Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

From the visionary bestselling author of The Second World and How to Run the World comes a bracing and authoritative guide to a future shaped less by national borders than by global supply chains, a world in which the most connected powers—and people—will win.Connectivity is the most revolutionary force of the twenty-first century. Mankind is reengineering the planet, inand...

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Title:Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization
Author:Parag Khanna
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Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization Reviews

  • Dominic

    Parag Khanna reminds me of a younger Thomas Friedman. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Friedman was the most visible and prolific apostle of globalization (most notably in "The Lexus and the Olive Tree"). Khanna is now taking on that mantle.

    The biggest difference between Friedman and Khanna is that the latter focuses much more on connections. As the title of this book suggests, Khanna's "Connectography" explores how people around the world interact with each other. He points out that mapp

    Parag Khanna reminds me of a younger Thomas Friedman. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Friedman was the most visible and prolific apostle of globalization (most notably in "The Lexus and the Olive Tree"). Khanna is now taking on that mantle.

    The biggest difference between Friedman and Khanna is that the latter focuses much more on connections. As the title of this book suggests, Khanna's "Connectography" explores how people around the world interact with each other. He points out that mapping out connections between places can tell us much more about them than a traditional map with political boundaries. For example, the lives of city dwellers in New York, London, and Tokyo have more in common with each other than those of a New Yorker and someone from rural Oklahoma.

    The key to this connectography is infrastructure. Khanna argues that infrastructure investments facilitate connections by reducing the cost of travel, trade, and communications. The book provides an impressively detailed overview of the various types of infrastructure that have made our world more connected, from oil pipelines to fiber optic cables.

    The most connected units of civilization are cities. Khanna is a big proponent of urbanization, noting that the density of urban areas and their developed infrastructure facilitates connectivity. Indeed, urban areas account for the overwhelming share of global GDP, human capital, and culture.

    Khanna goes so far as to recommend that governments learn to govern based on connectography rather than political boundaries. This idea isn't quite so ridiculous as it sounds. It doesn't mean the Westphalian state is dead. As he notes, many governments have already established special economic zones that effectively cede some state authority to private corporations in return for increased investment. Moreover, policy solutions that work well for urban areas might not work well for rural ones (and vice versa).

    Another important difference from Friedman is that Khanna does not write for a predominately American audience (although Khanna is an American citizen). Whereas Friedman seemed to focus on what globalization meant for Americans and U.S. policymakers, Khanna's book isn't so constrained. This is both an asset and a limitation of the book. Khanna explores many trends and developments overseas that most Americans probably didn't realize were occurring. The book is sure to open some eyes.

    The focus on infrastructure is especially important because it's not something most Americans consider. The trend during the past 20 years at least has been to focus on governance and development. Governance matters, but as Khanna points out connectivity can supplement or even supplant weak governance (through SEZs, etc).

    On the other hand, it's not clear Khanna "gets" America or U.S. politics. He frequently compares the Chinese government's willingness to build infrastructure and engage in economic diplomacy with the lack thereof from the United States. Khanna's explanation for what he considers China's success and America's failure tend to boil down "China smart, America dumb." That seems too simplistic an answer. Indeed, the 2016 election so far has shown that there is something more fundamental going on with regards to American attitudes towards globalization.

    Another concern I had with the book is that, like Friedman, Khanna seems to revel in hyperbole. Rather than simply noting an interesting and important trend, Khanna has to treat it like THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY!!! In point of fact, "connectography" is nothing new, even if the term is. The Roman Empire was based around the rim of the Mediterranean Sea precisely because ocean travel facilitated trade. I remember coming across maps (I believe from Jared Diamond) that attempted to show how humans in urban coastal areas were more connected than others. The scale of human connectivity and infrastructure is unprecedented, but more in scale than kind.

    There's also a tendency to exaggerate problems in America and the progress overseas. I've traveled widely around the world, particularly in Asia. In many parts of developing Asia, infrastructure is in horrible states of disrepair. Wi-fi in most hotels is so slow that I would do chores while waiting for web pages to load. Khanna spends quite a bit of time talking about Singapore and southeast China, but those are and have for years been exceptions. Khanna is absolutely right to point that the developing world is becoming more connected, but the book overstates its point.

