Quiz-discussion guide [pdf]

    UCSB Libraries         UCSB Reads


Change begins with learning . . .


Rivoli, Pietra. The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: an Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
In the Davidson Library: HD9969.S6 R58 2005
As a downloadable audio book, or in print, available through the Santa Barabara Public Library System
And at the Santa Barbara City College Luria Library: 382 R626t
Also available at a 25% discount at the UCSB Bookstore

Table of Contents

Publisher's notes (Wiley):

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: an Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade takes the reader on a fascinating, around-the-world journey to reveal the economic and political lessons from the life story of a simple t-shirt. Over five years, business professor Pietra Rivoli traveled from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory to a used clothing market in Africa, to investigate compelling questions about the politics, economics, ethics, and history of modern business and globalization. Using the story of the t-shirt to illustrate the major issues of the globalization debate, this uniquely entertaining business book offers a surprising, enlightening, and balanced look at one of the major topics of our time.

  • Business Book of the Year 2005, Finalist
  • AAP Awards for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing, 2006

Quiz-discussion guide to The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy [pdf file]
Prepared by John P. Catalini, Lecturer, UCSB Writing Program

The World in a T-Shirt     A series presented on National Public Radio in April 2005.
"In a three-part report inspired by the book The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli, NPR's Adam Davidson examines what a simple T-shirt can teach us about globalization and its impact on our everyday lives."

Reviewer comments:

"It brings history and economics in an enjoyable way . . . " (Financial Times, 21 September 2005)

". . . a fine account of how the countervailing forces of the market and protectionism conflict in combining in a single product . . . " (Financial Times, 30 July 2005)

"Rarely is a business book so well written that one would gladly stay up all night to finish it..." (CIO: Chief Information Officer Magazine, 15 June 2005)

"Globalization is a hot-button topic that generates strong feelings along with images of boarded-up, independent businesses in America and exploitative sweatshops overseas. But what exactly is it? In The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, Georgetown University business professor Pietra Rivoli chronicles the round-the-world odyssey of a T-shirt, from Texas cotton-growers to an African used-clothing bazaar, to reveal how the planetary economy really works. Along the way, we see how entrepreneurial U.S. farmers team with government-sponsored researchers--and take advantage of subsidies and trade barriers--to dominate world cotton production. Migrant workers from Chinese family farms tell why they regard low-wage jobs in Shanghai sewing factories as golden opportunities. And only in that African used-clothing bazaar do we encounter a truly free market where entrepreneurs--perhaps including some future tycoons of the 21st century--utterly rely on pure business skills and instinct. Whether you feel hurt or helped by globalization, you'll certainly understand it better after reading this fascinating account." (Entrepreneur Magazine, May 2005

"Engrossing . . . (Rivoli) goes wherever the t-shirt goes and there are surprises around every corner . . . full of memorable characters and vivid scenes . . . Rivoli excels at making connections." (Time Magazine, 28 March 2005)

"The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is an excellent piece of work - a thorough, lucid and (best of all) honest examination of how politics and economics intertwine in the real world." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Her nuanced and fair-minded approach is all the more powerful for eschewing the pretense of ideological absolutism, and her telescopic look through a single industry has all the makings of an economics classic." (New York Times)

". . . Succeeds admirably . . . T-shirts may not have changed the world, but this story is a useful account of how free trade and protectionism certainly have." (Financial Times)

". . . a fascinating exploration of the history, economics and politics of world trade . . . The Travels of a T-Shirt is a thought-provoking yarn that exhibits the ugly, the bad and the good of globalization, and points to the unintended positive consequences of the clash between the proponents and opponents of free trade." (Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

". . . a readable and evenhanded treatment of the complexities of world trade . . . As Rivoli repeatedly makes clear, there is absolutely nothing free about free trade except the slogan." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Page maintained by: "UCSB Reads" Library Committee.
Last modified: 02/22/08