book hack
A Splendid ExchangeBy William J. Bernstein

In a Nutshell

A Splendid Exchange outlines the history of global trade, revealing that it is older than we think, has enabled the progress of civilization, and continues to change the world on a daily basis.

Favorite quote

Few other historical inquiries tell us as much about the world we live in today as does the search for the origins of world trade.

William J. Bernstein


Did you know that the Americas were discovered not because of the venture's historical merit, but because people wanted more purple clothes. The rare color was a desired fashion statement, but the ingredients to dye clothes purple could only be found in certain sea snails that happened to live in the Atlantic Ocean. Merchants went further and further into the sea to find them and that momentum led to bigger expeditions.

Hindsight is 20/20, and in retrospect, it may seem obvious that searching the big oceans was a good idea in the first place. But back then, the looming dangers were much more prevalent. In A Splendid Exchange, William J. Bernstein recounts similarly curious stories from the history of global trade, all while chronologically illustrating its progress.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

  1. 1.
    The first item traded long distance was...a stone
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc volutpat, leo ut.
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