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on 3 March 2009
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!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 February 2014
This is very enjoyable travel writing in which the author relates the story of his travel around the world buying and selling a wide variety of goods with the target of doubling his money. Taking in Morrocco, Sudan, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Kazakstan, India, China, Tiawan, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil, before returning to London, Conor Woodman's travels are fascinating to read about, as are the trades he made in everything from horses to jade, wood, and wine amongst many others. Some of the trades were successful, some not, but they are all great fun to read about.

There is a little economics thrown in for good measure but mostly this is travel writing - the places he visited and the people he met are described well with lots of photographs to add colour and faces to names, and it is easy to visualise the journey the author made.

I raced through this very enjoyable book in just two sittings and was disapointed to have turned the last page
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on 15 May 2009
This is a fascinating companion to the hugely entertaining, intelligent and thought provoking TV series. Conor's trip round the world, buying, selling, coming into contact with professional attitudes and cultures of business and entrepeneurship of all shades is a timely and and thought provoking look at the way we are all economically bound together. Written with self deprecating wit and real intelligence, it is a lovely read.
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on 16 October 2009
A fascinating book, entertainingly written, in which an economist delves into the world of global commerce by trying to trade his way around the world. Starting with £50,000, proceeds from the sale of his London home, he aims to double this sum in a year of travel.

His endeavours - as many unsuccessful as not - include trades and exports of camels from Sudan, coffee from Zambia, chilli from South Africa, horses from Kyrgyzstan, jade across China, tea from Taiwan. In each case he attempts to sell his product to the next stop on his journey.

He also wants to test his theory that you can sell ice to the proverbial Eskimos provided you add some special angle to your ice.

Does he end up with his £100,000? You'll have to read the book!

To my astonishment, I've just (16 April 2009) viewed an episode about the adventure on UK's Channel 4 TV
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on 9 January 2010
I had seen some of the Channel 4 series, but I think the book is more entertaining. Woodman's failures are often tragic, in the sense that you can see what is coming. The horse dealers in Central Asia ganged up on him had made him sell at a loss because it was so clearly their park, bat, ball and rules. The camel dealers of Sudan had the market cornered. But a common theme throughout is the kindness of strangers. One of his guides steps in to stop him being swindled. People with nothing are prepared to make him welcome. Woodman did not seem to factor in his travel and living costs to his profit and loss statement at the start of each chapter, so I don't seee this as a business book. But what it is, is a great people book.
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on 6 October 2010
I caught one of the later episodes of the TV series on the Channel 4, which prompted me to buy the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which I would describe as more travel book than a business book. The book is based on basic economic / business guidelines about supply and demand, negotiation etc in different business cultures around the world, written in everyday language with nothing heavy to discourage the casual reader. If you are looking for an interesting read that combines travel, business, humour, trading and a good story, go for this book.
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on 15 August 2010
I found this book entertaining and interesting, and even gripping at the end, wanting to see if the author will reach his
profit target or fail. He has left out all the dull bits, and states this. For me the best chapters were the first two, when
he is trying to buy and sell a carpet in Marrakech, and then later camels in the Sudan. Here are all the other 'products' he buys: Coffee in Zambia; Chilli and wine in South Africa; Horses in Krygyztan; Jade in China; Surfboards; Oollong tea; fish;
tequila and 'green' teak. A quick, easy read.
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on 3 July 2009
I ordered this book and took it with me on my holiday. The book started out very nicely. It was excited to read how he would do his trades in Africa cause anyone who has done some business or has been on holiday in Africa knows how hard it can be there.. But to the end of the book you are expecting some kind of climax but that didn't come... The book just keeps ongoing and ongoing as it started. That's a bit of a pity. Connor should have used some more spices to spice up the end.
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on 7 November 2009
Good enough idea but fairly lightweight - suitable for holiday reading.
Don't expect any in depth analysis on "the new economics".
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on 26 November 2009
A great book, well written and in many ways better than the accompanying TV series as it gives you some insight into the man himself and the reasons behind his trades.

However be warned I bought this book along with The Adventure Capitalist, only to discover that they are one and the same book with different titles.

The Adventure Capitalist: Camels, carpets and coffee: how face-to-face trade is the new economics

Buyer beware!
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