The Post-American World

( 83 )

Overview

“Zakaria . . . may have more intellectual range and insights than any other public thinker in the West.” —Boston Sunday Globe
In this international bestseller, Fareed Zakaria describes "the rise of the rest"—the political and economic ascendance of countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Kenya. With his customary lucidity, insight, and imagination, Zakaria outlines the contemporary diffusion of power, drawing on lessons of history to help the United ...

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Overview

“Zakaria . . . may have more intellectual range and insights than any other public thinker in the West.” —Boston Sunday Globe
In this international bestseller, Fareed Zakaria describes "the rise of the rest"—the political and economic ascendance of countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Kenya. With his customary lucidity, insight, and imagination, Zakaria outlines the contemporary diffusion of power, drawing on lessons of history to help the United States face the challenges—and opportunities—of the post-American world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." After this opening reassurance, Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria invites us into the "Post-American World" in this updated, revised, expanded edition of his 2008 top-seller. He describes how the growth of countries like China, India, Russia, Brazil, and many others has changed the world in which we American live. No longer will the United States be able to dominate the global economy, orchestrate international geopolitics, or confidently dictate to other nations. But this evolving situation, according to Zakaria, need not be disastrous. He explains how America and Americans can continue to thrive in a post-American world. A generally upbeat assessment of our ever-changing situation.

Thomas Friedman - New York Times
“Compelling.”
Slate
“A far-reaching analysis.”
Joseph Joffe - New York Times Book Review
“This is a relentlessly intelligent book that eschews simple-minded projections from crisis to collapse... to remind this faltering giant of its unique and enduring strength.”
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
“A provocative and often shrewd take that opens a big picture window on the closing of the first American century and the advent of a new world.”
Bruce Nussbaum - BusinessWeek
“Fareed Zakaria is one of the most thoughtful foreign policy analysts of our day and his new book . . . is a must read for anyone interested in globalization—or the Presidential election.”
New York Times
A provocative and often shrewd take that opens a big picture window on the closing of the first American century and the advent of a new world.— Michiko Kakutani
New York Times Book Review
This is a relentlessly intelligent book that eschews simple-minded projections from crisis to collapse.— Joseph Joffe
BusinessWeek
Fareed Zakaria is one of the most thoughtful foreign policy analysts of our day and his new book . . . is a must read for anyone interested in globalization—or the Presidential election.— Bruce Nussbaum
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Prophetic brilliance, near-perfect clarity, and a stirring resonance.”
The Republic
“This new analysis of America's role in the world is a serious, readable... essential book.”
Publishers Weekly

When a book proclaims that it is not about the decline of America but "the rise of everyone else," readers might expect another diatribe about our dismal post-9/11 world. They are in for a pleasant surprise as Newsweekeditor and popular pundit Zakaria (The Future of Freedom) delivers a stimulating, largely optimistic forecast of where the 21st century is heading. We are living in a peaceful era, he maintains; world violence peaked around 1990 and has plummeted to a record low. Burgeoning prosperity has spread to the developing world, raising standards of living in Brazil, India, China and Indonesia. Twenty years ago China discarded Soviet economics but not its politics, leading to a wildly effective, top-down, scorched-earth boom. Its political antithesis, India, also prospers while remaining a chaotic, inefficient democracy, as Indian elected officials are (generally) loathe to use the brutally efficient tactics that are the staple of Chinese governance. Paradoxically, India's greatest asset is its relative stability in the region; its officials take an unruly population for granted, while dissent produces paranoia in Chinese leaders. Zakaria predicts that despite its record of recent blunders at home and abroad, America will stay strong, buoyed by a stellar educational system and the influx of young immigrants, who give the U.S. a more youthful demographic than Europe and much of Asia whose workers support an increasing population of unproductive elderly. A lucid, thought-provoking appraisal of world affairs, this book will engage readers on both sides of the political spectrum. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.All rights reserved.
Library Journal

