You may download a PDF file of the most up-to-date Booklist here.
Bergsten, C. Fred; Freeman, Charles; Lardy, Nicholas R.; Mitchell, Derek (2009), China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities. Peterson.
“This is the best single book on China, and I use it to prepare for all my trips to that country.” ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Adviser.
China has emerged as an economic powerhouse (projected to have the largest economy in the world in a little over a decade) and is taking an ever-increasing role on the world stage. China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities is designed to help the United States better comprehend the facts and dynamics underpinning China’s rise, which is an understanding that becomes more and more important with each passing day. Additionally, the authors suggest actions both countries can take that will not only maximize the opportunities for China’s constructive integration into the international community but also help form a domestic consensus that will provide a stable foundation for such policies. Filled with facts for policymakers, this much-anticipated book’s narrative-driven, accessible style will appeal to the general reader. The expert judgments in this book paint a picture of a China confronting domestic challenges that are in many ways side effects of its economic successes, while simultaneously trying to take advantage of the foreign policy benefits of those same successes. From Publisher.
Clinton, Bill. (2011) Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy. Knopf.
President Bill Clinton gives us his views on the challenges facing the United States today and why government matters—presenting his ideas on restoring economic growth, job creation, financial responsibility, resolving the mortgage crisis, and pursuing a strategy to get us “back in the future business.” He explains how we got into the current economic crisis, and offers specific recommendations on how we can put people back to work, increase bank lending and corporate investment, double our exports, restore our manufacturing base, and create new businesses. From Publisher.
New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani, writes: “Bill Clinton’s new book, “Back to Work,” is really several books in one slender volume. It’s a lucid one-man rebuttal of the Tea Party’s anti-government agenda. A series of shrewd talking points for Democrats trying to hold on to the White House and battling for control of Congress in the midst of a sour economy and growing voter discontent. A self-serving reminder of the prosperity the country enjoyed during Mr. Clinton’s tenure in the White House, meant to burnish his legacy. And a practical set of proposals — some borrowed and some new, some innovative and some highly sketchy — for restoring economic growth and creating jobs.” [to lead our way back to leadership in a multiglobal world.] From NYT, 11/07/11.
Cole, Jonathan. (2010) The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected. Public Affairs.
“An elegant, comprehensive examination of how American universities became the best in the world, and why research matters….A sound, enthusiastic look at the crucial vitality of the American university system.” From Kirkus review.
Drew, David. (2011). STEM the Tide: Reforming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in America. Johns Hopkins.
One study after another shows American students ranking behind their international counterparts in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. Businesspeople such as Bill Gates warn that this alarming situation puts the United States at a serious disadvantage in the high-tech global marketplace of the twenty-first century, and President Obama places improvement in these areas at the center of his educational reform. What can be done to reverse this poor performance and to unleash America’s wasted talent? From Publisher.
Emmott, Bill. (2009). Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India, and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade. Mariner Books.
The former editor in chief of the Economist, shows how closely intertwined by their fierce competition for influence, markets, resources, and strategic advantage, China, India, and Japan are shaping the world to come. Emmott explores the ways in which their sometimes bitter rivalry will play out over the next decade — in business, global politics, military competition, and the environment — and reveals the efforts of the United States to turn the situation to its advantage as these three powerful nations vie for dominance. This revised and updated edition of Rivals is an indispensable guide for anyone wishing to understand Asia’s swiftly changing political and economic scene. From Publisher.
Friedman, George. (2011) The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been . . . and Where We’re Going. Doubleday.
Friedman focuses on the next decade and the imminent events and challenges that will test America and the world, specifically addressing the skills that will be required by the decade’s leaders.
The next ten years will be a time of massive transition. The wars in the Islamic world will be subsiding, and terrorism will become something we learn to live with. China will be encountering its crisis. We will be moving from a time when financial crises dominate the world to a time when labor shortages will begin to dominate. The new century will be taking shape in the next decade.
Friedman, Thomas L. & Mandelbaum, Michael. (2011). That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, analyze those challenges: Globalization, The revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and Its pattern of energy consumption……and spell out what we need to do now to rediscover America and rise to this moment. From Publisher.
Galbraith, James K. (2008). The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too. Free Press.
Galbraith offers his views on the gap between conservative ideology and its use and abuse to cover up the George W. Bush administration’s Predator State, which takes advantage of the public sector and undermines public institutions for private profit. Galbraith reports that although most academics have abandoned conservative principles such as free trade, deregulation, and tax cuts for the wealthy, politicians from both parties continue to advance policies that, in reality, have turned regulatory agencies over to business lobbies, allowed the subprime mortgage foreclosures and banking crisis, and created Medicare’s drug plan, which legislates monopoly pricing for drug companies. Galbraith’s solutions include planning (contending that the U.S. does not plan); standards for wages, product and occupational safety, and the environment; and stabilizing financial and security policy. Not everyone will agree with Galbraith’s progressive beliefs, but he offers an important perspective in this thought-provoking book written in plain English. Excellent resource for library patrons. From Booklist, by Mary Whaley.
