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No Ordinary Disruption

The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends

by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, Jonathan WoetzelPublic Affairs / 288 pages / May 2015

The world not only feels different. The data tell us it is different. Based on years of research by the directors of the McKinsey Global Institute, No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Forces Breaking All the Trendsis a timely and important analysis of how we need to reset our intuition as a result of four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: the rise of emerging markets, the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition, an aging world population, and accelerating flows of trade, capital, people, and data.

Our intuitions formed while the world economy was experiencing a uniquely benign period, often termed the Great Moderation. Asset prices were rising, the cost of capital was falling, labor and resources were abundant, and in generation after generation, young people were growing up more prosperous than their parents. But the Great Moderation has gone. The cost of capital may rise. The price of everything from grain to steel may become more volatile. The world’s labor force could shrink. Individuals, particularly those with low job skills, are at risk of growing up poorer than their parents.

What sets No Ordinary Disruption apart is depth of analysis combined with lively writing, informed by surprising, memorable insights that enable us to grasp quickly the disruptive forces at work. For evidence of the shift to emerging markets, consider the startling fact that, by 2025, a single regional city in China—Tianjin—will have a GDP equal to that of Sweden, or that, in the decades ahead, half of the world’s economic growth will come from 440 cities, including Kumasi in Ghana and Santa Catarina in Brazil, that most executives today would be hard pressed to locate on a map.

What we are now seeing is no ordinary disruption but the new facts of business life—facts that require executives and leaders at all levels to reset their operating assumptions and management intuition.

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