The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be

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Overview


We know that power is shifting: From West to East and North to South, from presidential palaces to public squares, from once formidable corporate behemoths to nimble startups and, slowly but surely, from men to women. But power is not merely shifting and dispersing. It is also decaying. Those in power today are more constrained in what they can do with it and more at risk of losing it than ever before.

In The End of Power, award-winning columnist and former Foreign Policy ...

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Overview


We know that power is shifting: From West to East and North to South, from presidential palaces to public squares, from once formidable corporate behemoths to nimble startups and, slowly but surely, from men to women. But power is not merely shifting and dispersing. It is also decaying. Those in power today are more constrained in what they can do with it and more at risk of losing it than ever before.

In The End of Power, award-winning columnist and former Foreign Policy editor Moisés Naím illuminates the struggle between once-dominant megaplayers and the new micropowers challenging them in every field of human endeavor. Drawing on provocative, original research, Naím shows how the antiestablishment drive of micropowers can topple tyrants, dislodge monopolies, and open remarkable new opportunities, but it can also lead to chaos and paralysis. Naím deftly covers the seismic changes underway in business, religion, education, within families, and in all matters of war and peace. Examples abound in all walks of life: In 1977, eighty-nine countries were ruled by autocrats while today more than half the world’s population lives in democracies. CEO’s are more constrained and have shorter tenures than their predecessors. Modern tools of war, cheaper and more accessible, make it possible for groups like Hezbollah to afford their own drones. In the second half of 2010, the top ten hedge funds earned more than the world’s largest six banks combined.

Those in power retain it by erecting powerful barriers to keep challengers at bay. Today, insurgent forces dismantle those barriers more quickly and easily than ever, only to find that they themselves become vulnerable in the process. Accessible and captivating, Naím offers a revolutionary look at the inevitable end of power—and how it will change your world.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Gordon M. Goldstein
…analytically sophisticated…Naim's highly original, inter-disciplinary meditation on the degeneration of international power…makes a truly important contribution, persuasively portraying a compelling dynamic of change cutting across multiple game-boards of the global power matrix.
Publishers Weekly
Over the past few years, grassroots movements have redirected global conversations about power and rights, though the status quo in many cases has proved more resistant to change. Nevertheless, Naím (Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy) contends that traditional forms of power are being transformed and shifted onto new shoulders. Having served as editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy and the executive director of the World Bank, Naím knows better than most what power on a global scale looks like. He first guides readers through an understanding of “How Power Got Big,” before demonstrating the myriad ways in which the dominance of hierarchical organizations is eroding. Technological developments have empowered individuals to group together for the betterment of society, but they have also enabled extremists to wreak havoc with very few resources. “The implications of the decay of power are momentous and manifold,” Naím argues. He says that our best defense is to be prepared: we must eschew “dangerously antiquated” notions of power and shift our focus from rising to the top to “inhabit the middle of the curve in a time of massive and rapid change.” It’s a timely, insightful, and eloquent message. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, Sagalyn Literary. (Mar. 5)
Kirkus Reviews
Former Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Naím (Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats Are Hi-Jacking the Global Economy, 2006, etc.) argues that global institutions of power are losing their ability to command respect. Whether considering institutions of government, military, religion or business, the author believes their power to be in the process of decaying. He writes that a threefold revolution, characterized by "More, Mobility and Mentality," is challenging the existing model of power, and he explains his argument in concise terms: "More" is shorthand for more people, more countries and more wealth; "mobility" involves both physical migration between and within countries and includes the communications revolution; "mentality" refers to the increasing openness of people to rejecting the status quo (typified by the recent uprisings in the Middle East). Naím defines power as "the ability to direct or prevent the current or future actions of other groups and individuals," and he claims that it works through four different channels--the threat of force, codes of accepted behavior, persuasiveness, and incentives or rewards. The author suggests that coercive potentials are undermined by increasing numbers of people who are healthier and more informed, many of whom live in jurisdictions that are more porous, less deferential to authority and harder to police. Naím supplements this broader view with discussions of the decentralization of global business, changes in how wars are fought and similar current developments. A data-packed, intriguing analysis that is not entirely convincing.
From the Publisher

