One of the most significant, yet least noticed, economic developments of the last few decades [was] the transformation of international shipping. . . . The idea of containerization was simple: to move trailer-size loads of goods seamlessly among trucks, trains and ships, without breaking bulk. . . . Along the way, even the most foresighted people made mistakes and lost millions. . . . [A] classic tale of trial and error, and of creative destruction.
(Virginia Postrel The New York Times
Marc Levinson's concern is business history on a grand scale. He tells a moral tale. There are villains ... and there is one larger than life hero: Malcom McLean. . . . Levinson has produced a fascinating exposition of the romance of the steel container. I'll never look at a truck in the same way again.
(Howard Davies The Times
Like much of today's international cargo, Marc Levinson's The Box
arrives 'just in time.'. . . It is a tribute to the box itself that far-off places matter so much to us now: It has eased trade, sped up delivery, lowered prices and widened the offering of goods everywhere. Not bad for something so simple and self-contained.
(Tim W. Ferguson The Wall Street Journal
[A] smart, engaging book. . . . Mr. Levinson makes a persuasive case that the container has been woefully underappreciated. . . . [T]he story he tells is that of a classic disruptive technology: the world worked in one fashion before the container came onto the scene, and in a completely different fashion after it took hold.
(Joe Nocera The New York Times
Mr Levinson. . . . makes a strong case that it was McLean's thinking that led to modern-day containerisation. It altered the economics of shipping and with that the flow of world trade. Without the container, there would be no globalization.
A fascinating new book. . . . [I]t shows vividly how resistance to technological change caused shipping movements to migrate away from the Hudson river to other East Coast ports.
Marc Levinson's The Box
. . . illustrates clearly how great risks are taken by entrepreneurs when entrenched interests and government regulators conspire against them. Even after these opponents are dispatched, technological and economic uncertainty plague the entrepreneur just as much as the vaunted 'first-mover advantage' blesses him, perhaps more. The story of the shipping container is the story of the opponents of innovation.
(Chris Berg Institute of Public Affairs Review
International trade . . . owes its exponential growth to something utterly ordinary and overlooked, says author Marc Levinson: the metal shipping container.... The Box
makes a strong argument. . . . Levinson . . . spins yarns of the men who fought to retain the old On the Waterfront
ways and of those who made the box ubiquitous.
(Michael Arndt BusinessWeek
[An] enlightening new history. . . . [The shipping container] was the real-world equivalent of the Internet revolution.
(Justin Fox Fortune
Marc Levinson's The Box
is . . . broad-ranging and . . . readable. It describes not just the amazing course of the container-ship phenomenon but the turmoil of human affairs in its wake.
(Bob Simmons The Seattle Times
Author and economist Marc Levinson recounts the little-known story of how the humble shipping container has revolutionized world commerce. He tells his tale using just the right blend of hard economic data and human interest. . . . Mr. Levinson's elegant weave of transportation economics, innovation, and geography is economic history at its accessible best.
(David K. Hurst Strategy + Business
is . . . an engrossing read. . . . The book is well-written, with detailed notes and an index. I found it absorbing and informative from the first page.
(Graham Williams Sydney Morning Herald
This well-researched and highly readable book about the ubiquitous containers that carry so much of the world's freight will no doubt surprise most readers with its description of the immensity of the impact this simple rectangular steel box has had on global and regional economics, employment, labor relations, and the environment. . . . The Box
makes for an excellent primer on innovation, risk taking, and strategic thinking. It's also a thoroughly good read.
(Craig B. Grossgart Taiwan Business Topics
The ubiquitous shipping container . . . as Mark Levinson's multilayered study shows . . . has transformed the global economy.
By artfully weaving together the nuts and bolts of what happened at which port with the grand sweep of economic history, Levinson has produced a marvelous read for anyone who cares about how the interconnected world economy came to be.
(Neil Irwin Washington Post
Here's another item we see every day that had a revolutionary effect. The shipping container didn't just rearrange the shipping industry, or make winners of some ports (Seattle and Tacoma among them). It changed the dynamics and economics of where goods are made and shipped to.
(Bill Virgin Seattle Post-Intelligencer
(J Bradford DeLong The Edge Financial Daily
An engrossing read. . . . The book is well written, with detailed notes and an index. I found it absorbing and informative from the first page.
(Sydney Morning Herald
A fascinating history of the shipping container.
(Richard N. Cooper Foreign Affairs
For sheer originality . . . [this book] by Marc Levinson, is hard to beat. The Box explains how the modern era of globalization was made possible, not by politicians agreeing to cut trade tariffs and quotas, but by the humble shipping container.
(David Smith The Sunday Times
Ingenious analysis of the phenomenon of containerism.
(Stefan Stern Financial Times
This is a smoothly written history of the ocean shipping container. . . . Marc Levinson turns it into a fascinating economic history of the last 50 years that helps us to understand globalization and industrial growth in North America.
(Harvey Schachter Globe and Mail
This is an ingenious analysis of containerization--a process that, Levinson argues, in fact made globalization possible.
Using a blend of hard economic data and financial projections, combined with human interest, Levinson manages to provide insights into a revolution that changed transport forever and transformed world trade.
(Leon Gettler The Age
There is much to like about Marc Levinson's recent book, The Box
. . . . Levinson uses rich detail, a combination of archival and anecdotal data to build his story, and is constantly moving across levels of observation. . . . And the story of the box is a very good read.
(Administrative Science Quarterly
A lively and entertaining history of the shipping container. . . . The Box
does a fine job of demonstrating how exciting the container industry is, and how much economists stand to lose by ignoring it.
(William Sjostrom EH.Net
is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in understanding the emergence of our contemporary 'globalized' world economy.
(Pierre Desrochers Independent Review
[T]he insights the book provides make it a worthwhile read for anyone interested in how international trade in goods has evolved over the last 50 years.
(Meredith A. Crowley World Trade Review