Garland, James C. (2011) Saving Alma Mater: A Rescue Plan for America’s Public Universities. U.Chicago.
America’s public universities educate 80% of our nation’s college students. But in the wake of rising demands on state treasuries, changing demographics, growing income inequality, and legislative indifference, many of these institutions have fallen into decline. Tuition costs have skyrocketed, class sizes have gone up, the number of courses offered has gone down, and the overall quality of education has decreased significantly. Garland offers much-needed blueprint for reform based on his experiences as the head of Miami University of Ohio. From Publisher.
Ikenberry, G. John, Knock, Thomas, Slaughter, Anne-Marie, Smith, Tony. The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century. (2009) Princeton University Press.
Was George W. Bush the true heir of Woodrow Wilson, the architect of liberal internationalism? Was the Iraq War a result of liberal ideas about America’s right to promote democracy abroad? In this timely book, four distinguished scholars of American foreign policy discuss the relationship between the ideals of Woodrow Wilson and those of George W. Bush. The Crisis of American Foreign Policy exposes the challenges resulting from Bush’s foreign policy and ponders America’s place in the international arena.
Addressing current events in the context of historical policies, this book considers America’s position on the global stage and what future directions might be possible for the nation. Joseoh Nye adds the following: “Is Woodrow Wilson’s legacy still alive in American foreign policy? Has the Iraq War discredited intervention for liberal purposes? These are key questions for the next president and they are debated here by some of our best thinkers. This book makes a fascinating read.”
Jacques, Martin. (2009). When China Rules the World. The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Penguin.
According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the position of world economic leader by 2050. But the full repercussions of China’s ascendancy-for itself and the rest of the globe-have been surprisingly little explained or understood. In this far-reaching and original investigation, Martin Jacques offers provocative answers to some of the most pressing questions about China’s growing place on the world stage. From Publisher.
Kaplan, Robert D. (2010). Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power. Random House.
On the world maps common in America, the Indian Ocean all but disappears. The Western Hemisphere lies front and center, while the Indian Ocean region is relegated to the edges, split up along the maps’ outer reaches. This convention reveals the geopolitical focus of the now-departed twentieth century, for it was in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters that the great wars of that era were lost and won. Thus, many Americans are barely aware of the Indian Ocean at all.
“Like the Monsoon itself, a cyclical weather system that is both destructive and essential for growth and prosperity, the rise of these countries (including India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Burma, Oman, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Tanzania) represent represents a shift in the global shift in the global balance that cannot be ignored. The Indian Ocean will be the true nexus of world power and conflict in the coming years. It is here that the fight for democracy, energy, independence, and religious freedom will be won or lost, and it is here that American foreign policy must concentrate if America us to remain dominant in an ever changing world. From Publisher.
Kissinger, Henry. (2011). On China. Penguin Press HC
In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book-length to a country he has known intimately for decades, and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. Drawing on historical records as well as his conversations with Chinese leaders over the past forty years, Kissinger examines how China has approached diplomacy, strategy, and negotiation throughout its history, and reflects on the consequences for the global balance of power in the 21st century. From publisher.
Henry Kissinger’s On China may very well know more about what we now believe will be our number one competitor.
Lagemann, Ellen Condliffe and Lewis, Harry.(2011) What is College For? The Public Purpose of Higher Education. Teachers College Press.
At a time when higher education attendance has never felt more mandatory for career success and economic growth, the distinguished contributors to this provocative collection ask readers to consider the civic mission of higher education as equally vital to the nation’s well-being. Should higher education serve a greater public interest? In what ways should colleges and universities be asked to participate in public controversies? What should we expect institutions of higher education to contribute to the development of honesty and ethical judgment in the civic sphere? What should colleges do to foster greater intellectual curiosity and aesthetic appreciation in their students and communities, and why is this important for all Americans?
Lessig, Lawrence. (2011) Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It. Twelve 1.
In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government – driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and that business interests wield control over our legislature. From publisher. Lessig is a Professor at Harvard’s Law School.
Lovins, Amory. (2011) Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era. Chelsea Green Publishing.
Lovins maps a robust path for integrating comprehensive energy solutions in four industries-transportation, buildings, electricity, and manufacturing-melding radically efficient energy use with reliable, secure, renewable energy supplies.
