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A Country Is Not a Company (Harvard Business Review Classics) [Paperback]

Paul Krugman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2009 Harvard Business Review Classics
Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman argues that business leaders need to understand the differences between economic policy on the national and international scale and business strategy on the organizational scale. Economists deal with the closed system of a national economy, whereas executives live in the open-system world of business. Moreover, economists know that an economy must be run on the basis of general principles, but businesspeople are forever in search of the particular brilliant strategy. Krugman's article serves to elucidate the world of economics for businesspeople who are so close to it and yet are continually frustrated by what they see.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422133400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422133408
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 10.7 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 299,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Krugman writes a twice-weekly column for the op-ed page of the New York Times. A winner of the John Bates Clark Medal who was also named Columnist of the Year by Editor and Publisher magazine, he teaches economics at Princeton University.

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Krugman is a op-ed columnist for the The New York Times a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small can be beautiful 16 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is more of an essay than a book; but it is a very well argued and accurate thought provoking piece that achieves its goal of shattering the illusion that countries are analogous to companies.

Despite the specialist nature of the topic, it is also very accessible and someone with even the most basic financial knowledge will be able to understand the arguments.

Despite being very expensive for the numbers of words and pages, it still represents excellent value! That said, if you have access to an academic library, you'll be able to dig it up for free in the physical or on-line archives of the Harvard Business Review!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise 19 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
A Country is not a Company is the kind of provocative book that makes you think again.
Most of its stuff goes against your common sense, but when you work it up, it makes sense. It makes economic sense, although not always «no-nonsense sense».
It is a very small booklet, really more of an essay; you can read in one hour. If economics interests you, it is a well spent one hour.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a brief essay - 5,000 words, formatted for easy reading - by the Nobel-winning economist. It originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 1996, but the passage of time has not dated it.

In brief, Krugman's argument is that expertise in business does not translate into expertise in the government of a national - or, by implicit extension, a global - economy. His argument hinges on characterising businesses as open systems and economies as closed systems, and the body of knowledge necessary to understand the latter as significantly more technical and complex than the skills required to prosper in the former.

Krugman's argument is persuasive. This little book - postcard sized, and 55 pages rather than the advertised 64, of which only 50 constitute the article itself - should be required reading for British politicians hypnotised by the rhetoric of charismatic businessmen - and perhaps for businessmen overconfident that mastery of a successful company will give them automatic insight into matters of national finance and economic strategy.

It has to be said that I found the book poor value for money even at the discounted price - it took me less than forty minutes to read. Compare, for example, Penguin's publication of Tyler Cowan's The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History,Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better:A Penguin eSpecial from Dutton - similar quality, three times the length yet barely half the price.

My four star rating is therefore a compromise between five stars for content and three for presentation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Says it all in the title. Some economic concepts, but the gist is clear after reading this short manuscript: countries are open systems and cannot be run like businesses (closed systems). It's explained in the book.
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