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

21 customer reviews

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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)
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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068272
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Parag Khanna is a leading global strategist, world traveler, and best-selling author. He is a CNN Global Contributor and Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is also the Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, a geostrategic advisory firm, and Co-Founder & CEO of Factotum, a boutique content strategy agency.

Parag is co-author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization (2012) and author of How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance (2011) and the international bestseller The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order (2008), which was translated into more than twenty languages. In 2008, Parag was named one of Esquire's "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century," and featured in WIRED magazine's "Smart List."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 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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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I received a copy of this book at my request from the author himself (I am unemployed, and globally available).

I gave the author's first book, The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century, a five star leaning toward six review. This book is carried from a high four to a low five because of the concluding insights, but it also disappoints in relation to both the contributing experiences (as recounted in the Acknowledgments), and the broader literature that is not evident in this book, very possibly because of page limits set by the publisher. For more, see my Worth A Look: Book Review Lists (Positive) and also Worth A Look: Book Review Lists (Negative) at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog. Indeed, the author's work, his professional network, and his multi-cultural insights are a perfect complement to my own--he knows much that I do not know, and vice versa. The index is mediocre--that is on the publisher, not the author, and I suspect that other publisher constraints kept this book from being all that the author would normally have offered. The publisher has also been remiss in not offering "Look Inside the Book" details to Amazon, a free service.

The author's focus is on the failure of state-based diplomacy and the emergence as well as the need for more mega-diplomacy, which he quite ably defined as a constantly shifting mélange of hybrid relationships that full integrate nations, states, businesses, and non-governmental organizations--what they know, what they can share, and what they can do TOGETHER.
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