Tag Archives: Pietra Rivoli

Book Review: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli (3/5)

3 Dec

A friend recommended this book to me as a passing comment at a party in 2015. I don’t think he ever thought I’d read it almost five years later. I haven’t seen him in a few years so I don’t know if I’ll ever have a chance to talk to him about it. I’m still glad I read this, though.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade by Pietra Rivoli

Summary from Goodreads:

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy 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.

I liked parts of this book but it dragged for me as a whole. If it had been boiled down a bit, I would have been gripped a bit more. I thought the cotton subsidies and the history of it in America were interesting. I thought the livelihood that women in China could earn because of t-shirt production was interesting and I liked the stories about how it affected their lives. The history of quotas and imports to the US and how they’ve been used politically was interesting and I was most fascinated about the second-hand clothing market in Africa. So yes, that’s most of the book, but there was still a bit too much in it. Some topics were explored to death while others were hinted at or glossed over. I guess overall it was just a bit too much detail. I liked it when Rivoli talked about her travels to see the t-shirts and what had become of them, but I was less interested in her research.

Rivoli paints a very realistic picture of some of the people in a t-shirt’s life. I liked the political activist best (forgive me for forgetting names, it’s been over a month). Someone who fights for politicians to keep to their word is admirable, even if I don’t agree with his political stance. I liked how he knew he was fighting a losing battle but did it for the people remaining who cared.

I liked how Rivoli talked about the student who inspired her to research this project. A student at a protest accused other attendants of wearing clothing made in sweatshops in the third world. While it may have been true, Rivoli wanted to see where t-shirts came from. I bet I’m sometimes guilty of the same thing as that student and spewing accusations I’m not 100% certain of. Though I don’t think I’ve ever done it loud enough to inspire a book.

Pietra Rivoli (in the t-shirt)
Image via Alchetron

I thought the second-hand clothing market was fascinating. I completely got a market where some people ‘just know’ the value of something. I also liked the insight into where my donated clothing goes. I try to upcycle clothing (quilts or something similar) but I do donate a fair amount as well. I never thought about what happens if it’s not sold in a goodwill store. The economy Rivoli describes where it’s sold is fascinating to me. I loved that in one of the pictures was a triathlon participant shirt! That really struck home with me.

For some reason, the first section on cotton farmers was frustrating to me. I think it’s because Rivoli dives into how the US government has propped up the cotton industry for so long. No one really seems to mind the subsidies and programs there are for cotton farmers. However, I come from a city dependant on the auto industry and when that was propped up, the rest of the country freaked out. (Rant over.) I wanted to like the cotton farmer Rivoli describes, but I kept thinking how lucky he was to be in cotton and not another crop that wouldn’t be as lucky should a bad season come through.

What surprised me the most in this book was how often government intervention stopped the progress of the t-shirt. The secondary market is the only time I can think of where it didn’t come into play. Cotton farming, former Chinese control of the fabric industry, and US import restrictions were the bread and butter of the t-shirt’s life. As much as people try to separate politics from their daily lives, it’s very ingrained in what we do every day.

Writer’s Takeaway: Rivoli had some remarkable research and personal anecdotes to share. I think the anecdotes helped in some parts of her story (cotton farming) and less in others (US imports). In any case, she didn’t balance them as well as she could have and they told a stronger story in some parts than others. Overall, I think she told a great story with what she had even if it didn’t keep me engaged the whole time.

An interesting and informative book, just not as engaging as I like with my fiction. Three out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy | Closer readings
book review: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, by Pietra Rivoli | David Evans’ personal blog

WWW Wednesday, 23-October-2019

23 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter has been a good listen over the past week. I’m enjoying the multiple plot lines and multiple timelines and waiting to hear them come together. The blend of history and modern is really fun and I’m enjoying the variety of characters.
I started Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine over the weekend. I’m so glad to finally have this one going after having it on my bedside table for so long. Not too far into it yet so I’ll have a better report next week.
I needed a new ebook and decided to jump into My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart. I enjoyed her YouTube series a lot and I’m interested to see how her comedy translates to a book.

Recently finished: I finished When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan finally. I’d hoped to finish it earlier but work got really crazy and ate into my lunch reading a bit. It’s going to be a while before I get to my review, though. I’m got quite the backlog.|
I work up early on Saturday to finish The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli before I left for a road trip. I didn’t want to bring it along with me again! And I need to get it back to the library so I don’t lose my ILL privileges.

I finally got some reviews up! So glad to say that. Monday I reviewed The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. I liked this one well enough, but it wasn’t a favorite for me at all. There are other Gregory books I like much more. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I was happy with the final book in this series and how it wrapped up the character progression through the series. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I haven’t thought a lot about books I’ll read next. I’m just trying to make it to NaNoWriMo. However, I’m looking forward to getting some historical fiction in and I think Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie will be my next audiobook. I need a book from that time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge and I adore the characters in this series.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 16-October-2019

16 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I thought I’d finish When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan this week, but no such luck. I had a lot of rushed lunches where I wasn’t able to get some reading in so I’ll be optimistic and say one more week on there before I finish it.
I really need to push through and finish The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli. I know the book has to be returned soon but I’m almost afraid to look up when because I know it’s coming fast and I don’t think I’m ready for it.
I’m glad to have a book I’m not afraid to listen to while running in the dark! I started Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter on audio and I’ll push to get through this one quickly as the book club meeting for it is coming up at the end of the month. I don’t think it will be too much of a struggle, though. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews.

Recently finished: I wrapped up We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix on Friday which means I got through this one in less than a week! I didn’t realize how close I was to the book club meeting for it and I’m glad I rushed through to finish because we met on Monday to talk about it!

