I recently read a business book, World 3.0, written by a really smart, really detailed Harvard business guru. Here’s what I picked up on.
Book Review of World 3.0 by Pankaj Ghemawat
- Title: World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It
- Author: Pankaj Ghemawat
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
- Date: May 2011
- Length: 400 pages
Overview of World 3.0
Ghemawat makes the case that globalism, in the business sense, isn’t quite as global as we had imagined, contra Friedman’s bestselling book The World is Flat (2003). The term, “World 3.0″ refers to a new way to view the world, that rejects the false claim of “World 2.0,” the idea that the world’s markets are globally integrated. Ghemawat loads you up with page upon page of percentages, statistics, metrics, numbers, and data in general, then forces you to accept his premise. In Part 1, the author first proves that globalization isn’t as widespread as we may have thought. He even makes the claim that perhaps globalization should not be as big as we want it to bed. In Part 2, he discusses seven reasons why this non-globalization is today’s reality, reasons which include risks, imbalances, exploitation, and oppression. Finally, in Part 3, the book discusses a via media between the barbarism of World 1.0 and the delusion of World 2.0. This, he claims, is World 3.0, a more robust and durable global economy. In this section, Ghemawat decries protectionism, and proposes governmental and business policy changes that can produce stronger local and international economies.
Remarks on World 3.0
- I was surprised by this fact: globalism isn’t as big a deal as we thought. In a wry jab against Friedman (The World is Flat), the author remarks, “Something other than data must account for the success of The World is Flat, since its 450+ pages contain not a single table, chart, or footnote, to back up its pronouncements. I still find the comfort of Friedman’s many fans with his data-free approach, the most flabbergasting aspect of the flattening.” The country in which I was born and lived for some time, South Korea, seemed fanatical about globalization (at least from the perspective of the left-leaning English newspaper I read). Globalization was the du jour utopia of the modern age. As Ghemawat points out, the world is not as globalized as we thought…or hoped.
- Ghemawat doesn’t just give you a fact and expect you to just accept it. Instead, he delivers truckload after truckload of data to prove his point. The point he’s trying to make may seem minuscule, but the amount of evidence he produces to prove it is gargantuan.
- This book is no frivolous book of fiction. If you’re in the mood for a light novel, don’t touch it. It’s line after line of cold, hard facts. Sure, Ghemawat is a good writer, but he’s also a research-driven, fact-collecting, intellect-increasing genius. Grit your reading teeth.
- My favorite chapters were chapters 11 (“Global Homogenization”) and 15 (“Us and Them in World 3.0″), which discuss anthropology, xenophobia, cultural differences, country trust levels, etc. The reason I enjoyed these chapters so much is because the author rose from the relatively unfamiliar (to me) terrain of business-speak, and discussed cultures, countries, etc.
I won’t pretend that I was entranced by the author’s every word, or that it was a book that was “hard to put down.” Ghemawat lives in the world of business academia. I don’t. Therefore, I probably lacked the awareness, knowledge, and experience in the international business world that would have made World 3.0 more fascinating. In spite of this, I profited from the book’s overall perspective of globalization’s progress today, and learned from the solutions he proposes for the future.