This is the first in a series of Extreme Reviews in which I’ll provide a rapid-fire review of a book or service in less than 500 words, rather than bog you down with a dissertation on the minutiae.
AUTHOR: FAREED ZACKARIA
PREMISE: As America eclipsed Great Britain as the world’s sole economic and military superpower a few hundred years ago, we’re now facing the inevitable – we will lose the throne. The author considers topics from education inequality with the rest of the world to the implications of a flat world where the US competitive edge is degrading.
THE GOOD: The book is well written and puts into perspective the gradual decline of the US as sole superpower. Our arrogance or sheer ignorance of how we still do things versus how the rest of the world views us is exposed in painstaking detail. He routinely dispenses his share of irony through the book – example:
The demise of the American working class (outsourcing) is actually a result of American ingenuity.
THE BAD: In some parts of the book, it reads as if it’s a recap of last year’s major headlines and news items on global business issues. Perhaps I read too much of The Economist and BusinessWeek or the book just didn’t have enough unique, lesser-known examples to draw from.
THE UGLY: While the author forces you to consider factors driving the decline of the US from a different perspective, some of the book seems contrived and predictable, as if you can predict the premise of the closing paragraph one page into the chapter.
THE VERDICT: Definitely worth a read for those who are concerned/interested in outsourcing, global competition and business in general. However, before (or instead of) reading this, I’d probably first endorse these books, which permanently changed my outlook on the world and my career:
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