I’d planned on a few book reviews to be posted before this went up but I’ve been so busy with things in my personal life the past two weeks that I’m taking a week to regroup. I plan to be back at it on Monday with some delayed reviews so look forward to that. Of course, I’m not going to miss a WWW Wednesday!

Reading Next: I really want to start Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine as soon as I can! I hope book club books don’t get in the way because I’m looking forward to one of my first review books in over a year and I’d like to dive in soon.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 9-October-2019

9 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I think I’ll finish When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan soon. Unless it’s Wednesday and I’m responding to comments on this post, I usually get through a few pages during my lunch and there’s not much left. I think this will come off next week!
I continue to move through The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli but no faster than I have been. I’m enjoying it, but it’s a bit dense and not gripping enough to keep me reading when I get tired. I was able to extend my time with it until the end of the month and I feel confident I’ll finish it by then.
I was able to start We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix on Saturday. So far, I like it but I’m not really feeling the horror element to it yet. I think I’ll get through this pretty quickly since I’m listening to it in my car and when I’m running/cooking/doing chores on my phone. I have a few to get through so I want to speed this one up.

Recently finished: I was happy to finish The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory the day of my Friend of the Library meeting so I could return it in the evening! I enjoyed the story and the ending was a bit of a shock to me which was a nice twist. This book will fulfill a new time period in my When Are You Reading? Challenge so I’m super excited to add it to my list!
I was able to finish A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab Saturday during a road trip! So excited to wrap up this series. I liked how it ended though I think there’s more to the story that I’d like to hear. But I always feel that way with good books. I hope more V.E. Schwab comes across my path soon, it’s been a joy.

I also posted my review of Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I’m always a sucker for a good memoir and this was no exception. I’ll be posting my book club reflection of the book tomorrow so more to come on this one!

Reading Next: I will start Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine as soon as I finish Travels. It will be good to have some historical fiction to motivate me as I do NaNo prep.
I already have another audiobook lined up thanks to book club commitments. I’ll be starting Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter as soon as I finish Souls. I’m really hoping to have a lot of audio time and get through these quickly! I hate feeling rushed for book club.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 2-October-2019

2 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m really close to finishing The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory, I was hoping I’d be done by now! I’ve got a slug of eaudio to finish up and I’m going to take a break from physical audio once I finish this one. Maybe it will be today?
A half marathon wasn’t enough to finish A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This is longer than I thought it would be! I’m wondering if there’s a bit too much fluff in here but it’s keeping me engaged so far. We’ll see how I feel as it gets closer to the end.
I’m excited to be over halfway through When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan. It’s getting a little darker now and I’m not sure where this is headed. I didn’t expect some of these elements from an MG book!
I’m still enjoying The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli but I’ll have to see about picking it up a bit and reading faster. I’m approaching my initial due date and because it’s an interlibrary loan, I only get one more renewal. I’m not sure I’ll finish at my current pace.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week! And no new reviews. I’ve got some coming again eventually. I am mostly caught up at this point and it feels really good to be able to say that!

Reading Next: I can’t wait to start the eaudio for We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. It’s teasing me on my bedside table and I really want to pick it up soon.
I almost never do this, but I accepted an ARC! Though the book is out already so I guess it’s not very ‘advanced.’ Maybe Early Reader Copy? Anyway, the book is Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine. I was won over by the 1920s setting and decided I needed to have more giveaway books on my list this year. This seems like the best place to start.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 25-September-2019

25 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I think I need about another week with The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. The longer commute is nice to get through these long books faster and sit through traffic. Though I think the construction on my drive is almost done so this shouldn’t be an issue much longer.
One more week of half marathon training to go but I don’t think it will be enough to finish A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I’ll wrap this up soon, I hope. I have another book club selection to get through soon.
When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan has been a good lunch read for me. I’m really going to try to stick to shorter books so I can remember the beginning better when I finish them!
I’ve started on The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli and I’m enjoying it so far. She’s using a lot of stories and anecdotes to tell the story which makes it a lot more enjoyable! I don’t think I’ll fly through this one, but I’ll enjoy the ride.

Recently finishedI wrapped up Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m looking forward to my book club discussion on this one, I think a lot of people will have a lot to say. My review for this one won’t be up for a while because I have so much planned out on the blog. I’m running about two weeks ahead!

I’ve had two book reviews go up already this week. The first was The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie. This was a super cute short book and I enjoyed it though I’m not sure I would have guessed it would get the response it has. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. This one really wasn’t for me and I’m glad I’ve read it but I think a paragraph in a history book could have summarized it better for me. I gave the book Two out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My next book club pick is We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. It’s our Halloween pick but our leader thinks it will also be a funny read so I’m excited to see how that combination works.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 18-September-2019

18 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I got through so much last week that I’m not surprised there’s little movement this week. I’m making great progress with The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory due to the longer commute. I don’t mind it at all, really. It’s just under a half-hour and without too much traffic. Perfect for listening!
I’m still listening to A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab while I run in preparation for a half marathon at the end of the month. I’m liking it a lot and it’s very high energy! Great mood for running.
I’m trying to wrap up Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance quickly due to a library hold. I’m liking it, but parts seem to drag a little more than others. I think this will be a good discussion book for our group.
I’m glad I picked When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan for my ebook. It’s moving quickly and the shorter chapters are good for the start-and-stop nature of how I read ebooks.

Recently finished: Nothing finished this week but I’m not at all surprised after the landfall of books listed last week! It has to fall short after such a great week.

I did get two book reviews written! The first is for Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going. I liked this book, but it wasn’t the best one I’d read on craft this year. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian. This was a book club pick so I’ll be posting about our discussion soon but it’s safe to say I liked this one but was disappointed in the ending. I also gave it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My hold on The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli came in at the library and I’m hoping I can finish Vance quickly so I can dive in to it before the reading period ends! I might be rushing a bit.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!