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Standing on the Sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere Hardcover – February 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Standing on the Sun offers a mash-up of provocative ideas, observations, and predictions.” — strategy+business magazine

“insightful look at how the information economy is reshaping companies and economies” — Bloomberg BusinessWeek

"An imaginative masterpiece! This is the most complete and creative book I know on how the world economy is changing and what it means for the strategies and tactics that leaders all over the world need to implement. Reading the book is a compelling journey, as Meyer and Kirby first explain the key features of the new capitalism that is emerging around the world and then provide advice for businesses and leaders in this new world." — Bob Sutton

Standing on the Sun is a powerful way to describe and look at what’s happening in our global economy and the world of capitalism.” —

“extremely well written and researched book” — Business Traveller

“It’s a revelatory romp through this economic and cultural moment with powerful implications for any leader wrestling with the crucial questions of our day: what is business for, how do we create value and what does it mean to win?” — Management Innovation eXchange

Standing on the Sun delivers on the promise of giving businesses a whole new way to look at the system of capitalism. You can agree or disagree—but you should definitely read Standing on the Sun to find out where you stand.” — Small Business Trends (

“Excellent new book.” — The Financial Times

About the Author

Christopher Meyer is founder of Monitor Talent, a unit of Monitor Group, and writes frequently on business strategy. Among his past books is Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy. Julia Kirby is editor-at-large at Harvard Business Review.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422131688
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422131688
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Meyer is dedicated to anticipating and shaping the future of business. He has pursued this goal as entrepreneur, executive, consultant, leader of a think tank, and author. Two consistent threads run through Meyer's writing: adaptive enterprise and network-based business innovation. Adaptive enterprise refers to the application of lessons of biology to the design of enterprises with the capacity to sense, respond to, and adapt to changes in their environment. Network-based business innovation makes the case for leveraging networks of individuals - both within and outside an organization - to garner different perspectives on a problem, recombine them to generate new approaches, and then apply selective pressure to 'squeeze out' the most inventive and useful ideas. These two threads coalesce into the overarching theme of Meyer's thought leadership, namely the application of network science to business and innovation.

Meyer has published three books, including BusinessWeek Best Seller "Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy," "Future Wealth," and "It's Alive: The Coming Convergence of Information, Biology, and Business." He blogs on the Harvard Business Review site, and has contributed to publications including Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Fast Company, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek. Meyer is currently in the process of writing his fourth book, "Standing on the Sun," about how capitalism evolves as the economic center of gravity shifts to low-income, fast-growth, digital-native economies, which will be published by Harvard Business School Press in November of 2011.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By T. McCue on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is excellent. It is full of big, challenging ideas and the thought, research, and evidence to back them up. It will keep you thinking about what the future looks like for capitalism in the USA and everywhere else in the world. I recommend it. It can be heavy lifting in some spots, and the authors explain it coherently, but the concepts are deeper and require more thought than the average biz book. It is well worth the effort to digest and ponder. This is the first time I leveraged the power of the Kindle version, too, and loved that I could highlight a passage and then share it on Twitter or Facebook easily.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul N. on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Standing on the Sun argues a new perspective on capitalism is needed. The truth of this is becoming clearer by the day. But where does one find that perspective? The title refers to how Copernicus arrived at a new perspective on planetary motion by imagining himself in a different place, with a different frame of reference, i.e., standing on the sun, not the earth. Gaining a true perspective on capitalism is likely to be just as hard as understanding planetary motion, from most any vantage point, but the authors make a clear and compelling case that continuing to think about it from today's typical frames of reference is likely to lead to future shock--for policy makers and businesses alike.

With snappy chapters and section titles, like "The Rain Forest of Capitalism" the authors lay out the story of capitalism's evolution and continual adaptation, and point to the figurative Petri dishes where today's newest forms are popping up. The book transitions nicely through a look at how a shrinking planet is already changing what capitalism can and must do for its followers and inhabitants, and how growing affluence is changing what we hope for and expect from our political economies.

Along the way the authors take interesting turns through the research on topics like why big companies take on free riders to their detriment, and the distinction between being pro free-markets and pro-business. With all the noise around this last issue, the book does an admirable job of clarifying the distinction, and the implications for those failing to make the distinction.

The authors use the final third of the book to posit what capitalism will look like in the future, when the new rules of capitalism are in place.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Prusak on February 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Here is the good news-Chris Meyer and Julia Kirby have produced a very well written and researched text that offers a legitimate positive take on the global economy and its future. The authors (whom I have known and occasionally worked with for longer then any of us want to tally) feel that the unleashing of market processes and energies in the global network, coupled with the explosion of technologies that enable and power such forces, may well bring about a much more productive and perhaps better world. Needless to say both authors are too experienced to have any Panglossian illusions about the future which makes the book all that richer. They know markets and firms from the inside and have, not always a common thing, actually worked in and with profit-making organizations!
And I surely agree with many of their more proscriptive leanings as to actual actions that can be taken to make us all wealthier and happier.
However I would also add there is one serious flaw in the book-a flaw shared by many such volumes. It is based on on a point of view-maybe the very sun the authors are standing on- which is primarily economic in origin and application. Sadly, I do not think economics, and its subsidiary business ideas as usually practiced, provides a complex enough lens to understand modern forms of capitalism.
Think of the different forms of capitalism in the world today-from China to Germany to Brazil- and the attitudes towards these forms by the victors and victims of those systems. Can they be understood without recourse to the political and social actions, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that have evolved in these and all other countries? I dont believe it. History counts! and so does power relations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Kinnear on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some years ago, I was waxing poetic after a hunting expedition in Upstate New York. It happened to be a beautiful, cold, snowy day and I just happen to be very conscious of how the woods in which I was hunting looked so different each time I move slowly and quietly a few feet to a different tree and stood still watching for game. So I wrote a poem, titled Still Hunting in which I pointed out how we have to be willing to change our point of view if we really want to find a new perspective or understand another person's perspective.

Standing on the Sun is a whole book, rather than the simple a poem I penned, to make the same point. The title is derived from the comment made to Meyer by Richard Morely who stated that "In order to see the solar system as it is, Copernicus had to be standing on the sun." What he was stating is that one needs to take a new perspective in order to break out of the old model, the old way of doing and seeing things. And indeed, Meyer delivers on the promise of the title in this well written and entertaining book.

Meyer makes the case for how capitalism evolves and is evolving into something new. He then goes about explaining how it is evolving and gives hints as to where it might be going. The reader is challenged to make the difficult mind shift of "standing on the sun" at the end of each chapter to see how a new perspective gives insight into how and why capitalism is changing because of the growing global economy and cultural effects on business.

He points out that there are three current developments that have the power to accelerate evolution of capitalism; cloud computing, mobile devices and the "internet of things.
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