The Post-American World is Flat

“What’s critical now is not how a company compares with its own past (are we doing better than we were before?), but how it compares with the present elsewhere (how are we doing relative to others?). The comparison is no longer along a vertical dimension of time but along a horizontal one of space.”

– Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World

Zakaria, Newsweek International editor, somehow does a better job of crystalizing in 259 pages the overly complex, sprawling, meandering ideas that Thomas Friedman outlined in The World is Flat (the book definitely did not hold true to the concept of flatness).

Let me see if I can capture it in 2 paragraphs…

We are living in a world where intermingled markets are driving the “rise of the rest”, especially China and India. We have considered them as competitors, but in a 3rd world, 2nd class sort of way since they just hadn’t mastered the strategies and tactics of our game. But their gumption, shifting strategies and standing within the new marketplace and current economic situation makes them very serious competitors now.

So how the US competed and defined the game before does not hold. We have to reconsider the game and our goals in a reconsidered game – how, where and with whom we are competing and what success looks like now and how it needs to evolve.

I actually bought it with the intention of better framing my thoughts about the coming presidential election, which it has helped do. But having encountered the quote at the start of this post towards the end of the book, and some posts I’ve read from the various landed gentry of the marketing blogosphere of late, it became very timely from a business standpoint. Interesting.

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Filed under books, competition, election 08

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