How to Run the World Book Summary - How to Run the World Book explained in key points
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How to Run the World summary

Parag Khanna

Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance

3.7 (128 ratings)
16 mins
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    How to Run the World
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    The world is a chaotic whirlwind and changing this requires rethinking diplomacy.

    Wouldn’t it be great if every element of society just worked in perfect harmony all the time?

    For the vast majority of us, the answer is an obvious “yes,” but thanks to self-interest, the world currently functions more like a mosh pit at a rock concert than a well-oiled machine.

    Just consider all the different actors at play, all pursuing their own interests. There’s the Global North, the Global South, politicians, academics, multinational corporations and religious groups, just to name a few. Nobody’s totally innocent in this chaotic hodgepodge, and everyone may seem suspect

    Each of the actors is so ambitious that their interactions invariably result in massive power struggles. That’s why a mosh pit is such a good comparison: all these different forces are wildly, sometimes even violently, moving around, colliding into each other.

    Obviously, that’s no way to run the world. To change the situation, we need a new diplomatic system, a Mega-Diplomacy that makes every influential force negotiate and work together with every other.

    But before we get there, let’s first talk about diplomacy in general.

    The concept of diplomacy has existed for millennia. In fact, the ancient Mesopotamians, who lived in what is now Iraq, used diplomacy to convey important messages from the divine from one city-state to another.

    Later, the ancient Greeks turned diplomacy into a tool for engaging in trade and politics. And much later, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, diplomacy became a secretive process of negotiation, carried out by the ultra-powerful in dark, smoke-filled rooms.

    It’s important to know this history because, of course, that’s not the type of diplomacy being called for here. In the modern world, especially with emergent technologies, diplomacy is far more than a means of negotiation and a defense against war.

    For diplomacy to be mega is for it to be a complex web that connects a vast array of actors who work together to create a better future. But who are these mega diplomats? That’s what we’ll cover next.

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    What is How to Run the World about?

    How to Run the World (2011) is a guide to diplomacy in today’s chaotic world. These blinks paint a picture of how a new kind of diplomacy can make the world a better place, exploring the potential for new and meaningful partnerships across borders and sectors.

    Best quote from How to Run the World

    Identity crises occur . . . when a society abandons one set of values without agreeing on the next.

    —Parag Khanna
    example alt text

    Who should read How to Run the World?

    • Students of public policy and geopolitics
    • Anyone interested in history and politics
    • People worried about the state of international diplomacy

    About the Author

    Parag Khanna is a global strategist, theorist and the best-selling author of Connectography (2016) and Technocracy in America (2017). He’s an expert on future geopolitics, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

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