Standing on the Sun: New Perspectives on Capitalism

Standing on the Sun“It’s hard to comprehend the true nature of a system when you’re standing in the middle of it.”  This is a quote from the front flap of Standing on the Sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere by Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby.  It refers to the medieval astronomers who thought that the sun revolved around the earth.  Meyer and Kirby assert that capitalism is shifting and that the only way to get a clear picture of the new lay of the land is to “stand on the sun” and look.

I received a review copy of Standing on the Sun a few days ago and am excited to review it.  I don’t get many economics books so when one shows up, I like to dig right in to see how it will change the way I look at the world.

Meyers and Kirby are Trend Watchers

Christopher Meyer is the Founder of Monitor Talent, a unit of Monitor Group,  a strategy consulting firm that focuses on the top management issues most critical to long term competitiveness. Julia Kirby is the editor at large of the Harvard Business Review.   Together, they bring a practical and insightful perspective to a new view of capitalism that small business owners need to adapt to.

In Standing on the Sun Meyer and Kirby take a fresh look at where the center of capitalism is today (you might be surprised at the answer), competition and what this shift means for stakeholder value.

As you read each chapter, pay attention to the subtleties that are more obvious abroad than they currently are in the United States and then think about how your business models or infrastructures might need to change to adapt to the new normal.

Inside Standing on the Sun

This book has something I don’t think I’ve seen before in a book; a discussion prompter for Twitter.   Let me explain what that is and how it works.  In the introduction to the book, there is a break out of each chapter and then appropriate hashtags for any discussions that readers can have on Twitter.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • Part I, Capitalism Adapts: This section explores how the dynamics of capitalism have changed around the world and gives ideas about how we might change with it.
  • Part II, Runaways and Renaissance:  This is the meatiest section of the book.  In it, Meyer and Kirby explore the two major areas where today’s capitalism misses the mark and explore a more broad definition of capitalism that cherishes innovation rather than competition.
  • Part III, Moving On: The final section takes the new vision of capitalism and explores how our current actors might act and what the results might be inside of this new world.

You can learn more about Standing on the Sun and read more content from Meyer and Kirby from Christopher Meyer’s Web Site.

This is a Book With an Opinion That Will Rock Your World

If you liked The World is Flat and you’ve read World 3.0 then you will want to sink your teeth into this book.  People who find themselves at either extreme of the political spectrum – Standing on the Sun will give you additional perspectives that will either have you nodding your head or shrieking out loud.  Either way, you’ll find yourself much smarter for the experience whether you agree with the authors or not.

Business owners and managers alike will find this book insightful.  You will get a lot to think about and noodle around as you take your business forward.  I can imagine taking these insights and using them to develop new business models for the future of your business.

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.


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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

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