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Humanity Wins Hardcover – September 12, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (September 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609608061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609608067
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,757,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

How might government best respond to a world of ever-accelerating change? That's the question that Mohn, the German media magnate (and great-great-grandson of Carl Bertelsmann) considers in this slim volume. His answer? Governments should become more like businesses. First Mohn outlines the dilemma: corporations have responded to the demands of global competition by reinventing themselves; control from above has given way to the flexible decentralization of responsibility and function, and employees, overseen by capable and enlightened management, are motivated to innovate. Meanwhile, the democratic governments of the West, he charges, remain hierarchical monoliths incapable of rapid change. More concerned with popularity than progress, politicians promise much but deliver far less; they preside over a population alienated from government and devoid of a sense of community. Largely unaccountable, big government centrally rules to maintain the status quo. If, however, governments were to follow the lead of business, decentralizing and privatizing their functions and reporting to the public in a clear, coherent way so their efficiency could truly be judged, all the difficulties would be solved. Mohn seems to be offering a viable prescription for a humane re-creation of the modern state, but his confusing and convoluted writing makes it difficult for readers to draw conclusions. He often substitutes aphorisms for analysisAthere is, for example, a "deficit in development in many areas of life forces"Aand fails to marshal the intellectual depth and rigor his ambitious undertaking requires. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Mohn, retired for almost 20 years, is the billionaire patriarch of the Bertelsmann media empire, which spans 50 countries and now includes Random House, Doubleday, and Bantam. He also served in the German army during World War II and spent three years in U.S. prisoner-of-war camps, where he has told of being "reeducated." Mohn's philosophy is based on servant leadership; he believes that management must work in partnership with its employees and that companies must make a contribution to society. Now, argues Mohn, social institutions and governments must also operate under those same principles while they decentralize and become less hierarchical. He considers how families, partnerships, schools, work, and the state are being affected by globalization as he warns that we must reform our economic and social systems. Although a number of Mohn's comments seem to be directed at his fellow Germans, his observations originally appeared in the form of a report to the Club of Rome, a group of influential international business leaders still best known for the first report it commissioned 30 years ago called "Limits to Growth." David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When the pilgrims left Europe for Massachusetts, they realized that there was a need for a new social relationship. As a result, they formed a new social structure, the Mayflower Compact. As we sail across the global seas of electronic coming together today, it seems fitting that some would begin to see the need to revisit the basics of what community should mean for each of us.
Mr. Mohn has written one of those landmark books that many will point to in the future. In a world where 'the only constant is constant change,' he draws the conclusion that the bases of social ties between individuals in their work, their communities, and in their governments need to be adjusted to reflect the new realities. Looking for a model, he proposes the most enlightened of corporations: those that seek to provide 'productivity for society' while honoring individuality, personal incentives, and freedom encompassed by a humanitarian style of leadership.
He offers these suggestions to encourage a debate, and looks forward to the ideas that others may provide in reaction to his.
The perspectives come from someone who is German and presided over the building of a successful global entertainment conglomerate -- Bertelsmann. You should remember the greater social constraints on freedom in Europe while reading this book.
The book was originally a report to the Club of Rome (a group that studies the most important issues facing society), and has been developed into an integrated series of essays. The sections are as follows:
1. A New Understanding of Community (including 10 commandments).
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