The Age of the Unthinkable : Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It
Today the very ideas that made America great imperil its future. Our plans go awry and policies fail. History's grandest war against terrorism creates more terrorists. Global capitalism, intended to improve lives, increases the gap between rich and poor. Decisions made to stem a financial crisis guarantee its worsening. Environmental strategies to protect species lead to their extinction.
The traditional physics of power has been replaced by something radically different. In The Age of the Unthinkable, Joshua Cooper Ramo puts forth a revelatory new model for understanding our dangerously unpredictable world. Drawing upon history, economics, complexity theory, psychology, immunology, and the science of networks, he describes a new landscape of inherent unpredictability--and remarkable, wonderful possibility.
Former foreign editor of Time, Ramo pushes the reader into uncomfortable yet exhilarating places with controversial ways of thinking about global challenges (e.g., studying why Hezbollah is the most efficiently run Islamic militant group). His book, which lays bare the flaws in current thinking on everything from American political influence to the economy, is designed to "change the physics of the way we think." Analyzing the failure of the Bush administration's "Democratic Peace Theory" and the fruitless efforts at a Mideast peace process, Ramo suggests that people must "change the role they imagine for themselves from architects of a system they can control to gardeners in a living ecosystem." Ramo's message-that "the most dynamic forces emerge from outside elite circles": "geeks," iconoclasts and maligned populations-is persuasively argued. And while the author doesn't explicitly offer up solutions, he goads readers to approach problems in unexpected ways. His revelatory work argues that there must be some audacity in thinking before there can be any audacity of hope. (Apr.)
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Little, Brown and Company
March 22, 2009
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