Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Prize

I remember one of my teachers at school telling me that he had once done a historical study of sheep farming in the 15th century. Sounded very dull to me - not enough car chases. Let's face it, it probably was very dull, but what if it wasn't?

What if there was something about sheep farming in the 15th century that was absolutely fascinating? Gripping, even? Imagine that.

Well, now I want to tell you about something else that sounds almost as dull as a history of sheep farming in the 15th century. You're going to have to trust me when I say that it's one of the most gripping books I've ever read. (It's also one of the longest - I've been reading it since September.)

It's called The Prize, and it's a history of the oil industry from the middle of the 19th century all the way up to the first Gulf War. There - told you it sounded dull.

But it's riveting. It completely changed the way I think about the major events of the past 100 years - and the way of the world today. It also taught me a lot about business. (An added bonus was that it almost enabled me to understand what was going on in 'Syriana' - almost.)

It's by Daniel Yergin, and you'll find it here. If you're ever going to spend time alone on a desert island, I recommend it.

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