According to Newsweek International editor Zakaria, the weakened global economic and political position of the United States results not from the waning of its own powers but from the rapid rise of many other global players. The optimistic tone of his previous book, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, permeates this work. After 500 years of world dominance and following the decline of great states in other parts of the world, the Western powers are seeing countries such as China and India emerge as new and formidable rivals. Zakaria is sharply critical of the current U.S. presidential administration, citing its dysfunctional political stalemate and foreign and military policies that hinder adaptation to the current realities. He argues that it is incumbent upon the Western powers to adapt if they want to thrive instead of trying to reverse these realities, and he remains optimistic that they can change, as they have historically shown themselves able to do so. Zakaria's arguments are accessible to general readers, and his supporting data are not overwhelming to digest. Most libraries will want this. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]
—Marcia L. Sprules

Kirkus Reviews
Pity the poor think-tanked neocons: Just a moment ago, the talk was of empire and the new world order, and now, it seems, America's day in the sun is about to grow cold. Newsweek International editor Zakaria (The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, 2003, etc.), born in India and a longtime resident of New York, seems unconcerned that his adopted country is sailing down the tubes: "This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else." He enumerates: Macao takes in more gambling revenue than Las Vegas, the biggest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore, Bollywood has surpassed Hollywood. Even as the global population grows, the number of those living in extreme poverty is falling, at least in three-quarters of the world's nations. Even after 9/11, the author notes, the world economy "grew at its fastest rate in nearly four decades." Inflation exceeds 15 percent only in a dozen-odd failed states such as Burma and Zimbabwe, and fewer and fewer people are dying in wars or spasms of political violence than ever. That all should be good news to globalists, and it's comforting to know, as Zakaria helpfully points out, that Iran spends less than a penny for every dollar we spend on the military. Yet the United States has dawdled, economically speaking, as China, India and other nations have skyrocketed. It helps, Indians note, that the Chinese government, the commander of that nation's command economy, hasn't really had to respond to public opinion, though even that is changing. The good news? By Zakaria's account, America's strength will lie in freedom and diversity-and the post-American era may not last all that long, sinceAmerica's population is growing, and growing younger, while the demographics of Asia and Europe are largely pointing to older populations and, in time, fewer workers. A sharp, well-written work of political economy.
From the Publisher
"A definitive handbook for political and business leaders who want to succeed in a global era." — Walter Isaacson author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393334807
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/4/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 142,469
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, best-selling author of The Post-American World and The Future of Freedom, and a columnist for the Washington Post. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

1 The Rise of the Rest 1

2 The Cup Runneth Over 6

3 A Non-Western World? 49

4 The Challenger 87

5 The Ally 129

6 American Power 167

7 American Purpose 215

Notes 261

Acknowledgments 269

Index 273

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

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(26)

4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2008

    BAD ANALYSIS TRUMPETS A THESIS FIFTY YEARS TOO EARLY

    Fareed Zakaria rose to prominence on account of the terrible Sept 11 tragedies, he the rare Muslim journalist at the top levels of the American press. Through this book he seeks to broaden his claim to expertise, not merely as an analyst of the war on terrorism but as a seer in every sense. For that ambition alone, this book is fatally flawed. It attempts a subject so stupendous that even a lifelong expert like Paul Kennedy came up short with his 'Rise and Fall of Great Powers.' So Fareed surely does, especially since his commentary on the Iraq war was dead wrong to begin with and has only turned critical once the country became so. Yet the writing is fluid, flowing far better and faster than any writer other than Thomas Friedman. The book covers the rise of India, China, and the 'rest.' It never really focuses on other countries though, but gives a lot of hard evidence of how and why the world has speeded up its growth and how and why the US is falling behind. Not because Americans are doing something wrong but because the rest of the world is doing so much right. The book is well written and likely to be popular and in all probability will end up on college curriculums, much like Thomas Friedman and Howard Zinn and Niall Ferguson have. Yet it is flawed to the point of being dangerous and is so for the following reasons. 1. It stands to teach political economy to millions of people who shall never take a class in political economy. So they would never realize that the author lacks the big picture thinking which the great historians and political economists usually have. Fatally, he compares the 'Rise of the Rest' with the 'rise of the United States' and the 'rise of the Western World.' There is a problem here. The US rose upon a stunning technological revolution which it itself produced, at home, starting with the telegraph, telephone, airplane, the radio, the TV and the Internet. Neither China nor India nor Egypt has ever produced any substantial technology except body shopping. Some have cited about how mathematics was invented in India but so was much invented in Rome. There is no reason to go back thousands of years to prove a country's genius. All that matters is what they do today. To this date, there is no evidence that a power can rise without such innovative intrinsic achievements. AND IT MUST DO THAT ON ITS OWN AT HOME. In that sense then, China and India are more like Spain, building palaces out of the gold of the New World, and headed to become like Japan, rich and capable but rarely a leader in any domain. That is a lesson of political economy Fareed Zakaria should have read before embarking on this book. 2. Fareed Zakaria obviously reads vigorously and cuts newspaper articles voraciously. That is obvious in his sources and anecdotes. But those are really clumsy ways to attempt a subject so significant as the rise and fall of nations. Here may I recommend Paul Kennedy's Rise and Fall of Great Empires for the historical perspective and if one must know about the Rise of the Rest then all the books on 'Chindia,' any one of which is better than this one. Those books focus on what the ground reality is, which is impressive, without jumping to strategic insights which are off the mark. 3. The author lacks perspective. Yes China's Macao is bigger than America's Las Vegas, but who but the poor of the world ever go to Macao. Yes India has the world's largest refinery, but the machinery and technology is all bought from the West. Yes Dubai is building the world's tallest building, but who cares, Silicon Valley has no building taller than 20 stories! Yes Singapore has the largest Ferris Wheel, but they are copying American culture. Yes a Mexican is the world's richest man but his cell phone empire has never produced a half way decent cell phone or transmission technology. Yes India has more billionaire's than any country outside the US, and no Fareed, you have it wrong, few if any are self made. I r

