- I’m putting my nose to the grindstone and working as hard as I can to get results that don’t seem to match the level of work and stress I’ve put in.
- I see myself as a rowboat in a vast economic ocean being swayed in the direction of the tide.
- I’m not going down with this economy! I’m going to figure out better ways of thinking about my business and the world that I’m competing in.
- I’m not sure what to think or do anymore!
Personally, I find myself somewhere in between all of these on any given day. Then, when I see the political left and right screaming and pointing fingers at each other, I get depressed because what I’d really like to hear is a little less criticism and a lot more even-handed analysis of the data and the facts behind this economy so that we can make better, sounder business decisions.
It’s with this mindset that I picked up the latest book from my reading pile, World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It. I received this book from the publishers and set it aside for a while. It seemed a bit overwhelming at the time; a hardcover with over 300 pages of heady text and another 100+ pages of references. It was written by Pankaj Ghemawat, a professor of Global Strategy at the IESE Business School in Barcelona who served as a faculty member of Harvard for over 20 years and is known as the youngest “guru” included in The Economist‘s 2008 guide to the greatest management thinkers of all time.
World 3.0 has some interesting insights that will inspire you to think differently about the world and maybe give you some fresh ideas on how to position yourself for success.
Are We Really as Globalized as We Think?
In World 3.0, Ghemawat says we aren’t even close to being globalized:
- Only 2 percent of students are at universities outside their home countries.
- Only 3 percent of people live outside their country of birth.
- Only 7 percent of rice is traded across borders.
- Only 7 percent of directors of S&P 500 companies are foreigners.
- Less than 1 percent of all American companies have any foreign operations.
- Exports are equivalent to just 20 percent of GDP.
- Some of the most vital arteries of globalization are badly clogged: Air travel is restricted by bilateral treaties and ocean shipping is dominated by cartels.
- Less than 20 percent of venture capital is deployed outside the fund’s home country.
- Only 20 percent of shares traded in stock markets are owned by foreign investors.
- Less than 20 percent of Internet traffic crosses national borders.
When I saw these statistics, it was clear to me that my “flat world” perception of over-globalization was a little exaggerated.
Ghemawat argues that instead of seeing the world through our lenses of the past–with a protectionist viewpoint or a “world is flat” viewpoint–we must start looking at our world through a new 3.0 view. This view more realistically incorporates the facts and acknowledges the opportunities and increased consumer choices opened up by technology.
Inside World 3.0
Ghemawat does a masterful job of clearly and methodically guiding the reader through his thesis. In fact, my fears of the book being too dull, boring and academic were completely unfounded. Ghemawat’s writing tone and style are easy to read, follow and comprehend. He uses analogies and references that are interesting and engaging.
I had the impression that Ghemawat uses more international references from different parts of the world than some of the writers I had been reading. This made me chuckle when I realized how ironic it was that my view of globalization was formed by the limited circle of writers I was following.
The book is divided into three parts:
Part1: The Possibilities: In this part, you’ll get reference points and context about the World 0.0, 1.0 and 3.0 worldviews.
Part 2: Seven Possible Problems: This section outlines the seven problems (I’d call them fears) that most people have about globalization and then puts them into perspective.
Part 3: The Choices: These last four chapters give you the perspective and the tools to start making better decisions for your business.
What I Loved About This Book
Ghemawat does a brilliant job of sharing his research and factual data in a calm, rational way. His tone and writing style didn’t evoke much emotion in me, freeing me up to actually process what was being conveyed in the material.
There is enough well-documented research in this book for you to reference and form your own opinions. With over 100 pages of references, this book is a virtual encyclopedia on the topic of globalization.
Ghemawat’s advice is rational and straightforward. He encourages business owners to take a step back from the emotional rhetoric and focus on their business goals. Then use the data references he provides to start making decisions based on the data that are relevant to your business.
Read It and Share It
This book is an outstanding description of how we’ve come to see the world and create our opinions and perceptions about globalization. It’s an ideal gift for the economic or business historian in your life and required reading for anyone running a business in today’s economy. And if you, like me, are looking for facts and data in an ever more opinion-heavy media, you’ll find this book a refreshing and interesting read.