“Who is in charge? This book says nobody. The monopolies of coercion that characterised states, the potency of advanced militaries, the media organisations that controlled information, and the religious institutions that defined orthodoxy are all losing control. Readers may disagree; they will be provoked.”
Financial Times, Best of the Year

“It’s not just that power shifts from one country to another, from one political party to another, from one business model to another, Naim argues; it’s this: “Power is decaying.”
—Gordon M. Goldstein, Washington Post, Notable Non-Fiction Book of the Year

“A remarkable new book by the remarkable Moises Naim, the former editor of Foreign Policy. It was recommended to me by former president Bill Clinton during a brief conversation on the situation in Egypt.”
—Richard Cohen, Washington Post

"In his new book called The End of Power, Moises Naim goes so far as to say that power is actually decaying. I actually find the argument rather persuasive."
—General Martin Dempsey-Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

"I particularly enjoyed The End of Power by Moisés Naim.... It is particularly relevant for big institutions like GE."
—Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE

“[An] altogether mind-blowing and happily convincing treatise about how 'power is becoming more feeble, transient, and constrained.'"
—Nick Gillespie, Barron's

“Moisés Naím’s The End of Power offers a cautionary tale to would-be Lincolns in the modern era. Naím is a courageous writer who seeks to dissect big subjects in new ways. At a time when critics of overreaching governments, big banks, media moguls and concentrated wealth decry the power of the '1%,' Mr. Naím argues that leaders of all types—political, corporate, military, religious, union—face bigger, more complex problems with weaker hands than in the past.”
—Wall Street Journal

“Analytically sophisticated…[a] highly original, inter-disciplinary meditation on the degeneration of international power… The End of Power makes a truly important contribution, persuasively portraying a compelling dynamic of change cutting across multiple game-boards of the global power matrix.”
—Washington Post

“This fascinating book...should provoke a debate about how to govern the world when more and more people are in charge.”
—Foreign Affairs

“Naím produces a fascinating account of the way states, corporations and traditional interest groups are finding it harder to defend their redoubts… (He) makes his case with eloquence.”
—Financial Times

“A timely and timeless book.”
—Booklist

“Having served as editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy and the executive director of the World Bank, Naím knows better than most what power on a global scale looks like…. [A] timely, insightful, and eloquent message.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Naím argues that global institutions of power are losing their ability to command respect. Whether considering institutions of government, military, religion or business, the author believes their power to be in the process of decaying…. A data-packed, intriguing analysis.”
Kirkus Reviews

The End of Power will change the way you read the news, the way you think about politics, and the way you look at the world.”
—William Jefferson Clinton

“In my own experience as president of Brazil I observed first hand many of the trends that Naím identifies in this book, but he describes them in a way that is as original as it is delightful to read. All those who have power—or want it—should read this book.”
—Fernando Henrique Cardoso

“Moisés Naím’s extraordinary new book will be of great interest to all those in leadership positions—business executives, politicians, military officers, social activists and even religious leaders. Readers will gain a new understanding of why power has become easier to acquire and harder to exercise. The End of Power will spark intense and important debate worldwide.”
—George Soros

“After you read The End of Power you will see the world through different eyes. Moisés Naím provides a compelling and original perspective on the surprising new ways power is acquired, used, and lost—and how these changes affect our daily lives."
—Arianna Huffington

“Moisés Naím is one of the most trenchant observers of the global scene. In The End of Power, he offers a fascinating new perspective on why the powerful face more challenges than ever. Probing into the shifting nature of power across a broad range of human endeavors, from business to politics to the military, Naím makes eye-opening connections between phenomena not usually linked, and forces us to re-think both how our world has changed and how we need to respond.”
—Francis Fukuyama

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465031566
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 302,016
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Moisés Naím is a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an internationally syndicated columnist. He served as editor in chief of Foreign Policy, as Venezuela’s trade minister, and as executive director of the World Bank.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2013

    Moises Naim's The End of Power is a well-written, creative and i

    Moises Naim's The End of Power is a well-written, creative and important contribution to our understanding of power. The only major concept I would change is to substitue the word "decay" with "decentralization" of power.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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