One Book Explains the Rise of Globalization: It’s All in the Box

Container shipping standardized a chaotic industry and brought the world closer together.

At the top of my most interesting reads this year was Marc Levinson’s “The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger,” the second edition of which was published in 2016. The book tells the story of container shipping, which revolutionized international trade over the past 60 years.

How container shipping came to dominate global trade may not sound like a gripping read, but Levinson intersperses the story with colorful business characters like Malcom McLean and exacting operations researchers such as Foster Weldon. And the story itself is both historically important and also central to many of the ongoing debates still raging about globalization.

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