    Overall, like Tom Friedman's earlier books, this is one of those rare books that really has the potential to reshape how you see the world. If you can tolerate some of the hyperbole, it's definitely worth a read. I also recommend checking out Parag Khanna's recent TED Talk on the subject:

    [NOTE: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review]

  • Joshua Bowen

    REALLY helped me challenge many long-standing assumptions about the future of humans, politics, and boundaries. Definitely opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities in the realms of courses of action that I didn’t even think realistic (the actual degradation and possible eradication of political-boundary maps for example). Fascinating. Helped better shape thoughts on possible futures.

  • Murtaza

    This is an optimistic take on globalization, which argues that infrastructure investment and connectivity is the key to unlocking the full potential of societies. As Khanna argues (fairly persuasively, in my own opinion), globalization is generally a positive, but its benefits have not yet been extended to everyone. Physically connecting people, resources and telecommunications allows the possibility of opportunity and dignity to be extended broadly. Isolation, whether individually or within pol

    This is an optimistic take on globalization, which argues that infrastructure investment and connectivity is the key to unlocking the full potential of societies. As Khanna argues (fairly persuasively, in my own opinion), globalization is generally a positive, but its benefits have not yet been extended to everyone. Physically connecting people, resources and telecommunications allows the possibility of opportunity and dignity to be extended broadly. Isolation, whether individually or within political borders, on the other hand stifles people and prevents

    I first picked up the book after reading a few of his essays on the enduring importance of cities to human societies. Cities have been around since the dawn of civilization and endure today, while nation-states are a recent and perhaps transitory phenomenon. Khanna envisions a world divided into UAE-like city-states, which he sees an optimal size for both management and competitiveness. The absence of imperial leviathans would also make major wars less likely and incentive cooperation and trade among city-states to help integrate their own economies across borders. Its also a lot easier to identify with a diverse megacity than a giant, incomprehensible and contradictory "nation". Cities are human scale, and I've noticed how enthusiastically people have responded to this argument from him. In this light, city-alliances and networks are really interesting as an organic, sub-state level form of diplomacy and international organization.

    Back in the day, maps used to be something more like guidelines to the imagination. For instance they'd contain things like mermaids and dragons and would offer only the vaguest suggestion of directions or territorial outlines. Maps have changed since then, but our normal one is a jigsaw puzzle of modern political boundaries. This map too has become completely antiquated however. As Khanna argues, really beautifully in my opinion, maps should rather be functional rather than political and should show where natural resources, megacities, high-speed transit, pipelines and other things that make human civilization possible are. By doing so we can have a proper image of our species as urbanizing and coastal-based, and can see where the things we actually need to live are located on the planet. Political maps with the old borders are hopelessly quaint at this point and don't tell us much, especially if (as trends suggest) we're trying to build a global society rather than ossify into our existing divisions.

    This book is packed with interesting facts and anecdotes. Its clearly one of those books where the author loaded every interesting thing they'd read or heard in the past few years into the text. Some of the best stuff was his observation that thanks to the internet decentralized "networks" are now warring against nations the way nations once warred against empires, the idea of global passports linked to biometric data instead of citizenship (the fact that I found it interesting is not an endorsement by the way), and the impact of SEZ's on developing countries. There are also just incredible statistics, such as the the fact that Silk Road China-to-Europe rail transit has exploded from 2,500 containers in 2012 to an estimated 7.5M by the end of the decade(!!) and that in 30 out of 50 states in the United States the most prominent job is truck driving (what will that mean when automation comes?)

    This is definitely a "Rise of Asia" book, although he predicts a meaningful role for the United States in the coming century, particularly if it invests in infrastructure and human capital. He clearly is a fan of the Singapore model and some of the stuff he likes will be anathema to Western democrats, as he doesn't seem to care as much about "democracy" as prosperity and dignity. I find the idea of a world where citizenship is devalued in favor of corporate and supply-chain dynamics to be troubling, but I am also a privileged person who lives in a relatively responsive state. I've seen for myself how many people around the world are willing to trade their useless governments for corporations that at least offer the prospect of a livelihood, and oftentimes even healthcare, security and other benefits.

    I could go on and on, its a really interesting book. I almost didn't read it because of a scathing New York Times review by another author, but in retrospect that take was petulant and unwarranted. As someone who absolutely despises books that are full of self-important business jargon, I can confidently say that this one is not. It can be somewhat dense at times, but at those moments you can see that its just because he's trying to tell you a lot. This is an optimistic book and useful read for anyone. Its full of great historical facts and contemporary statistics, but is most useful for offering a largely coherent vision of a world of cities rather than states, connected infrastructure and functional maps. Anyone who says something new or bold should expect to take some slings, but in my humble opinion this is a great book that offers a plausible outline for a hopeful future.

