The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It
  • The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It
  • The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It

The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It

by Joshua Cooper Ramo
     
 

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For Decades, American policy has been based on the seductive belief that there exists throughout the world a logical relationship between democracy and stability, between the might of the state and the success of a society.

If only it were that simple. As Joshua Cooper Ramo reveals in this widely praised and bestselling book, the belief that globalization is

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Overview

For Decades, American policy has been based on the seductive belief that there exists throughout the world a logical relationship between democracy and stability, between the might of the state and the success of a society.

If only it were that simple. As Joshua Cooper Ramo reveals in this widely praised and bestselling book, the belief that globalization is harmonizing the planet has failed both tests of good science: it neither predicts nor explains our world. Drawing upon history, economics, network theory, and his own extraordinary, experiences, Ramo puts forth a radical new model for looking at the world, one that embraces its inherent unpredictability-and offers our best hope for survival.

Editorial Reviews

Fareed Zakaria - author of The Post-American World
"A great read, a wondrous and unexpected journey through a world that keeps getting more complicated. Joshua Cooper Ramo has a brilliant mind and a beautiful pen, and both are evident in this stimulating book."
From the Publisher
"[Ramo's] provocative new book...does a nimble job of showing how such theories shed light on the current political and economic climate while avoiding the worst pitfalls...[he] hasmanaged, in this stimulating volume, to make the reader seriously contemplate the alarming nature of a rapidly changing world."—Michiko Kukatani, New York Times"

A great read, a wondrous and unexpected journey through a world that keeps getting more complicated. Joshua Cooper Ramo has a brilliant mind and a beautiful pen, and both are evident in this stimulating book."—Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World

"Ramo pushes the reader into uncomfortable yet exhilarating places with controversial ways of thinking about global challenges...Persuasively argued...Ramo's revelatory work argues that there must be some audacity in thinking before there can be any audacity of hope."—Publishers Weekly"

Thought-provoking...highly recommended for anyone who runs a business, is involved in international relations, or cares about our collective future."—Boston Globe

Michiko Kukatani - New York Times
"[Ramo's] provocative new book...does a nimble job of showing how such theories shed light on the current political and economic climate while avoiding the worst pitfalls...[he] hasmanaged, in this stimulating volume, to make the reader seriously contemplate the alarming nature of a rapidly changing world."
Boston Globe
"Thought-provoking...highly recommended for anyone who runs a business, is involved in international relations, or cares about our collective future."
Fareed Zakaria
A great read, a wondrous and unexpected journey through a world that keeps getting more complicated. Joshua Cooper Ramo has a brilliant mind and a beautiful pen, and both are evident in this stimulating book.
author of The Post-American World
Michiko Kukatani
[Ramo's] provocative new book...does a nimble job of showing how such theories shed light on the current political and economic climate while avoiding the worst pitfalls...[he] hasmanaged, in this stimulating volume, to make the reader seriously contemplate the alarming nature of a rapidly changing world.
New York Times
Michiko Kakutani
…[Ramo has] managed, in this stimulating volume, to make the reader seriously contemplate the alarming nature of a rapidly changing world—a world in which uncertainty and indeterminacy are givens, and avalanches, negative cascades and tectonic shifts are ever-present dangers.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Ramo, a strategic adviser and former journalist, presents his proposals for rectifying foreign policy mistakes in a discussion that ranges from the public service work of Hezbollah to the German painter Anselm Kiefer. He offers a sustained aura of cool competence, less lecturer than dinner companion. Wrapping listeners in the cocoon of his hushed, keen rush of words, Ramo is an ideal conversationalist, even if the conversation, for these purposes, runs in only one direction. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 9). (Mar.)
Library Journal

You can learn a lot by reading this book. China scholar Ramo (managing director, Kissinger Assoc.) explains his theory of "Deep Security" through a variety of wide-ranging analogies. While much of the focus is on peace in the Middle East and the role of Hizb'allah, we also learn about Gertrude Stein and cubism at the beginning of World War I, the development of video games from Donkey Kong to the Wii, the problem of maximum sustained yields for fish populations, the relationship between treating HIV and drug-resistant TB in South Africa, and the perils of running a business in Brazil while coping with hyperinflation. Again and again, Ramo reminds us of the power of individuals and the accomplishments that can be achieved by taking advantage of creativity and underutilized capacity. While (not surprisingly) he offers no great solutions, much can be learned from the examples he sets forth. Overall, a fascinating look at various aspects of today's complicated world and how interconnecting systems often come to bear in unexpected ways.
—Susan Hurst

Kirkus Reviews
Think things are weird, dangerous and frightening now? Just wait, counsels Kissinger Associates managing director and former Time editor Ramo (No Visible Horizon: Surviving the World's Most Dangerous Sport, 2003)-the mayhem is only beginning. The world is more complex than we can imagine, Ramo notes, and in a revolutionary era, the only thing to do is "think and act like a revolutionary." He adds that those who don't "have a particular name: victims." But what should be the focal point of our revolutionary thinking? Everything, says the author, starting with the fact that all that we know is wrong, such that our decisions seem to yield the wrong results. Given that, why listen to leaders, pundits and experts who get it wrong, and why follow the old course of making "minor adjustments to current policies, incremental change to institutions that are already collapsing, and an inevitable and frustrating expansion of failure"? After setting the tone, Ramo leaps into the shark-infested waters of geopolitics. He observes that we are incorrect to believe that the triumph of the West in the Cold War was inevitable-the Soviet Union fell to "the internal implosion of a society due to faults, twists, and kinks that even today we cannot map clearly"-and that we are misguided in our thinking that our current antiterrorism efforts are doing much more than producing more active terrorists. The old assumptions about the balance of power are off, since the old deterrents are gone; suicide bombers cannot be swayed in the same way cautious diplomats can. Ramo adds that focusing on "objects" such as Saddam Hussein at the expense of "the swirling, furious energy of the environment around those objects (clanrivalries, greed, corruption, a region aflame with fundamentalism)," you are bound to get mired down in places such as Iraq-a good reason, he remarks, to be smarter and less confrontational in dealing with other nations, particularly China. A smart essay in geopolitics and realpolitik that does not foresee a rosy future for conformists.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316118118
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
06/02/2010
Pages:
285
Sales rank:
360,017
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Walter Isaacson
"Thought-provoking. . . . Ramo questions conventional thinking and provides fresh ideas-something we deeply need these days."--(Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein)

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