Welcome back to the CEO Book Club! Ajay Patel, CEO of SMA, reads a wide variety of books and this week he is reading “The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World” by Tim Marshall, published in 2021. What are these ten maps? Think for a second before Ajay discusses the specific maps. Consider the quote from W. B. Yeats in the introduction –The Second Coming, “The falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” Which current maps are falling apart?
“I have always been interested in Geography as a subject and studying maps are among my favorite pastime—particularly older maps. Geography as a stand-alone subject was still a part of my curriculum during school. My classrooms were full of rotating globes that I could endlessly spin, and colorful pull-down large maps of the world that interested all students. This was the era before the computer age and the internet, and, well-before globalization”, Ajay remarks.
“This book attracted my attention because the author is a highly respected expert on the topic of how geography affects international security and economic development. The author offers a fresh and critical perspective on many commonly held beliefs during the era of globalization. This book is particularly insightful now as the era of globalization wanes and a future multi-polar world emerges” remarks Ajay. Plus, with a bit of humor, Ajay said “I travel a lot, plenty of time to read on the plane!”
Ajay was surprised and delighted with Marshall’s discussion throughout the book—who combines a rich historical perspective on specific countries and regions that have significant challenges ahead and thus “reveals the future of our world.” The ten maps of geopolitical hotspots are Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, The United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey, The Sahel, Ethiopia, Spain, and Space. Marshall’s discussion of Space is particularly interesting with an eye to the coming decades of the commercial and geopolitical development of the universe. Geography does rule. Who has access to fresh water, mountains with minerals, deserts with oil, rivers, and oceans for travel, commerce, and protection? Tim Marshall reminds us that geography whether on the Earth or in Space will continue to define our futures.