  • Rob Woodbridge

    I really enjoyed this book. It is dense but the macro concepts are so important. In a nutshell: Man-made borders are not as important as man-made supply chains. Nation building within man-made borders is not as important as group affinity - think along the lines of "I'm a Google'r" vs "I'm Canadian". Overall a really great read to understand how connectivity is the juice for the next generation.

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    A book chock full of stats on globalization, disintegrating borders, flows of peoples and goods, connectivity, supply chains, megalopolis, and emerging trading blocks and new silk roads. Lavishly illustrated and full of info on the way things are changing and where things may be headed.

  • Ana

    Connectography aims to explain how supply chains are more important than borders, and how the world is rapidly moving into an era of interconnectedness that we haven't seen before. As well as making it very clear that all societies will have to conform and adapt to globalization, it brings arguments for why globalization is actually a good thing, rather than a bad one. A very interesting read for anyone interested in how our world might look in 50 to 100 years.

  • Tristan

    On the whole I enjoyed this book with a few major caveats. The overarching message is simply that connectivity is paramount when it comes to increasing wealth and quality of life. In a connected world people are more mobile with more options for employment, and are thus better able to improve their well-being. At the same time, when supply chains are globalized, there is more redundancy built into the system which provides more overall stability. Khanna makes the argument that supply chains, inf

    On the whole I enjoyed this book with a few major caveats. The overarching message is simply that connectivity is paramount when it comes to increasing wealth and quality of life. In a connected world people are more mobile with more options for employment, and are thus better able to improve their well-being. At the same time, when supply chains are globalized, there is more redundancy built into the system which provides more overall stability. Khanna makes the argument that supply chains, infrastructure, and digital connectivity are ultimately more important than national borders and promoting the development of these will provide more long term benefit to individuals and global stability than doubling down on border controls and isolationist policies. A connected world results in more cooperation and interdependence between nations, corporations, and individuals, leading to more stability by replacing war with a supply chain “tug-of-war”. His argument for infrastructure focused investment in poorer countries as a path out of poverty and towards stability, by increasing their connectivity and role in the global supply chain, was especially convincing.

    Despite agreeing with the book's primary message, there are two areas where the book falls flat. Firstly, I cannot agree with Khanna’s overtly pro-capitalism stance as a way towards his world vision. For example, he argues for standard neoliberal strategies such as slashing corporate taxes to benefit society as a whole, and presents removing regulations to encourage free trade as having no downsides. He also tries to present inequality as not necessarily being bad, even going so far as to say there is both good and bad inequality, which just sounds more like he is trying to justify the west's privilege and exploitation of underdeveloped nations. Connectivity doesn't imply neoliberalism, and in fact, as Paul Mason argues in

    , increased connectivity may actually be its downfall.

    The second major aspect of the book which was incredibly irksome was that Khanna presents climate change as a threat which can mostly be ignored, despite explicitly detailing what the consequences of ignoring it will be. This led to some cognitive dissonance in reading parts of his book: in one paragraph he will be talking about how coastal cities will be under water by the year 2100 and there will be massive desertification in equatorial regions, and in the next paragraph he’ll be promoting fracking and the construction of more pipelines to service an ever increasing demand for oil. As Naomi Klein explains in her book

    , we cannot continue to extract and burn the world's remaining oil and gas reserves without catastrophic consequences, and given that Khanna seems to at least somewhat understand this, some of his writing was rather self-conflicting.

    Despite these shortcomings, the book offers a convincing vision of a globally connected world, albeit one which cannot be achieved exactly as outlined. Rather than continuing to build pipelines and refineries as means to enhance connectivity and for poorer nations to move up the value chain, investment into renewable energy and a more extensive electricity grid would provide the same (or greater) benefit without the adverse environmental impacts. Infrastructure can, and should, be built without the exploitation and inequality that Khanna presents as unavoidable. In the end I would recommend this book, for the globally connected and borderless world presented is an enticing prospect, even though I cannot agree with some of his suggestions for how to get there.

