The Business Habits of Highly Successful Vikings

Or, why the path of least resistance was the best path of all...

This time we dive into the economics of the Viking world by chatting with Dr. Tom Horne, an archaeologist and historian in Glasgow, Scotland, who specializes in Viking trade networks. The nuts and bolts of commerce may not sound like the sexiest topic, but we certainly had a laugh and learned a thing or two. Contrary to what most people think about Vikings, it turns out where business tactics were concerned they did some pretty “un-viking” things.

Tom’s work focuses on market “kingdoms” and the silver trade which he writes about in his 2021 book A Viking Market Kingdom in Ireland and Britain: Trade Networks and the Importation of a Southern Scandinavian Silver Bullion Economy.

Also, check out Terri’s article that we mention, How Breaking Bad and a Renegade Economist Can Explain the Viking Age. She was thrilled to see some similar themes argued in her work and Tom’s.

We talk about Tom’s book, but also why Vikings operated in much the same way as all humans throughout history when it came to getting what they wanted, what exactly it was they wanted most, how sophisticated their business operations were, and how remarkably similar they seem to business practices today.

Want to know who the “El Chapo” of the Viking cartel was? Watch and find out.

We also touched on Tom’s work in media outreach, at the Govan Stones Museum, and in archaeology podcasting — his is aptly titled The Shindig — and why it’s important to have these avenues for sharing our knowledge about Vikings with everyone interested to learn. We at Vikingology couldn’t agree more and urge you to check out all of Tom’s projects and buy his book.

Thanks Tom! We had a great time and hope to continue the conversation.

You can follow Tom on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. There you can see lots of cool pictures of Viking stuff he and his colleagues have unearthed.

If you’re interested in the audio-only version, you can find it here on our Substack as well, and also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Enjoy!

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