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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 The traditional physics of power has been replaced by something radically different.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.
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About the Author

Joshua Cooper Ramo is Managing Director and a partner at Kissinger Associates, one of the world's leading strategic advisory firms. Prior to joining Kissinger Associates, he was Assistant Managing Editor of Time and worked in the advisory and banking business in China.

Reviews

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, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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

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