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Megacommunities: How Leaders of Government, Business and Non-Profits Can Tackle Today's Global Challenges Together Hardcover – March 18, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"An optimistic handbook for creating promising frameworks for change that balance ideals with realities, the perfect with the good."
--Harvard Business Review

"This book provides a much-needed new perspective, demonstrating clearly and concisely the value of a ‘leader of leaders.’"

           --Fulvio Conti, Chief Executive Officer, Enel


"This is one of those rare well-reasoned books that can make a real difference."

--Richard D. Parsons, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Time Warner


"Simply put, these concepts work. We’ll be applying the methods explained in this important book even more ambitiously in the months ahead."

-- Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, founder of the Center for Health Transformation


"Megacommunities is a problem-solving action manual for the 21st century."

--Melanne Verveer, Co-founder and Chairman, Vital Voices Global Partnership


"Megacommunities provides a rich foundation to help accelerate the evolution of a healthier and more equitable world."

            -- Amory Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute


"Megacommunities offers pragmatic advice, born from case studies and the broad experience of many leaders."  

-- Curt Struble, Former US Ambassador to Peru


"An insightful and engrossing read, Megacommunities brings creative new thinking to the challenges confronting leaders."

--Admiral (Retired) Sir Ian Forbes, Former NATO Supreme Commander.


"Megacommunities introduces us to a world of complex problems, where traditional economic and financial incentives are not sufficient, where it is impossible for all players to secure their first choice outcome. And where multiple vetoes operate and free riders abound. This world calls for creativity and imagination, the ability to build trust, form alliances and do deals.  Megacommunities also provokes a rethink about how we identify and develop our political, business and civic leaders -- people who can think across the boundaries of their own organizations, can communicate, can influence and be influenced, who think in terms of optimizing rather than maximizing, and who, in short, can pilot us from the selfish world of the Prisoner's Dilemma to the collaborative world of John Nash's Equilibrium. "

--Lord Andrew Turnbull, Former UK Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service

"For too long “public-private partnerships” to solve global problems have left out the majority of the public – the four billion poor of the developing world. “Megacommunities” is a bold and big idea that will give the poor an equal voice in global efforts to deal with what they know best – poverty"

             -- Hernando de Soto, president, Instituto Libertad y Democracia, Perú and author of The Mystery of Capital


"As the new President and CEO of Common Cause, an organization that works to ensure that the political process serves the public interest, I wholeheartedly agree that progress in business, government and civil society must be attained through citizen-centered multi-lateral solutions. In our near 40-year history of reform work, Common Cause has long believed that engaging a diverse citizenry as well as a wide array of coalition partners is the most effective path to significant change, and Megacommunities captures that well."

--Dr. Robert W. Edgar, President and CEO, Common Cause


"Megacommunities offers unique insight about how modern leaders can deal with the growing challenges and complexities of our globalizing world.  The authors give valuable, common sense advice about how to maneuver large organizations and big ideas through an increasingly networked, connected, more complicated global society.  Any serious leader in business, government and civil society needs to read this work and apply its lessons."

--General John Abizaid (Retired), United States Army and former Commander of the United States Central Command


"As the modern world has become more interdependent and global, the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing society have also grown. The ability to manage highly dispersed people and operations while responding to unusual problems and crises requires new tools and new leadership approaches. This important and incisive book illuminates how the mutual self-interests of actors in private, public and non-governmental organizations can be harnessed to develop shared approaches to dealing with very complex challenges in such disparate areas as economic strength, national security or broad health or environmental issues. The Booz Allen authors’ concept of 'megacommunities' as an organizing principle for managing collaboratively across traditional functional boundaries -- and thereby transitioning from a hierarchal management structure to one characterized by networks of networks of experts -- has wide applicability. It is a critical new tool for today's leaders – and tomorrow's."

--Denis A. Bovin, Vice Chairman, Investment Banking, Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.

"Megacommunities offers a refreshing, organizational framework to help leaders solve the thorny and complex problems that devolve from technology and globalization.  The book elaborates the networked strength of collaboration between business, government and civil society."

