Journalist Misha Glenny leaves no stone unturned (and no failed state unexamined) in his excavation of criminal globalization.

Why you should listen

In minute detail, Misha Glenny's 2008 book McMafia illuminates the byzantine outlines of global organized crime. Whether it's pot smugglers in British Columbia, oil/weapons/people traffickers in Eastern Europe, Japanese yakuza or Nigerian scammers, to research this magisterial work Glenny penetrated the convoluted, globalized and franchised modern underworld -- often at considerable personal risk.

The book that resulted is an exhaustive look at an unseen industry that Glenny believes may account for 15% of the world's GDP.

Legal society ignores this world at its peril, but Glenny suggests that conventional law enforcement might not be able to combat a problem whose roots lie in global instability.

While covering the Central Europe beat for the Guardian and the BBC, Glenny wrote several acclaimed books on the fall of Yugoslavia and the rise of the Balkan nations. He's researching a new book on cybercrime, of which he says: "The key to cybercrime is what we call social engineering. Or to use the technical term for it, there's one born every minute."

Watch TED's exclusive video Q&A with Glenny: "Behind the Scenes of McMafia" >>

What others say

“Glenny is not afraid to put himself in threatening situations -- one imagines his name is conspicuously absent from the Christmascard list of the world's major criminals.” — The Observer

Misha Glenny’s TED talks

Misha Glenny on the TED Blog
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Live from TEDGlobal 2014

Sideways solutions and inverted explanations: A recap of session 10 of TEDGlobal 2014

October 9, 2014

The thinkers in this session, “Lateral Action,” don’t go about creating change in the usual ways. Here, their unexpected approaches: Argentinian singer-songwriter Juana Molina opens the session with a hypnotizing performance on the electric guitar and a rack of pedals that layer sounds into gorgeously complex song structures. Singing calmly behind layers of chords, she mixes […]

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Live from TEDGlobal 2014

Lateral Action: A sneak peek of session 10 at TEDGlobal 2014

October 9, 2014

Real solutions can emerge from places surprisingly adjacent to the problems they address. This session examines how progress — from villages to urban spaces, from the artist’s studio to the corporate world — can be found by taking a step to the side. The speakers who’ll appear in this session: Khalida Brohi found an unexpected way to fight […]

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Q&A

How the World Cup can make or break Brazil’s hopes for the future: Misha Glenny gives a talk on the country that’ll host TEDGlobal 2014

May 20, 2014

If you ever find yourself in Brazil, advises Misha Glenny, try to look past the samba, soccer and sea. The journalist, who is currently researching a book on the underground drug trade in Rio de Janeiro, sees a Brazil of challenges, contradictions and opportunities that are far more complex than the celebrations on Ipanema let […]

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Quotes from Misha Glenny

[Organized crime] is an industry which has bucked the current recession with equanimity.
Misha Glenny
TEDGlobal 2009 • 653K views Sep 2009
Informative, Fascinating
Bernie Madoff stole $65 billion. That puts him up there on the Olympus of gangsters with the Colombian cartels and the major Russian crime syndicates, but he did this for decades in the very heart of Wall Street, and no regulator picked up on it.
Misha Glenny
TEDGlobal 2009 • 653K views Sep 2009
Informative, Fascinating
How many other Madoffs are there on Wall Street or in the city of London, fleecing ordinary folk and money laundering? I can tell you: quite a few.
Misha Glenny
TEDGlobal 2009 • 653K views Sep 2009
Informative, Fascinating