at this industry that has such a large impact on our lives. This book does not simply focus on one aspect, but a multitude of what affects this industry has on the climate, people, and the oceans themselves. I learned a lot, and enjoyed this audio book.

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

Not exactly what I expected….

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Overall I am glad I read this book. It had a lot of information but not exactly what I expected. I expected more info about the chain and detail of transporting t shirts, food, construction materials, etc. But on the other hand, I learned about whales, merchant marines, surviving at sea. Like I said, it could be me.

Would you recommend Ninety Percent of Everything to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes and no. Depends on what they are interested in.

Which character – as performed by Pearl Hewitt – was your favorite?

The Captain of the Kendall…..

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

It was worth reading because in the book there was a saying (gem of wisdom) that has served me well. Thank for that!

2 of 4 people found this review helpful