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2008

    even better than his last book!

    A lot of books have been appearing recently about the rise of China and India, the decline of the United States, and so forth. This is the one to read, and the one that will last. Zakaria's last book was about 'The Future of Freedom,' a study of liberalism and democracy. This new one--which is even better, I think--is about the shape of the emerging international system. It's called 'The Post-American World,' but a better title would have been the one he gives his first chapter, 'The Rise of the Rest.' That's because Zakaria's central thesis is that the world is changing, but the change is largely for the better and caused by the benign development of other power centers, not some collapse or decline of the United States. The biggest challenge for America, he argues, is not terrorism or nuclear proliferation or a rising China, but rather our own ability to adapt successfully to the new environment. He favors confidence and openness rather than insecurity and barriers, and makes a convincing case. The book has chapters on each of the major international players, and they're really well done: amazingly, he manages to paint a full portrait of, say, China or India that is intelligent, succinct, subtle, and comprehensive all at once. If you want to get a flavor of what the book has to offer, there's an article based on it in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, and there should be another one coming out in Newsweek too, apparently. The man might be a superachieving bigshot, but he sure can write--each page is lively and interesting. So forget the angry neocons, the wild-eyed optimists, the gloom-and-doom pessimists, and the glib amateurs who don't really know anything. Read this instead, and get insight into what's actually going in the world and what should be done about it. Plus, there's just a ton of fun little nuggets you'll be itching to drop in every conversation you have about anything related.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Interesting

    An interesting read and an interesting concept on the readjustment of world powers. I found it to be repetitive and wordy. Could have been shorter and still have delivered the same message.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    Great Book

    Zakaria is a wonderful writer and I have read two of his previous books. While I generally agree with his premise regarding the emerging economies of India and China, I think he gives short shrift to social factors in both countries (caste prejudice in India, massive rural vs urban income disparity in both countries, immature property rights, basic freedoms and legal business structures in China) that can serve to limit their growth. I think China has more to worry about on this score than India. This book is especially enlightening if read along with Zakaria's "The Future of Freedom". I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes a very balanced discussion of the coming economics of this century.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A very interesting premise, somewhat dulled by uninspired writing

    Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed this book. Its discussion of the "rise of the rest" is very timely and quite interesting. Zakaria does an excellent job laying out the research for his vision of the global future, but it's a double-edged sword. I appreciate books that are well-researched, but this one read in parts like a list of facts. I'm pretty sure there's an entire paragraph that's just statistics. Also, the chapter topics are somewhat vague, and I occasionally found my self re-reading to figure out what was going on. Still, it's a really interesting idea, and I recommend it, with reservations. Consider picking up a copy and flipping through it before you decide if it's right for you.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    save your money

