The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape
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The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The world is not as mobile or as interconnected as we like to think. As Harm de Blij argues in The Power of Place, in crucial ways--from the uneven distribution of natural resources to the unequal availability of opportunity--geography continues to hold billions of people in its grip. We are all born into natural and cultural environments that shape what we become, individ...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 11th 2008 by OUP USA (first published June 20th 2008)
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De Blij a naturalized American, who was born in the Netherlands, is a Professor of Geography at Michigan State. He is the author of many articles and books including Why Geography Matters. For seven years he was the geography editor for ABC's Good Morning America.

The objective of The Power of Place is to partially refute Friedman's The Earth is Flat. De Blij's point is that all people are not favorably affected by globalization because they do not live in the right place or because of many other...more
I really wanted to like this book. I was very put off by Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat," and judging by the title - The Power of Place - I thought I would find the perfect rejoinder in this book.

(If you want a good rejoinder, read this PDF: )

All that said, I was supremely disappointed by the book. I can't say I learned anything from it. The most interesting parts of the books were the occasional maps; outside that, I don't think de Blij adds much t...more
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I really like the basic premise of this book, that geographical factors of various kinds make the world "rough" rather than "flat" for the vast majority of people. The author provides good examples and the maps really brought the concepts across well. I'm troubled by the author's somewhat sly hostility toward religion. WHile I can agree that violent and/or deeply intolerant religious ideas do much to make the place a more dangerous place, I think the author puts too much emphasis on the problems...more
This book answers the question to which extent progress, economy and culture depend on geographical factors. The main message of the book: Yes, even in a globalized, interconnected world our geographical situation greatly determines our individual opportunities regarding wealth, education, health and freedom. Even more, today's world is strictly divided into the affluent core which are the industrialized/OECD countries and the fringe (developing countries). Addressing topics such as race, gender...more
Steve Wiggins
The world is not flat. A geographer knows! This is a very sensible approach to the many inequalities that remain unaddressed in our world. A sobering book. More thoughts: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
John Grange
De Blij certainly debunked, albeit not very aggressively, the "world is flat" narrative surrounding globalization and international affairs. However the book lacked the depth and scholarship necessary to provide an adequate intellectual foundation for its premise. I also felt the prescriptions for the world's globalization-induced ailments were somewhat obvious and lacked novelty. Overall, I enjoyed the aspect of it that was more-or-less a survey of the global geopolitical environment. The maps,...more
My husband made me read this because he's a huge fan of De Blij. Frankly, the overall argument was nothing new to me, and I agree with it. It was backed up with a litany of facts (sometimes it reads like a list), some facts new to me, some not. The writing style is pretty dry and academic. Since he's a geographer, he deals mainly in generalizations, which is sometimes annoying to me since my academic background is anthropology. But, if you're a "facts junkie" like my husband, you'll like it.
John Wyss
3.5 I liked this book, it had a lot of interesting ideas. I rated it lower because it was a little disjointed. Each chapter was like its own vignette, which would be fine except there wasn't a really strong thesis tying everything together. yes, the fact that place matters, and will continue to matter, is the central idea; it just wasn't as strong as it could be.
Written as a reminder that the world is not flat, "The Power of Place" makes a convincing argument. However, while the book contains much data and many factoids, the narrative fails to elicit emotional or visceral responses to it's many good points. The writing tends to be dry and is devoid of anecdotes which could draw the reader closer to its subject matter.
It was really fun to read a geography book again. I remembered why I loved the outlook of this discipline. deBlij was a geographer when I was so he must be older than the hills, but his writing was so intelligent and his reasoning so clear that I was amazed. I learned new things and remembered old things. Nice.
The premise of the book is that while globalization is in fact happening, it hasn't had any positive effect on the vast majority of humanity. It describes in detail how most peoples' lives are still laregly determined by the place they were born. Interesting, but dry and pessimistic.
great primer for geography learners, funny, compassionate, and up-to-date. you WILL need a magnifying glass for some of the maps though. Blows friedman's "world is flat" out of the water, read this by de blij instead of that bestseller drivel.
I wish I could give this 2 and 1/2 stars because certain parts were boring, certain parts were okay, but other parts were really interesting. But when I considered the book as a whole, I could only give it two stars.
I will admit, it was funny at some points. He was clever, insightful, and interesting. But the overall message of the book (facts and graphs aside) is not something we should have not figured out already on our own.
This is a GREAT read for public health folks and those that have an interest in infectious disease. The chapter on religion is brilliant. Highly recommended.
Jon Young
I enjoyed the earlier chapters and the one on cities and globalization the most. I basically read this to get facts on geography and big-picture political climates.
An answer to Friedman's The World is Flat arguing that there are many natural, social, cultual barriers which still divide the world's citizens.
A decent book about globalization. I don't really agree with his thesis though. Its also a little cynical.
Recommend it for understanding of international events, and business
Interesting book, see Oxonian review piece on it.
Polly Callahan
Oct 02, 2012 Polly Callahan marked it as finish-later
Shelves: geography
read to page 74
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Jul 25, 2014
Charan Sihota
Charan Sihota marked it as to-read
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Harm J. de Blij (see IJ (digraph); closest pronunciation: "duh blay") is a geographer. He is a former geography editor on ABC's Good Morning America. He is a former editor of National Geographic magazine and the author of several books, including Why Geography Matters.

Dr. de Blij is a Distinguished Professor of Geography at Michigan State University. He has held the George Landegger Chair in Georg...more
More about H.J. de Blij...
Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America: Climate Change, the Rise of China, and Global Terrorism Why Geography Matters, More Than Ever Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture Realms, Regions and Concepts, 13th Edition Wiley/National Geographic College Atlas of the World

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