  • Maria

    Connectivity is the most revolutionary force of the twenty-first century. Infrastructure in roads, cell phones, internet and other forms of connection are the key to pushing nations up the supply chain and into prosperity. Physical maps show borders, but we also need to redraw them to reflect the flow of currency, products and people.

    Why I started this book: Professional Reading title with an audio edition... I'm working my way thru the list.

    Why I finished it: Khanna is v

    Connectivity is the most revolutionary force of the twenty-first century. Infrastructure in roads, cell phones, internet and other forms of connection are the key to pushing nations up the supply chain and into prosperity. Physical maps show borders, but we also need to redraw them to reflect the flow of currency, products and people.

    Why I started this book: Professional Reading title with an audio edition... I'm working my way thru the list.

    Why I finished it: Khanna is verbose and this book was dense. And it was a difficult book to rate, I enjoyed listening to it but I think that many of Khanna's ideas were contradictory, optimistic and a few are flat wrong. At times he was arguing that it was only governments that could protect consumers, then it was the international corporations, and then it was the consumers themselves that had to hold the other two accountable. Plus the argument that trading partners don't go to war, was the same argument that pacifists used before WWI... I think that we can all agree that WWI was a long and protracted war between the two trading partners Germany and England.

    Khanna favored the metaphor of a tug-of-war... but I think that a spiderweb would have been better. Not every thread or connection is strong enough on its own... but together it's strength can hold the future that we want to build. And if something does tear thru; natural disasters, wars or plagues, the remaining strands can hold enough to work around and rebuild the broken parts.

  • John Newbery

    I’ve just finished reading Parag Khanna’s

    . It’s comfortably the most disappointing book I’ve read for a long time. As a committed open borders and free trade kind of guy, I was expecting to lap this up. Parag’s main theme is that humanity is becoming more connected and that the supply chain will overtake the nation state as the main organizing mode of society. I agree with him up to a point and I was hoping for some insights and analysis into what that actually means, but sadly the book is deepl

    I’ve just finished reading Parag Khanna’s

    . It’s comfortably the most disappointing book I’ve read for a long time. As a committed open borders and free trade kind of guy, I was expecting to lap this up. Parag’s main theme is that humanity is becoming more connected and that the supply chain will overtake the nation state as the main organizing mode of society. I agree with him up to a point and I was hoping for some insights and analysis into what that actually means, but sadly the book is deeply flawed on many levels and doesn’t offer anything original on the subject.

    Probably the most infuriating of those flaws is Parag’s clumsy and strained metaphors. Here’s an example from late in the book “Supply chains literally embody how we (indirectly)

    each other”. Notice the unliteral literal modifier, the embodying/feeling double act, the parenthasized indirectly and italicized feel. There’s a lot going on in that sentence, and I’m not sure if any of it actually means anything. Even more irritating is Parag’s overarching metaphor of tug-of-war for supply chain competition which he uses throughout the book. Here he is introducing the metaphor in Chapter 6:

    In case it’s not obvious, tug-of-war is a horrible analogy for competition in a connected supply chain world. Let’s count the reasons why:

    1. Tug-of-war is a zero-sum game. For every meter that one team gains, the other team loses a meter. If one team is victorious, the other team has lost. Trade is not zero-sum. For trade to happen there need to be gains on both sides. Every time a trade is executed, economic surplus is created. Sure, there can be losers, for example if my competitor undercuts me and I lose a sale, but that sale has still brought economic benefit to the buyer and seller. Any comparison of trade to a ‘war’ or a ‘sport’ is misleading and dangerous.

    2. Tug-of-war has two teams. Connectivity and trade in the 21st century have ~7 billion participants. Each of those participants has her own motives, preferences and aims, and each one in their own way is attempting to improve their circumstances. Trying to expain the latter by way of the former is not at all illuminating.

    3. Teams in tug-of-war have almost entirely aligned incentives and motivations. Humans within countries, communities or companies don’t.

    Analogies exist to bring clarity to a new concept by comparing it with something with which we’re already familiar. Parag’s ‘tug-of-war’ brings no illumination or clarification to the concept of a hyper-connected world.

