“Dynasties of the Sea” has been out since November and it warms my heart when I have people who email or meet with me telling me that they loved my book and the stories of these individuals have inspired them or have helped them understand an industry that is not in the mainstream media. My amazing publisher Marine Money International sent me this book review by the prestigous Lloyd’s List and I just had to share 🙂
In conversation with maritime’s leading personalities• Friday 19 April 2013, 16:30
• by David Osler
LaRocco: a succession of potted biographies of some of the big names in this business.
Dynasties of the Sea by Lori Ann LaRocco
IS IT possible to write an insightful book on shipping and ship finance that qualifies as a page-turner, unimpaired by the sort of leaden prose that typifies academic volumes on theses subjects?
Step forward Lori Ann LaRocco with Dynasties of the Sea, which offers a succession of potted biographies of some of the biggest names in this business, all written from the point of view of a savvy outsider.
Twenty major players are given the treatment by the US television journalist, perhaps best known for her role as a producer on CNBC’s flagship business show Squawk Box.
Rather than grilling her subjects in the manner of a long-time shipping specialist writer probably, Ms LaRocco instead approaches the task by posing the questions that an intelligent layperson would ask.
As is almost inevitable for an American author, she eschews typically British understatement for a jauntily upbeat tone, accentuating the positive in a manner that makes her words remarkably easy to digest.
Given that a large part of the book’s target audience will know many of those featured personally, many will come away with the feeling of eavesdropping on private conversations with figures they admire, or conversely, to whom they secretly do not warm.
Shipping rock stars such as John Fredriksen, Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Gerry Wang, Robert Bugbee and Roberto Giorgio are interrogated on their life stories and leadership styles, in a manner designed to elicit easy takeaways.
There are also profiles of key financial figures, not least Wilbur Ross, Michael Parker and Dagfinn Lunde, which demonstrate the inevitable differences in the outlook of those that operate ships and those that lend out the money to enable them to do so.
The chapter on Morten Arntzen, which must have been written only a few months prior to OSG’s decision to seek Chapter 11, is a salutary reminder that one can move from hero to zero with frightening rapidity.
But what provides the thematic unity is the reality that shipping is an industry like no other, with more than its share of big personalities that deserve far more of a spotlight in the mainstream media.
And there is the additional fun of wondering which strong egos Ms LaRocco has left fuming by leaving them out. Perhaps she should already be planning volume two.
Anyone new to shipping is sure to learn much, making it an ideal primer prior to ploughing into the collected works of Martin Stopford, and even those who have been around the block will pick up nuggets of which they were not previously aware.