McGregor, Richard. (2010). The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers. Harper
McGregor, a journalist at the Financial Times, begins his revelatory and scrupulously reported book with a provocative comparison between China’s Communist Party and the Vatican for their shared cultures of secrecy, pervasive influence, and impenetrability. The author pulls back the curtain on the Party to consider its influence over the industrial economy, military, and local governments. McGregor describes a system operating on a Leninist blueprint and deeply at odds with Western standards of management and transparency. From Publishers Weekly.
For those of you interested in how a communist government can lead a huge nation to a global leadership position and influence, Richard McGregor’s, The Party, might be your choice.
Pillar, Paul R.. (2011) Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform. Columbia.
A career of nearly three decades with the CIA and the National Intelligence Council showed Pillar that intelligence reforms, especially measures enacted since 9/11, can be deeply misguided. They often miss the sources that underwrite failed policy and misperceive our ability to read outside influences. They also misconceive the intelligence-policy relationship and promote changes that weaken intelligence-gathering operations.
Pillar offers an original approach to better informing U.S. policy, which involves insulating intelligence management from politicization and reducing the politically appointed layer in the executive branch to combat slanted perceptions of foreign threats. Pillar concludes with principles for adapting foreign policy to inevitable uncertainties. From publisher.
Prestowitz, Clyde. (2010).The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era. Free Press.
Has the economic vitality of the U.S. eroded so much that it cannot compete effectively against China, India, and other fast-growing economies? Prestowitz, consultant and former U.S. trade negotiator, thinks so, and he explains why in this challenging description of America’s fall from world leadership. Included among his reasons are the decline of the dollar, which has been the world’s main currency for carrying out international transactions; the “decisive shift in the global balance of power—away from the United States and toward East Asia and Europe . . . Brazil, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia”; and the scores of products and technologies against which the U.S. cannot compete. Prestowitz offers suggestions for restoring competitiveness, including instituting tax reform to increase government revenue; substantially revaluing “a number of managed currencies versus the dollar and the euro. From Booklist, by Mary Whaley.
Rachman, Gideon. (2011). Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety. Simon & Schuster.
“In this lively chronicle of the last three decades, Rachman, a columnist for the Financial Times, argues that the 2008 financial crisis “changed the logic of international relations,” ushering in a new era marked by a dysfunctional world economy and intensifying “zero-sum” geopolitical rivalries. The optimistic post-Cold War era, when globalization, democracy, and U.S. leadership seemed to be lifting all boats and bringing the world together, is over. Rachman unfurls his narrative in a sequence of brief portraits of political leaders and public intellectuals — such as Deng Xiaoping, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Gates — who are emblematic of various features of the rapidly transforming global landscape.
The book points to the obvious problems that are unsettling the global system, including climate change, nuclear proliferation, failed states, and the failure of institutions such as the G-20 to foster cooperation and manage geoeconomic instability. As Rachman writes, these problems might be more tractable if the United States were still sufficiently dominant to impose solutions, but the shift of power and wealth toward Asia and the rise of a rival Chinese authoritarian capitalist system are undermining the coherence and stability of the current world order. Taking the long view, however, it is far from clear that world politics are, as he believes, more zero-sum now than in the past.” As quoted by John Ikenberry in Foreign Affairs.
Ravitch, Diane. (2010). The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Basic Books.
This so important as we review ways to align our public school system to what the needs of the 21st century will be. The book is worth reading on its own, but then used by a review group you select to sort out what’s best for us.
“Diane Ravitch is the rarest of scholars—one who reports her findings and conclusions, even when they go against conventional wisdom and even when they counter her earlier, publicly espoused positions. A ‘must’ read for all who truly care about American education.” ~ Comment by Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. President Clinton appointed her to the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees federal testing. From Publisher.
Richardson, Bill. (2007) Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution. Wiley.
In his 2007 quest for the Democratic nomination for president, Richardson offers a positive, practical vision of the future that will eliminate our nation’s crippling dependence on foreign oil, while rapidly cutting our climate-changing emissions. His program relies on new technologies and domestic energy sources, from renewables to efficiency and plug-in cars, that will grow the American economy while protecting our national security and restoring an oil-free foreign policy. He draws on his 15 years in the U.S. Congress, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as energy secretary in the Clinton administration, as well as his New Mexico governorship, and provides useful insights on leading our country in difficult times. From Publisher.
Rogoff, Kenneth Rogoff and Reinhart, Carmen M. (2009). This Time its Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton University Press.
Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing–and recovering–their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, “this time is different”–claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters.
This book proves that premise wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes–from medieval currency debasements to today’s subprime catastrophe. From Publisher.
