This is a book written for readers with a fairly good knowledge of the history of the past thousand years who like to have their viewpoints provoked. It achieves this both by bombarding the reader with unexpected snapshots of the past and by its often iconoclastic turn of phrase. If you do not fit the target audience or you dislike the method used, you may well find this book boring and pretentious.
For the rest of you, I'll give a summary of some of the good(+), bad(-), and questionable(?) aspects here:
+ Very wide ranging and well-read view of history.
+ Well illustrated - if he talks about something visual, expect a picture.
+ Some of the things he dredges up are astounding - the 1820 bird's eye view of Japan, the runaway slaves dressed as Spanish noblemen with South American Indian nose and ear ornaments, the Chinese concubine in western armour.
+ The categories he uses make you think. Not Western Civilization, but Atlantic Civilization. His stressing of the commonality of the 'White Pacific' (an implied Surfer Civilization!)
- No maps, even though some of the places mentioned are obscure.
- No footnotes in the text. You have to go to the back of the book to the notes to see whether some quote or fact has a citation.
- He seems to use a lot of obscure spellings and expressions. On a few occasions I would want to read more about a character he talks about only to have difficulty finding the name using Google or Wikipedia.
? His style is often 'poetic' but sometimes I get the feeling he could have said something a lot clearer with a few less syllables.
? Often he seems one-sided, perhaps deliberately. For instance, he emphasizes the spread of Asian food and philosophy, while ignoring the still more impressive spread of Western food and values.
? He seems out of his depth in some fields. Modern physics is not as subjective as literature, as he implies. Nor is it heavily indebted to Eastern Mysticism. Taoism makes a good metaphor, but that is all. Equally good metaphors could have been garnered from Judeo-Christian thought if it weren't for the baggage that overly familiar religions carry with them.