-- Richard H.K. Vietor, Senator John Heinz Professor of Environmental Management, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration


"The complex issues of today's world have finally a strategic solution. The post globalized world calls for tri-sector leaders to acknowledge how the traditional sphere of influence and competences have changed and conflicts are even more complex that anyone can do it alone. Megacommunities cuts through the complexity with precise path to leadership."

-- Andrea Ragnetti, Member of the Board of Management of Royal Philips Electronics and CEO of Philips Consumer Lifestyle Sector


"Megacommunities urges leaders — from business and government and civil society — to come together to head off emergencies...Readable and thought-provoking, Megacommunities offers examples of how the approach has worked in cases around the globe, usually in an ad-hoc fashion, and shows how leaders from all spheres can make common cause in the service of the global community. It makes a strong case for business leaders taking the first steps toward solving the most daunting predicaments — and toward solving that leadership crisis."— Matthew Budman, Conference Board 

About the Author

Mark Gerencser is the managing director of Booz Allen Hamilton's Global Government Business; he lives in Northern Virginia. Reginald Van Lee is a senior vice president in the New York office of Booz Allen Hamilton. Fernando Napolitano is the managing partner of Booz Allen Hamilton in Italy. Christopher Kelly is a vice president with Booz Allen and the leader of the Global Security practice; he lives in Washington, DC.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; First Edition edition (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023060398X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230603981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,607,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Mulconrey on April 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The authors make a convincing case for how the prevailing paradigm in business, government, and the non-profit sector of "Winner Take All Competition" is being exposed as a dead end. The "MAXIMIZE returns for OUR constituents paradigm" just doesn't work when the job is to address large complex and interconnected challenges like - Sustainable Energy - Global Terrorism - Fair Trade Coffee.

When faced with such a challenge, the "OPTIMIZE returns for ALL stakeholders" is the most effective strategy. The trick is that, executing this strategy requires a very different set of skills and mindsets. The great thing about this book is that it doesn't just prescribe a solution, it provides a blueprint for initiating, structuring, sustaining, and leading these Megacommunities.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shreddin' Mike on August 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've never found a book on this topic before; I was turned on to it by a colleague of the authors since I'm working in an area that needs a "megacommunity" in order to truly address the enormous issues at hand. This book is a fantastic guide for how to recognize and think about multistakeholder issues, and how to begin to address them.

Too often stakeholder groups, particularly industry and NGOs, just come right out fighting. If they really and truly understood each others' points and situations they may in fact find that they can align to have similar goals and achieve their ends more readily, at lower cost, and in a mutually satisfying manner. The book provides many examples.

However, the book suffers from three problems:

First, many of the examples are more "microcommunity" than "megacommunity"; for instance - a single company in a single location dealing with a single issue. The example of a power company building a plant in a small town in Italy, while demonstrating the negatives of not working together vs. working together with different stakeholders gives an inkling of the concept but it is not "mega" by any stretch.

Second, the authors have apparently not yet had to deal with massive international multistakeholder issues like global warming or chemical regulation. Examples in those areas are needed, but are not yet available so it's no fault of the authors, it's the fault of the stakeholders. We have yet to construct our "megacommunity" and start working to get things done.

Third, the definition of stakeholders in a "megacommunity" is perhaps too narrow; only three are defined: industry, NGOs, and government. There is at least one example in the book that includes academia, a fourth (and often very important) stakeholder group. Two more, necessary for chemicals and global warming, include labor and standards development organizations.

So I want to see the next volume in the series!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This work seeks to formulate a new business model
for articulating complicated problems which are
interdisciplinary in nature with extensive reaches
into multiple parts of the community at large.
The authors describe non-linear activity
flows and events; such as, Katrina.

We are limited by complexity, cross-boundaries,
communications, differences between "the haves"
and "the have nots" and imbalances in the
transactional flows of major systems.

The megacommunity is the merging of the public sphere,
business and civil society. These are the strategic
constituencies with the levers of influence, shared
interests and major areas of convergence.
Barnstorming solutions, pattern study,
permanent negotiation, constant reconciliation and
mapping shareholders are the norm in order to define,
structure and solve problems of a higher order or intractable nature.

The book is an excellent work for assisting communities
in the hard work of problem definition, structure and
resolution. The authors transcend existing
methodologies to seek solutions in a global-collaborative

This work would be helpful in formulating solutions to
classic problems that have beset this country and this world.
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