    So far I am reading the second chapter in this book and I am doing so with a New Yorker's skepticism. Might as well sat down with the newstand vendor at the subway station on my way to work this morning and listen to his insight on world economy. 'Changes even sea changes take place gradually,' I read in the first chapter. By using these comparison, Zakaria should try selling me a bridge next. I am grateful I read the previous reviewer's comment, who articulated an excellent rebuttal FREE of charge, much better than the hardcover price. AHH the economy!! Still, I offer 3 stars for asking an important question about the USA's current status from an international vewpoint. I'll seek else where for answers.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2009

    Compelling view of world change

    If only a small portion of the world leaders understood history and finance like Mr Zakaria, we could all steer well clear of the troubles that plague us today. This should be required reading for every congressman, ambassador and financier who needs to undertstand the "world-view" of cultural differences and how they drive the details of an international government based on a Western model. A perfect primer for the any-man approach to understanding how and why the world changes, empires rise and fall, how history is made and what America has to do to retain it's title as a Superpower.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    Very interesting read that gets you thinking.

    I found this a very well written book that opened my thoughts. I found myself going on line to do additional reading and research. Good read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    America "Took It's Eye off the Ball"

    "The rise of the rest" is the central theme of Zakaria's book. In this post-Cold War era, America has fumbled in it's role as the sole super power. How this evolved is the essense of Zakaria's writing in a rather slow build-up of the majority of the book. But the real thought-provoking point of the entire book is well captured in the final chapter where America's Purpose is defined in real present terms. Globalization has been developing since the early 90's yet America appears to have been distracted, lethargic, and without a clear course as to how to lead in these new challenging times. I found Zakaria's 6 points "of light" for America to be the essense of the entire book. They appear to blend both "soft & hard" power in a fashion that befits America correctly today under our present White House leadership. Zakaria views America as the "global broker" at a time when vast numbers of other countries are evolving into effective, skilled players in politics, economics, and military presence. I found his incite to be very enlightening and intellectually stimulating. A good read on a topic and in a time of competing nationalisms! I strongly recommend a companion book on this same subject that to me was better; "America and the World" by David Ignatius.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent analysis of a very important subject

    An excellent book about how the "rise of the rest" (China, India and other nations in the developing world) impacts the world and the US position in it. Often books like these skew towards bashing the US and painting a overly dim view of us as Americans and our future. However, in this case Zakaria does an excellent job of explaining how the US came to dominate the world politically, economically and militarily and what aspects of our national character and culture can be harnessed to return our country to that position.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    Just half f the story, as usual

    Chomsky has the answers. This guy works for the corporate news media...

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    Overrated

    This guy is severely overraated as a writer and analyst of current events

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Zakaria is a great global thinker. His analysis, backed up with facts and figures, presents a picture of the world many of us struggle to see. This work is a must-have for anyone interested in international relations

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    Insightful

    Highly recommended.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Must Read for all Concerned US Citizens

    This is a must read for all concerned US citizens. It is especially useful for those investing for the future, and for anyone who is engaged politically, and is an intelligent voting individual--so many voters in the USA are uninformed, or badly informed. I highly recommend all of his editorials, books, and commentaries.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    This book is particularly of interest to those wishing to learn more about the progress or lack thereof of India and China.

    Mr. Zakaria's brilliance never ceases to amaze. With his writing skills in a language hardly his first, he is able to take a difficult subject and render it understandable to anyone willing to exert even moderate attention and thought.

    I wouldn't recommend this book to just any Book Group, especially those which prefer novels, for surely it's not fiction. However, for the thoughtful reader concerned about the direction the world is taking generally, and the largest countries in particular, it's a gift which I have recommended to several friends/kinfolk.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating, well written, thought provoking!

    Mr. Zakaria's writing style is fluid and easily absorbed.
    He is thoughtful and thorough in his presentation.
    Mr. Zakaria provokes thinking.
    The breadth of his material connects past with present conditions with care and respect.
    Masterfully written.
    A must read for those interested in rounding out their perspective of our current transitional historical moment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read for those who want to understand America's importance in todays world.

    An important and intelligent analysis of America's leadership role in global affairs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    great Work!

    Excellent research and written with a clear vision.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Fareed does a very good job

    I like Fareed because he knows what he is talking about because he does his research and gets his point across in a fashion that can be understood by the average person. I like that. Instead of trying to show the public what a wide vocabulary he has he writes simply and inspires me to read more on the subject as well as more of his writings.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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