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How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance Hardcover – January 11, 2011

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How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance + The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068272
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The "American Century" is over. According to Khanna (The Second World), "we are in for a fractured, fragmented, multi-polar" world, a new Middle Ages of decentralized power where "corporations, powerful families, humanitarians, religious radicals, universities, and mercenaries are all part of the diplomatic landscape." In a world of "mega-diplomacy," efficient remedies to global poverty, environmental crisis, and genocidal threats will require fresh combinations of governments, NGOs, and corporations that can marshal "global resources to solve local problems." His book is an excellent introduction to worthy organizations tackling social and political problems, but in going for a panoramic sweep and trying to cover so many topics, the analysis deals with none in depth. Case studies rarely pass the two-page mark, and Khanna drowns the reader in data stripped of context and resonance. His vaunting of celebrity activists feels callow, and his championing of online petition sites is premature--the real efficacy of such methods is still in question. Khanna writes clearly, with conviction and charm, and his neomedieval metaphor is so intriguing that readers will regret Khanna's decision to stay in the shallows. (Jan.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

If only the rest of this book were as lively and succinct as the title is. Instead, Khanna’s strong main point—that the problems of a decentralized, post–cold war world demand far more creative solutions than they’ve received—loses its way in the author’s discursive and, frankly, often boring text. Still, for readers willing to make the slog, they’ll find much value here: for example, a delineation of the new global political players, an explanation of failed states (those in name and on maps only), and an understanding of the interconnectivity needed to solve the world’s most pressing problems. As the author has appeared on CNN and in such publications as the New York Times, expect some author exposure in electronic and print media. --Alan Moores

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Customer Reviews

Overall the book is shallow, optimistic, and misleading.
Amazon Customer
If you are even remotely interested in the field of international relations or consider yourself a current or future leader, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
Tyler Emerson
For Khanna, the local is more important than the global, and good global governance is that which supports better local governance.
Sangeeta Kumar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Let me start with what I liked from the book: the observation about everyone being a diplomat of his/her country, culture and/or institution, of the fact that NGOs can be more flexible than nation-states, and the acknowledgement that NGOs, corporations and even single people are important political players in todays world. This is the reality and it certainly should be embraced in one way or another.

However, apart from this, the rest 4/5ths of the book is over-optimistic praise of the actions of said players, at the expense of nation-states with some ideas that contradict each other and present the author's shallow understanding of history or economics mixed in with hopes and dreams of some globalist institutions and think-tanks.

Let me start with his metaphor of "the next Renaissance". His comparison of a current world to a medieval one is not really valid. For one, the trade and importance of non-state players did not start in Renaissance, like he claims. In the Antiquity Romans created a tremendous empire based on the flow of goods from one end of Europe to another, and their sophistication of banking, commerce and politics was really impressive (including financial crises as well). It survived during the Middle Ages, especially in Italy. Medieval world was also no more fragmented than Renaissance one, or than it is now. Renaissance did not end indented servitude, slavery, or other woes of the world.

Second, the economy based on credit is seemingly reaching its final capacity. To advocate the fact that bank can issue any amount of credit it wants, just making sure that it is securitized, is a folly which lies at the roots of present financial crisis.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Saleem Ali on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Parag Khanna is widely recognized as a voice of clarity on globalization among the myriad think tanks of Washington DC. In his second book, Khanna posits how some of the fruits of globalization can be harvested to create a more functional order. As the title suggests, this book has a very bold agenda and it is exceedingly difficult to claim a recipe to run the world without provoking some accusations of hubris. However, Khanna is able to craft a narrative which makes organizations and social entrepreneurs around the world his protagonists, rather than himself as the sage on the stage. Introducing the concept of "mega-diplomacy", allows him to bridge conventional approaches to international relations with the emergence of a plethora of unconventional governance structures that are manifest in civil society groups. He suggest that such endeavors organically create functionality like the world of "Wikipedia." Khanna is most respectful of statesman such as Jean Monnet whom he calls the first "multi-state diplomat" but he is also quite complementary to more familiar names such as Bill Clinton and organizations such as the World Economic Forum. Perhaps in this latter realm, he is not as critical as one might expect. For example, the World Economic Forum (WEF)has no doubt created an opportunity for interaction between the public and private sectors of our multinational world, but has also come under much criticism by the "third sector" -- NGOs. The shadow "World Social Forum" which activists have organized in response to the WEF deserved some coverage.Read more ›
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41 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Hussain Abdul-Hussain on January 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It has been a while since I read such a badly-written and miserable book. I could not even force myself to finish half of it.

So Mr. Khanna thinks that people can press a button and take the world to a new renaissance. Never mind that the last renaissance took centuries of human experience, intellectual debates, wars, revolutions and most important of all the appearance of new technologies that changed the modes of production and ultimately dislodged the prevailing socio-economic construct of Europe before the year 1500.

But hey, what would you know, Mr. Khanna offers us a manual, a knows-it-all book of revelations. In 210 pages, the world we live in can be transformed from what Khanna calls a neo-medieval state into a state of renaissance. What does the world need for such transformation to happen, other than reading Khanna's gem? The answer is simply to change the style of the world's diplomats!

Khanna's incoherent ideas swing back and forth. One time he is analyzing the world. Another time he addresses the reader (you) or the youth at large. He encourages them to endorse the change that he "charts." All of a sudden, the book becomes a political pamphlet addressing the new generation.

And since my area of specialty is the Middle East, I was curious to read his take about the region, or what he calls "facts on the ground." Despite his command of "basic" Arabic as per his website's CV, Khanna suddenly becomes an expert on the Middle East. The problem there, according to Khanna, is the map drawn by colonial powers in the second decade of the twentieth century. To rectify ages of conflict is easy, just redraw these borders along oil pipelines!
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