Around the World in 80 Trades is wonderful adventure LadLit that follows the author's adventures roughly along the old silk route around the world trying to turn a profit from investments he makes in working capital (camels, coffee, tea, jade, horses, rugs, fish, timber, etc.).
It is written in a light, self deprecating style that is welcome in that the ex-banker turned author-adventurer Conor Woodman does want to make a profit but doesn't take himself too seriously. He hits just the right tone throughout, and the wry humor in the context of his full disclosure of his successes and failures makes for easy, compelling reading.
The book is the result of a companion series broadcast on the UK's Channel Four, but international audiences will not be deprived by missing the video and just reading this fascinating adventure.
Woodman begins and ends his journey in London, over the course of less than a year, and the year is 2008. He returns to a London devastated by the global financial crisis, and closes the book with some wise observations concerning humanity's ongoing global trading culture of interlocking markets (and he doesn't mean electronically linked exchanges, he means roads and clearings serving as places of exchange for goods).
Throughout the book you end up easily sharing with Woodman his successes and failures and end up rooting for him all the way. I won't spoil the fun for future readers, but let's just say there are surprises and tension all the way to the end.
This is an excellent book for economists, adventure lovers, thriller readers, traders, bankers, pop economics readers, or even housewives (my wife also loved the book and counts it among her favorites in years).
Highly recommended and the best book of 2009 already! Riveting!!