Spence, Michael. (2011). The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
With the British Industrial Revolution, part of the world’s population started to experience extraordinary economic growth—leading to enormous gaps in wealth and living standards between the industrialized West and the rest of the world. This pattern of divergence reversed after World War II, and now we are midway through a century of high and accelerating growth in the developing world and a new convergence with the advanced countries—a trend that is set to reshape the world. From publisher.
Nobel Laureate Michael Spence, in The Next Convergence, presents a perspective on several previous global leading organizations – and how they rose and fell….and how we stand now. Although his interests also focus on what’s ahead for developing countries, his observations for us and other developed countries are equally relevant. His observations for developed countries and what’s ahead for us start mid-book, on chapter 23.
Walter, Carl, Fraser, Howie. (2011). Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise. Wiley
Looking forward, China’s response to the global financial crisis has created a banking system the stability of which can be maintained only behind the walls of a non-convertible currency, a myriad of off-balance sheet arrangements with non-public state entities and the strong support of its best borrowers–the politically potent National Champions–who are the greatest beneficiaries of the financial status quo.
China’s financial system is not a model for the west and, indeed, is not a sustainable arrangement for China itself as it seeks increasingly to assert its influence internationally. This is not a story of impending collapse, but of frustrated reforms that suggests that any full opening and meaningful reform of the financial sector is not, indeed cannot be, on the government’s agenda anytime soon. From Publisher.
Yergin, Daniel. (2011). The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. Penguin. (due late 9/11).
The romance with fossil fuels that the author chronicled in his 1993 Pulitzer-winning The Prize sours in this absorbing survey of the global energy industry and its environmental discontents. Yergin opens with an entertaining account of the last two decades of the oil-industry soap opera, recounting the chaos in the post-Soviet oil industry, the roller-coaster of oil price bubbles and collapses, and the impact of China’s voracious appetite on energy markets.
Enlivened with piquant historical background and profiles of major industry figures, Yergin’s treatment is a canny analysis of terrain he understands well. (His debunking of peak oil anxieties is especially trenchant.) The book’s second half examines the rise of global warming politics and the energy sources proposed as alternatives to carbon. Yergin’s coverage is evenhanded, encyclopedic, and readable, but his mastery of these complex issues is less confident; his tour of renewables, from wind to cellulosic ethanol and algae, lacks depth and sometimes repeats boosterish claims, while his chapter on energy efficiency focuses more on green gadgetry than on lifestyle patterns. Yergin’s perceptive, entertaining guide to the muddled quest for secure and sustainable energy lacks a systematic vision of how we might–or might not. From Publishers Weekly.
Zakaria, Fareed. (2011). The Post-American World, Release 2.0. Norton.
This updated and expanded edition of his original 2008 version of The Post-American World is essential reading even for those who read his first work.
The Post-American World, Release 2.0, points to the need for America to adopt new ways of doing business with the world, one that is based on “consultation, cooperation, and even compromise” as opposed to go-it-alone unilateralism. American success in the 21st century will depend on how these newly ascendant powers also will be integrated into existing institutions such as the G8, the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO.
Fareed Zakaria’s latest, The Post-American World, Release 2.0, provided the best overview of a possible world in which we might move. For years we were the global leader, not just in military power, but also in economics, politics, science and culture. Our influence was broad. Earlier our influence was high. But as countries such as China and others are rapidly developing, all that may change, particularly as a multipolar leadership world emerges, all as we struggle to recover from a huge financial crisis, which was mostly of our own making. Zakaria puts this all into perspective. His book is almost essential reading. He has all the top issues covered, but he may be too optimistic on how we and others might respond.
Some additional suggestions:
Kishore Mahbubani’s “The New Asian Hemisphere, The Irresistible Shift of Power to the East,” (2008) is a good refresher of how a leading Asian sees us and a changing world. And Bill Emmot’s “Rivals” (also 2008) explores all leadership possibilities. He was editor of The Economist.
Amy Chua’s World on Fire (2003) looks at the rise and fall of great powers. Paul Kennedy wrote in more detail on this subject in 1988. Chua also is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Margaret MacMillan‘s Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World (2007) is also excellent.
Joseph Stiglitz’s Making Globalization Work (2006) is also excellent, but is a more difficult read.
For a breather, try Peter Hessler’s Oracle Bones (2006).
Finally, we have been asked for recommendations on a book on intelligence. We select this one: Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy…just out. It’s by Paul Pillar. He served in several senior positions with the CIA and the National Intelligence Council and is a retired army reserve officer. Pillar spoke at the 2010 Camden Conference.
We have evaluated about 100 books that address issues relating to our conference and hope we have selected the best for you. Reader comments and suggestions are always welcomed: [email protected], your program Committee’s booklist editor.