Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance

"Parag Khanna makes a powerful argument: The world can be smarter than the sum of its parts. We need to pay attention to his ideas."

- Eric Schmidt, Chairman, Google -



The world is entering a perfect storm of calamities: a great game for scarce natural resources, financial instability, environmental stress, and failing states. In some respects, it isn’t far off from that medieval landscape of almost a millennium ago. It is a multi-polar, multi-civilizational world in which every empire, city-state, multi-national corporation or mercenary army is out for itself. Esteemed adventurer-scholar Parag Khanna’s How to Run the World is a bold account of our current global chaos and a road-map for creating a truly resilient and stable world.


How to Run the World tackles our spiraling complexity head on, yet paints a hopeful picture that our scary, turbulent, and unpredictable new Middle Ages can be turned into another Renaissance if we harness the power of today’s governments, multinational firms, NGOs, philanthropists, celebrities, entrepreneurs, innovators, and communities of the faithful to create new models of good governance. It is their solidarity that will secure our future. This book is a fresh, bold, provocative—and most importantly realistic—guide to getting us there.

– Greg Mortenson Author of Three Cups of Tea

By exhorting leaders to make use of new, open technologies that encourage more diverse and dynamic marketplaces, Parag Khanna makes a powerful argument: the world can become smarter than the sum of its parts. We need to pay attention to his ideas.

– Eric Schmidt CEO of Google

Parag Khanna has vision.

– Nicholas Nassim Taleb Author ofThe Black Swan

Sweeping, fascinating, provocative—and some may find it irritating. Call it what you will, but you must read it. There’s no book like it.

– John G. Ruggie Professor at Harvard University

New America Foundation senior research fellow Khanna (The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order, 2008) calls for a new “mega-diplomacy” to solve problems in a period of global uncertainty. Diplomats have long negotiated how to run the world, writes the author. In ancient Sumerian city-states, they channeled the messages of deities among kings. In modern times, they have divvied up the globe after major wars. With no single power in control, today’s “fractured, fragmented, ungovernable” post–Cold War world demands a new kind of diplomacy based on coalitions of governments, corporations and civic actors. Empowered by the information revolution, writes Khanna, public and private partners can collaborate efficiently across national borders to meet such 21st-century challenges as terrorism, the AIDS epidemic and climate change. Key practitioners of this new diplomacy include the entrepreneurs, academics, activists, celebrities and others who have worked in unusual and collaborative ways to achieve such goals as a landmine ban, debt relief and the International Criminal Court. They range from Bill and Melinda Gates to luminaries like Bono and Angelina Jolie—all individuals with resources and influence—and include NGOs like the Open Society Institute, which shapes important global questions; the World Economic Forum, “archetype of the new diplomacy,” which brings diverse players together on equal footing at annual summits; and the Clinton Global Initiative, which fosters cross-sector partnerships among leaders in politics, business and civil society. Khanna suggests ways in which the new diplomacy can help spur fresh approaches in problem areas—encouraging greater intelligence cooperation on terrorism among countries, giving Somali fishermen incentives to not engage in piracy (such as new boats to boost their catch) and convincing regimes in Iran and North Korea that they don’t need nuclear programs. In the environmental arena, meaningful public-private initiatives spurred by the new diplomacy can have far more impact than international agreements, he writes. For a model of mega-diplomacy, the author points to Europe, where members of the borderless European Union are experimenting and cooperating to meet shared challenges. A valuable contribution to the global-governance debate

– Kirkus Reviews

Today’s crises—from financial instability to natural disasters—require solutions that are bold but also pragmatic. In How to Run the World, Parag Khanna delivers both. G-20 leaders and corporate executives need to urgently read this book and learn how to really move beyond business as usual.

– Klaus Schwab Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

Khanna writes clearly, with conviction and charm, and his neomedieval metaphor is intriguing.

– Publisher’s Weekly

A dizzyingly informed world tour.

– Fortune

The term 'sweeping' hardly does justice to the ambition of Parag Khanna... Makes the pulse race.

– The Economist

A wide-ranging book rejecting often impractical dreams of global frameworks in favour of local initiatives combined with regional solutions. Khanna proposes redrawing historical artificial national boundaries within regional blocks. He gives many exciting examples of non-state initiatives addressing issues from human rights and healthcare to corruption and microfinance.

– Sir Mark Moody-Stuart Former Group CEO, Royal Dutch Shell, and former Chairman, Anglo American

In this provocative book, Parag Khanna turns on its head much of the assumed reality of 21st century power. He suggests that in almost every way modern life is now a retreat to medievalism. Governments no longer have a monopoly on high policy and running countries; NGOs are increasingly more effective; corporations are the new glue. He identifies a new technologically enabled ‘mega-diplomacy’ operating across almost every community which is creating new unity and marginalizing ideology. Rather than being perfect, it is a new form of accommodation. The concern in this medievalist world is: Who now has the responsibility? Parag Khanna goes a long way to suggesting answers that many will find uncomfortable.

– Nik Gowing BBC World



Other Books By Parag

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