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Standing on the Sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Meyer , Julia Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

For half a century the US has sat at the center of the global economic system, and Western-style capitalism has dominated. Now, it's no secret that the center of gravity is shifting. The advanced economies that in 2000 consumed 75% of the world's output will, by 2050, consume just 32%. Meanwhile, the emerging economies of the world--Brazil, India, China, and others--will surge forward.

As these fast-growing, low-income economies mature, will they adopt the practices of the old guard? Or will they make their own way, and create the next prevailing version of capitalism? What new opportunities will that create for firms around the world?

Standing on the Sun tackles these questions with fresh ideas and provocative examples. Based on firsthand observations of companies defying capitalism's old rules yet prospering, the authors outline new principles for commercial success. Among them:

· The obsession with return on equity gives way to more broad-based measurements of success.

· Adam Smith's invisible hand of the market is redeemed by the "invisible handshake" of collaborative networks.

· Businesses take ownership of the impacts they now call "externalities."

Those who need to understand the emerging shape of global capitalism will benefit from Standing on the Sun.

Product Description


"Standing on the Sun offers a mash-up of provocative ideas, observations, and predictions." -- strategy+business magazine "insightful look at how the information economy is reshaping companies and economies" -- Bloomberg BusinessWeek "An imaginative masterpiece! This is the most complete and creative book I know on how the world economy is changing and what it means for the strategies and tactics that leaders all over the world need to implement. Reading the book is a compelling journey, as Meyer and Kirby first explain the key features of the new capitalism that is emerging around the world and then provide advice for businesses and leaders in this new world." -- Bob Sutton "Standing on the Sun is a powerful way to describe and look at what's happening in our global economy and the world of capitalism." -- "extremely well written and researched book" -- Business Traveller "It's a revelatory romp through this economic and cultural moment with powerful implications for any leader wrestling with the crucial questions of our day: what is business for, how do we create value and what does it mean to win?" -- Management Innovation eXchange "Standing on the Sun delivers on the promise of giving businesses a whole new way to look at the system of capitalism. You can agree or disagree--but you should definitely read Standing on the Sun to find out where you stand." -- Small Business Trends ( "Excellent new book." -- The Financial Times

About the Author

Christopher Meyer is founder of Monitor Talent, a unit of Monitor Group, and writes frequently on business strategy. Among his past books is Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy. Julia Kirby is editor-at-large at Harvard Business Review.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 602 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (17 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0070YQR7E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #628,512 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 25 July 2015
By Calum
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Stimulating ideas and a great writing style. Chris Meyer is a public intellectual of the first rank. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Worthy Read for Startups and Maker Companies 19 Feb. 2012
By T. McCue - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is excellent. It is full of big, challenging ideas and the thought, research, and evidence to back them up. It will keep you thinking about what the future looks like for capitalism in the USA and everywhere else in the world. I recommend it. It can be heavy lifting in some spots, and the authors explain it coherently, but the concepts are deeper and require more thought than the average biz book. It is well worth the effort to digest and ponder. This is the first time I leveraged the power of the Kindle version, too, and loved that I could highlight a passage and then share it on Twitter or Facebook easily.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't get burned by the changes in capitalism, read this now 2 Feb. 2012
By Paul N. - Published on
Standing on the Sun argues a new perspective on capitalism is needed. The truth of this is becoming clearer by the day. But where does one find that perspective? The title refers to how Copernicus arrived at a new perspective on planetary motion by imagining himself in a different place, with a different frame of reference, i.e., standing on the sun, not the earth. Gaining a true perspective on capitalism is likely to be just as hard as understanding planetary motion, from most any vantage point, but the authors make a clear and compelling case that continuing to think about it from today's typical frames of reference is likely to lead to future shock--for policy makers and businesses alike.

With snappy chapters and section titles, like "The Rain Forest of Capitalism" the authors lay out the story of capitalism's evolution and continual adaptation, and point to the figurative Petri dishes where today's newest forms are popping up. The book transitions nicely through a look at how a shrinking planet is already changing what capitalism can and must do for its followers and inhabitants, and how growing affluence is changing what we hope for and expect from our political economies.

Along the way the authors take interesting turns through the research on topics like why big companies take on free riders to their detriment, and the distinction between being pro free-markets and pro-business. With all the noise around this last issue, the book does an admirable job of clarifying the distinction, and the implications for those failing to make the distinction.

The authors use the final third of the book to posit what capitalism will look like in the future, when the new rules of capitalism are in place. These imagined scenarios, many based in partial evolutions already, are certainly provocative, if not always completely convincing... But such is the nature of informed speculation. Their final rules for moving forward are intriguing as well, and likely to start more than a few conversations.

What Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" did for globalization, making it understandable and debatable in an informed way in the broad market for ideas, this book is sure to do for the evolution of capitalism. I am glad I won't be the last to read this one.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Economics and Political Economy 6 Feb. 2012
By Laurence Prusak - Published on
Here is the good news-Chris Meyer and Julia Kirby have produced a very well written and researched text that offers a legitimate positive take on the global economy and its future. The authors (whom I have known and occasionally worked with for longer then any of us want to tally) feel that the unleashing of market processes and energies in the global network, coupled with the explosion of technologies that enable and power such forces, may well bring about a much more productive and perhaps better world. Needless to say both authors are too experienced to have any Panglossian illusions about the future which makes the book all that richer. They know markets and firms from the inside and have, not always a common thing, actually worked in and with profit-making organizations!
And I surely agree with many of their more proscriptive leanings as to actual actions that can be taken to make us all wealthier and happier.
However I would also add there is one serious flaw in the book-a flaw shared by many such volumes. It is based on on a point of view-maybe the very sun the authors are standing on- which is primarily economic in origin and application. Sadly, I do not think economics, and its subsidiary business ideas as usually practiced, provides a complex enough lens to understand modern forms of capitalism.
Think of the different forms of capitalism in the world today-from China to Germany to Brazil- and the attitudes towards these forms by the victors and victims of those systems. Can they be understood without recourse to the political and social actions, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that have evolved in these and all other countries? I dont believe it. History counts! and so does power relations. The coming US election will bring us all a lesson on these political and social attitudes that so drive things in our world.
However I would never deter anyone from reading this delightful and optimistic and up to date take on the power of markets and good will. It will enlighten you and better allow you to understand which sun you choose to stand on.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you willing to change your perspective? 7 Aug. 2012
By Dave Kinnear - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some years ago, I was waxing poetic after a hunting expedition in Upstate New York. It happened to be a beautiful, cold, snowy day and I just happen to be very conscious of how the woods in which I was hunting looked so different each time I move slowly and quietly a few feet to a different tree and stood still watching for game. So I wrote a poem, titled Still Hunting in which I pointed out how we have to be willing to change our point of view if we really want to find a new perspective or understand another person's perspective.

Standing on the Sun is a whole book, rather than the simple a poem I penned, to make the same point. The title is derived from the comment made to Meyer by Richard Morely who stated that "In order to see the solar system as it is, Copernicus had to be standing on the sun." What he was stating is that one needs to take a new perspective in order to break out of the old model, the old way of doing and seeing things. And indeed, Meyer delivers on the promise of the title in this well written and entertaining book.

Meyer makes the case for how capitalism evolves and is evolving into something new. He then goes about explaining how it is evolving and gives hints as to where it might be going. The reader is challenged to make the difficult mind shift of "standing on the sun" at the end of each chapter to see how a new perspective gives insight into how and why capitalism is changing because of the growing global economy and cultural effects on business.

He points out that there are three current developments that have the power to accelerate evolution of capitalism; cloud computing, mobile devices and the "internet of things." When it comes to cloud computing, Meyer claims two subtle affects: cloud computing lowers barriers to innovation and it provides real "Web 2.0" value to applications. Mobile internet devices are important because they represent a tipping point in the world's access to shared information. The "internet of things" is important because the networking of appliances, the use of RFID tags and other sensors, inanimate become collectors and distributors of data.

Regardless of how we might feel about the "evolution of capitalism," Meyers makes the case that it is in fact a reality that capitalism is evolving due to exposure to so many different cultures. As Meyer states, "If the leaders of China are ready to see what works, to call it communism, and move on, the West should be equally wise. The world economy is going to be less about competition, more about innovation, less about individual people or companies, more about groups and ecologies, and less about concentration of power and wealth and more about sustainable social systems. This is hard to see on the ground, but quite evident on the sun. Capitalism will adapt, with us or without us. Whatever works, let's call it capitalism and move on."

If we want to be ready to innovate our products and our business models, then we have to acknowledge that things are evolving and be ready to "Stand on the Sun."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Capitalism Re-Imagined 6 Mar. 2012
By Veritas - Published on
Standing on the Sun is an good book that provides a unique way to look at our global economy and the evolving state of capitalism (just as Copernicus re-imagined our solar system by "standing on the sun" and seeing it from a different perspective). If even half of what is argued here is true (and I believe most of it will turn out to be true), businesses and governments that don't take heed may find themselves on an asteroid that is flung light-years away from anything resembling economic gravity. This is complex - but vitally important - stuff.

Rather than a plodding, pedantic tome, Standing on the Sun thankfully is full of great metaphors, new models, and inspiring examples and is structured in an almost playful and certainly modern fashion. Going beyond Friedman's concept of a shrinking planet, the book not only demonstrates what radical changes capitalism and the world's growing affluence is already bringing to our fragile orb, but the authors are willing to go out on a limb and describe what capitalism and the world will look like in the future by describing a number of provocative scenarios. There is much in this book to be liked - but perhaps most importantly it is eminently accessible and will help frame one of the most important debates of our time: the future of capitalism and its likely impact on the world.
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