Archive for October 17th, 2008

The Post-American World

Friday, October 17th, 2008

By Fareed Zakaria

The Short Take:

Afraid of the future? Worried about America’s position in the world? Read this book! Zakaria’s insights and excitement will give you a new confidence and a brighter outlook.  Seriously, even if you never ever read books like this, it’s time to make an exception.


I usually avoid this type of book like the plague. Typically authors of politically minded books have an entrenched and known position – either left or right. You know exactly what to expect. Not with Fareed Zakaria.

Reading his columns in Newsweek led me to try this book. I know he writes clearly, without jargon. Best of all, you really can’t tell who he would pull the lever for in an election (yes, I know levers are passé but I like the phrase).

First of all, don’t be misled by the title. This is no anti-American diatribe. The Post-American World refers to the rise of other nations not the demise of our own. The focus is on how America can maintain its preeminent position by recognizing the growing influence of other nations.

While this book focuses on the relationships between countries – their strengths, potentials, and possible pitfalls – you gain much more valuable information. People pondering financial investments can find inspiration and ideas here. If you want a better overview of international history over the past few centuries, Zakaria gives it to you. Plus, there are plenty of factoids you can use to impress your friends and co-workers.

What sets Zakaria apart and ahead is his straightforward language. You never feel talked down to. The writing has a light touch which carries you along instead of bogging you down. His clarity of expression transforms what could be a daunting read into an eye-opening, delightful exploration.

Want Some Plot?

Obviously there is no plot.  But here are a few lines on what you can expect.

After offering a world overview that includes every military might, economic strength, cultural influences, communication abilities and much more, Zakaria focuses on two rising nations in particular. Both China and India have a whole chapter devoted to them, describing their differences and how those differences influence behavior now and tomorrow.

The rest of the world is not ignored, however. The policies and positions of Great Britain and the United Sate of America through history are compared ad contrasted.   Russia, Brazil, and other countries receive plenty of attention as well.

You also gain a different perspective on war and peace, religious influences, wealth and poverty, and many other influential factors.

This is a hopeful, positive book. But is it not pie in the sky. Zakaria warns of the dangers ahead, but you can tell he believes we will avoid them

You can visit Zakaria’s (rather scanty) website by clicking here.


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