Whats influencing my thinking? Here are a few books that have taken
my fancy over the last few months. Dont forget to check out the
Friends section for more titles
authored by friends Ive read.
Brand New Justice: the Upside of Global Branding. Oxford: ButterworthHeinemann
2003. The year has gotten off to a fine start if we have
Simon Anholts book. This is one of the most significant to be written
about the branding industry and reading it is like seeing where my own thoughts
might be if I were as well-read as Simon. He recognizes that the economic
miracles of many countries have not come about by free trade, but the development
of exported branded products. The aims of Brand New Justice are economic
democracy and humanitarian capitalism, which I endorse heartily. If you
plan to get only one branding book this first half of the year, make it
and Auckenthaler (tr. Carion and Carion): What If? Insights into Brand
Trends and the Birth of New Target Sectors. Paris: Passion4Brands
The English-language edition of Evrard and Auckenthaler does not disappoint
and I had no hesitation in recommending it and lending it out to close
friends who wanted to do some outside-the-box thinking. What If?
is an eye- and a mind-opener.
The two brand experts not only write about branding,
but the future trends that might emerge. But this is no mere book on futurology.
The authors give colourful examples, many of which are based on emerging
trends happening now. They are extrapolated further, prompting the reader
to ask, What if? Its done marvellously well and of all
the books on this page, most lavishly presented.
The closing pages are the most breathtaking in content
terms, because Evrard and Auckenthaler leap 25 years into the future and
paint optimistic scenarios that they say they will revisit in the next
edition of the book in May 2027. This is the stuff that the Gerry Anderson
world is built on and which we dont see enough of. Given the authors
backgrounds, you can bet on them considerably more than Cmdr Strakers
Visit their site at www.experts-consultant.fr,
from where you may order additional copies.
Matthews and Wacker: The Deviants Advantage: How Fringe Ideas
Create Mass Markets. New York: Crown Business 2002.
Slightly tougher to get through but the premise is clear from the beginning.
Still at the early chapters for me, but essentially Matthews and Wacker
discuss how ideas surface on the fringe and become mainstream over time.
And today, the fringe is being coopted by the establishment, because it
realizes thats where new things emerge.
Lewis: Next: the Future Just Happened. New York: W. W. Norton
Perhaps simplistic at times, Lewis shows how someusually the younghave
overcome limitations of age and class to realize their potential thanks
to the internet. In it is the story of Jonathan Lebed, the teenager who
bought and sold stock online and earned $800,000 in the processby
understanding that share prices are largely cobblers based on no fact
at all. Drags a little toward the end, but little gems pop out to inspire
you. Hard to put down for me, finished in about three sittings. And thats
the schedule of a CEO.
Mittelman: The Globalization Syndrome: Transformation and Resistance.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2000.
The best book on globalization Ive ever come across, Prof Mittelman
has provided properly researched, yet immensely readable and accessible,
information on his topic. Still one of my top references on the topicand
its darned hard to disagree with this level of research and clarity
on the subject. Worth every penny for anyone wanting to enter the globalization
debate; without it, folks are just street thugs. An ebook
is now available.
Brenner: The Force of Finance: Triumph of the Capital Markets.
New York: Texere 2002.
In a frank fashion, Brenner traces the roots of democracy and globalization,
and while the latter has been covered better elsewhere (Mittelman's The
Globalization Syndrome, for instance), his style is more accessible. Singaporean
investments into Indonesia have benefited both countries, not because
of capitalism, but because mobility and the transfer of talent allows
citizens to be fulfilled in their endeavours, creating a global class.
This can be done because both the traveller and the host country have
a mutual duty.
The best chapters are where Brenner analyses financial
principles—and courageously and rightly debunks much of the outright lies
governments and reserve banks tell about economies. When economies do
not work, government's first instinct is to mask the trouble through rhetoric.
There is institutionalization, including in education (and specifically,
the education of economics), that prevents progress but solidifies power
bases which may have become irrelevant; innovation can be helped instead
by capital that comes from diverse sources. In saying this, Brenner puts
a historical context on even more recent happenings such as the dot-com
boom. And provides a basis for the return of the word agelaste, originating
from the Greek and meaning someone with no sense of humour. There are
many out there preventing modern progress.
Brenner exposes the truth, making The Force of Finance
a must-read for anyone who wishes to cut through them. As a service to
the reader, Brenner goes beyond this central topic, providing useful pointers
on policy and potential avenues for countries to follow in the future.
Those comments make for good reading in any discipline, which can undoubtedly
draw parallels to many of the things that Brenner discusses.