    Parag’s shortcomings as an author don’t stop at the use of the inappropriate analogy. Sometimes the writing is fist-clenchingly awful, especially towards the end of the book, where it feels like the editor must have dozed off. For example: “Internet data can be replicated infinitely and exist in multiple places at the same time. Additionally it can be rerouted or smuggled “in” to its destination, while the receiver has the ability to come “out” as well to access it.“ What does it mean for the receiver to come “out” as well to access it.“? Who knows? I don’t, and I’ve worked in telecoms and networking for many years. Here’s another: “Connectivity brings individuals the choice to belong to other places than those they do or to have loyalty to multiple places at the same time.” To belong to other places than those they do? Those they do what? Again, who knows?

    Along with the sloppy writing, there are places where Parag is just wrong, or clearly doesn’t really know what he’s talking about and is just throwing buzzwords around. For example, chapter 14 covers technology and the internet and is strewn with inaccuracies and errors:

    - “Google began as a web browser but has become a global data utility.” Not true – Google began as a search engine and became an advertising channel.

    - “Data centres have now become lucrative real estate. The physical footprint of digital empires has certainly jacked up the cost of living in San Francisco.” Wrong again. An influx of affluent young workers, a limited supply of new land, and a very regulated housing market have jacked up the cost of living in San Francisco, not a bunch of servers. Server farms are more likely to be located in regions with cheap land, labour and energy.

    - “Bitcoin began as a niche cryptocurrency, but people increasingly live off it in the “real” world; if it acquires a banking license to issue credit, it could outmanoeuvre banks in reaching the bottom billions.“ Bitcoin is a decentralized network. There is no “it” to acquire a banking license. ‘Bitcoin’ acquiring a license is a bit like someone suing the ‘Internet’. There’s no there there.

    - “ISPs, the current backbone of the internet, prefer self-management and self-regulation to heavy state involvement” is a wildly over-reaching statement. The biggest ISPs in most countries are incumbents and state entities. Who likes regulation? Incumbents and state entities.

    - “China also demanded that software sales within the country include backdoor access to source codes.” It’s almost as if Parag has heard the words “back door” and “source code” and tried to make a sentence out of them. It comes very close to making sense, but not quite.

    - “Subjected to restrictions on online speech and data security violations, citizens mobilize not just on the internet but for their right of unfettered access to it, shifting their data to new Google, Amazon, or other services safeguarded from government intrusion just as Chinese and Russian citizens move their cash abroad. (Amazon revenues from Web services now equal those from e-commerce). Alongside the Web and the Deep Web, there will also be a “Safe Web”. The cloud may indeed prove to be safer than the ground.“ – again, Parag is confusing different concepts here. What does the fact that Amazon Web Services is the largest part of Amazon have to do with online data security? Who knows? Parag certainly doesn’t seem to.

    And that gets to the nub of the the problem. Parag throws around big words and name drops important thinkers without really explaining what that has to do with his argument. For example, in chapter 14, Parag talks about how the internet is everywhere and declares that “In the quest to compute more data faster than ever, scientists are applying the principles of quantum entanglement and superpositioning to multiply the capacity of photons to transmit data.” Yes, it’s true that scientists and engineers are working on quantum computers, but what does that mean for the thesis? I don’t know, and the feeling I get is that Parag doesn’t either, but wants to use impressive sounding words. Even more infuriating is the academic name-dropping. Here’s a typical example: “Economists such as Ronald Coase sought to determine the optimal size of firms to reduce transaction costs in carrying out certain functions efficiently. Today’s network structures that leverage growing frictionless connectivity shatter previous assumptions by expanding in scale without commensurate growth in size.” It’s true that Coase wrote a very influential paper about the nature of the firm in 1937 that tries to explain why firms exist and how large they grow in terms of their marginal external (transaction) costs and internal (organizational) costs. How Coase’s theory of the firm applies to today’s connected world with its rapidly tumbling transaction costs is a fascinating topic, but not one Parag wants to explore. He’s happy to drop the name into a paragraph, demonstrate his learnedness and move on. It’s the same for the hundreds of other quotes in the book. No context, explanation or discussion of what the person in question thought, just an opportunity for Parag to demonstrate that he’s read books and listened to TED talks.

    Another serious problem with the book is the naiveté of its argument, and its vast simplifications. Parag treats countries as if they are individual entities, and assumes that the government of the country is always acting in the best interests of its citizens. We know that’s not the case for many, if not all, governments.

