Review: Trading Places
Tim Harcourt, JW Nevile Fellow of Economics at the University of New South Wales Business School, combines great perception and intelligence with a friendly and approachable personality, so it should not be a surprise that “Trading Places: The Airport Economist’s Guide to International Business” manages to be a very enjoyable read, while imparting a mine of information.
This is a book that every Australian business person engaged in international business – or considering it – should read. The book is designed as a guide for Australian SMEs, and provides a whirlwind tour of the globe, touching on 33 countries and regions. Harcourt provides stats and insights on each as well as valuable contact information. But the book is more than that. Relating his own observations and making them relevant to the Australian reader, Harcourt brings each country to life and personalises the locations, as well as providing a shrewd analysis on the way. Indeed, he has lived up to his moniker “The Airport Economist” by visiting each of these places and spending time with academics, leading business figures, trade unionists and politicians. This has given him a unique perspective to complement his economic work.
Emma Alberici of “Nightline” provides a ringing endorsement: “If you ever wanted to know anything about Australia’s international trade relationships but feared you’d be bored to death reading, fear no more.” This reviewer agrees wholeheartedly. Obviously, covering 30+ countries in around 400 pages means that the book does not provide in-depth analysis of each market – but it really is a great place to start, and this is exactly what the book is designed to provide.
From the viewpoint of someone who has lived and worked in many markets across Asia Pacific over a long period of time, the points the Airport Economist makes on each market resonated, and the comments on other parts of the world inspired new thoughts about these markets.
The chapter titles are certainly light-hearted – this reader admits to a couple of groans along with the smiles – and the tone is upbeat, but the content is well worth the time spent reading it. As a fresh, readable and Australian perspective on the opportunities out there, this is a great book.