the world : a brief introduction
every book comes with a story that helps to explain why the author committed the time and eﬀort to produce it. In this case, the story starts on a summer’s day over a decade ago ﬁshing with a friend in Nantucket. My friend’s nephew joined us on the boat, and I asked him where he went to school. “Stanford,” he told me. He was a computer science major, soon to begin his senior year. I went on to ask him a number of speciﬁc questions about what else he was studying beyond coding. Anything in economics? History? Politics? His answers revealed he had taken the minimum number of courses outside his major and those he did take had little to do with the basics. What was clear was that this intelligent young man would soon graduate from one of the best universities with little or no understanding of his own country or the world. And he would do so at a moment when the fate of his country and the world were inextricably linked and more was in ﬂux than at any time since World War II and the years just after.