Summary of The Spectacular Power of Big Lens

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Around 70% of adults read with the help of corrective lenses, but few know where their glasses come from. Sam Knight’s picaresque Guardian article journeys from 13th-century Italy, the birthplace of eyeglasses; to 15th-century Germany, where they became popular; to the present-day global economy, where giants Essilor and Luxottica are navigating one of the biggest mergers in history to form a near monopoly of the global eyeglasses industry. Knight’s article is an informative read for anyone who wants to understand an industry that affects billions but which many take for granted.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the EssilorLuxottica merger will create a $50 billion company,
  • Why the use of corrective lenses is on the rise worldwide and
  • How technology might influence the future of the eyeglass industry.

About the Author

Sam Knight has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, and Harper’s Magazine and is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He’s based in London.



Leonardo Del Vecchio retired at age 70 in 2004, but 10 years later, he returned to his work. Why? In the words of a former colleague, “He wants to do this merger…thinking he will leave behind this great company that will last for 100 years.” Del Vecchio is Italy’s second-richest man, its highest taxpayer and the founder of Luxottica – the world’s most prodigious eyeglass frame manufacturer. His dream, which will shortly come to fruition, is to merge with Essilor, a French manufacturer of eyeglass lenses. Essilor dominates 45% of the lens market. While...

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