Customer Reviews: The Adventure Capitalist: Camels, Carpets and Coffee: How Face-to-face Trade is the New Economics
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on March 3, 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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on October 26, 2012
The background of Woodman's story is fairly simple. Woodman worked as an analyst in an American investment firm in London, enjoying a high income and living in a trendy apartment. After the 2008 credit crisis, he realized he wanted more from life. And so he decided to travel the world in order to see with his own eyes how trade really works in the real world.

Woodman started his journey in Sudan, where he tries to buy camels and later on sell them in Egypt. His journey takes him to various countries while trading in a variety of different merchandise, such as tea, fish, surfboards, timber, wine, horses. Ultimately, he wants to achieve the goal of doubling his $50K through simple trading of buying products in country A and selling them in country B, while at the same time learning how trade is conducted on the ground. Woodman's experiences are often hilarious and always entertaining. The writing is lucid and light, which makes "Around the World in 80 Trades" a highly enjoyable adventure book.
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on May 19, 2013
I enjoyed this book, although I was really hoping for a bit more of an experience.

One thing that distracted me from the story was that a blatant mistake was made in identifying one of the South Africa rugby teams, quite early on in the book. This cast a doubt for me on any of the other facts mentioned.
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on May 19, 2011
How do people operate in an ancient commodity market, and how does this compare with the harsh world of corporate finance? These were some of the questions that set young economist Conor Woodman out on his adventure that is described in this book. The task he set himself involved travelling round the world trading goods, with the aim of increasing an initial cash pool of £25,000 to £50,000.

The trades which the author attempts include buying and selling a carpet in Marrakech, trading camels in Sudan, buying coffee in Zambia and selling it in South Africa, buying chilli sauce in South Africa and selling it in India, buying wine in South Africa and selling it in China, trading horses in Kyrgyzstan, buying jade in China for sale in Taiwan, buying surfboards in China for sale in Mexico, buying tea in Taiwan for sale in Japan, buying tequila in Mexico for sale in Brazil, and buying FSC-certified wood in Brazil for sale in England.

There are plenty of adventures along the way, and at each stop we get to learn a bit about a country and how the often ancient markets work. The author succeeds in demonstrating that there is still money to be made from purchasing commodities in one country and selling them in another, provided that the trader is prepared to assume substantial risks and take a firm negotiating stance. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although I suspect that not many readers will be giving up their day jobs to become international commodity traders.
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on April 1, 2012
An ingenious and easy to read book, blending travel stories with economics and trading in local markets around the world. Trading was the main reason for traveling in the past. With the expansion of tourism the perspective changed. By presenting a multitude of local markets from coffee in Kenya and carpets in Marocco, to wine in South Africa and tea in Taiwan, the book sheds a different light on the underlying economics of the local communities. The underlying economic activities shape the society and can justify differences in the local behaviors around the world. After reading the book one will look differently at the places and human activities while traveling for tourism.
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on June 4, 2016
I enjoyed reading about the author's unique adventure. Makes you think twice if sitting in an office all your life is the best thing to do :)
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on April 14, 2015
Not inside a hermetically sealed air conditioned $100,000 custom made luxury Mercedes, followed by a second security car and camera car!
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on July 15, 2010
I may have misjudged this book in some ways. I bought it and read it as a travel book rather than an insight into trading and the new world economy. As such it was readable but I did not find it very interesting possibly because the locations are backdrops to the authors trading rather than to purpose of the journey. The book kept me reading to see how each trade would work out but it was not really my type of book at bottom.
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