    And then there are the statements that stand out as just plain wrong. Here’s one: “In the early years of the twenty first century, antiglobalization activists descended by the thousands on international summits …. Today we know they were wrong, and so do they. That’s why the protests stopped.” The protests haven’t stopped, and in fact the United Kingdom’s elites have recently been caught off guard by the people protesting against movement of people and free trade in the most devastating way. 52% of the voting population elected to drop the UK out of the world’s largest trading bloc, in part because of fears of globalization and control of borders. In the United States, there’s a very real chance that the next president will be someone who promises to build a wall along the Mexican border and halt trade with China. Across Europe, extreme parties who vow to close borders and role back globalization are growing in popularity.

    That’s the problem with Khanna’s thesis. He presents the march of history as inevitable, and the arguments as won. He explains “The global division of labor thus makes everyone better off, by creating jobs in poor countries, reducing prices in rich ones, and expanding choice for all.” which is clearly not true. Trade surely makes many people better off, but as David Autor has pointed out in his paper The China Syndrome, economists have consistently underestimated the costs on local economies when they open up to increased globalization. The labour economy is not as flexible as we’d like to imagine, and the costs of losing low-skilled jobs is therefore much higher than we’d hope. The march towards freedom of movement and freedom of trade is not inevitable, and the progress we’ve made so far could easily be reversed by a rising wave of nativism and populism. Khanna choses to ignore this.

    Overall, a very disappointing book.

  • Steve

    The unfulfilled promise of this book ultimately led me to rate it so poorly. I love the concept, the idea of exploring connections between myriad people and places and integrating them with actual maps - a natural fit for exploring connected/geographic data - all to provide some insight to how the future might unfold. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea fell far short of where I thought it could have gone.

    I wanted to give up on this book, but I gutted it out solely because ther

    The unfulfilled promise of this book ultimately led me to rate it so poorly. I love the concept, the idea of exploring connections between myriad people and places and integrating them with actual maps - a natural fit for exploring connected/geographic data - all to provide some insight to how the future might unfold. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea fell far short of where I thought it could have gone.

    I wanted to give up on this book, but I gutted it out solely because there were a lot of interesting tidbits throughout. I feel like I learned a lot about worldwide issues, economics, and strategies but more through a torrent of trivia than a unified essay. Because of the sheer quantity of facts (or perhaps opinions masquerading as facts) I almost wanted to give this another star, but I just expected more from this book and the author.

    In an effort to spend little more time on this book, I will just give a brief outline of my dislikes from this book. In summary, there were three main problems with this book: 1. lack of clear, convincing arguments, 2. poor use/integration of the inset maps, and 3. the feeling that this was a derivative work.

    There were many discussions about expanding globalization into an increasingly connected world, hence connectography. The reasons and ramifications of this connected world are explored from various angles like resource management, technology, and trade zones, but there is little attempt at fitting a cohesive narrative to bring it all together (except, I guess, that everything is connected). When drilling into any particular exploration, Parag Khanna presents long chains of anecdotal evidence and various hypotheses generated from very loose facts and does nothing to defend his positions from alternative explanations. While I do not doubt Khanna's scholarship and detailed knowledge of many of the areas of this book, I simply do not believe a reasonable effort was made to convince curious readers.

    The maps were a massive disappointment. Many of them were densely packed with information, but it was sometimes hard to tease out what the main lessons of each map. Visual analytics is a difficult area to master, and so I don't really ding the author for any shortcomings there. What I do hold the author/editor responsible for is integrating the maps into the book. They just sort of hang out in space out away from the main text - their only direct connection was a fleeting reference in the beginning of each chapter. The reader is basically left to consult the maps as they see fit, but given the extra draw and expense of including them, their inclusion just seems like a gimmick to get people who like maps to buy the book.

    Parag Khanna has authored a few books on very similar subjects prior to Connectography. I don't go into a book thinking that an author will completely change their direction between books, but I do expect a new thesis to be developed (in a non-fiction book). In this case, given the loose construction of topics and seemingly arbitrary - though non-stop - factoids, I developed the feeling that this book was constructed of the leftovers from the others. I started feeling that way about 15 pages in, and I was unable to shake the feeling throughout the rest of the book.

    Despite the one star review, please don't think this is the worst book I have ever read. The writing was generally clear, if a bit verbose, and it was educational, especially for readers with a less than expert grasp on geopolitics, but I believe it is but a shadow of idea this could have been. I think Parag Khanna has and can do much better, but I'm not sure I'll revisit the author any time soon.

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