In this brilliant book, Walter Mischel surveys the current state of knowledge on mastery of self control. It is a profoundly optimistic book that argues that the ability to delay immediate gratification for the sake of future rewards is an acquirable cognitive skill.
This is hardly an obvious conclusion: the marshmallow test itself is a now famous experiment which presented pre-schoolers with a choice between a single marshmallow on demand, or two marshmallows if they could delay eating the first one for 20 minutes.
The test turned out to correlate with SAT scores, social and cognitive functioning, and sense of self worth.
Thus, I am sure he wouldn’t mind my mentioning that at a dinner I hosted in honor of this book he more than held his own in debate with Henry Kissinger and Boris Johnson. His recent biography is titled Napoleon in America and Napoleon the Great in Britain. And therein lies the debate.
David Brooks, who has debated with Intelligence Squared U.S. several times and delivered the keynote address at our 100th debate celebration, summarizes his new book, The Road to Character. Its the kind of secular sermon we need to hear and encourages us to think about what Brooks calls the “eulogy virtues” as distinguished from the “resume virtues.”
How Google Works is a fascinating look inside one of the most unique and effective corporate cultures anywhere. If you run a business or aspire to, or if you are starting one, you will almost surely come away with useful ideas.
In 2011, Intelligence Squared U.S. debated the proposition China does Capitalism better than America, which dealt with the success of state capitalism in what is destined to be the world’s largest economy.
Another remarkable success is Singapore, whose model of authoritarian capitalism strikes many leaders in emerging market countries as more compelling than the democratic kind. These success stories, when viewed against the backdrop of an under-performing India, a stagnant Europe, and a sluggishly growing US, raise broader questions about the effectiveness of democratic governance.
I commend an outstanding new book, The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, which deals with just these questions.
The book recapitulates the three great revolutions in governance: the nation state, the liberal state, and the welfare state. It argues that the success of the West has been in its ability to re-invent government, and makes a compelling case that a “fourth revolution” is required to meet the challenges of Asian progress.
Authors John Micklethwait, former editor-in-chief of The Economist, and the new head of Bloomberg News, and Adrian Wooldridge, The Economist’s management editor, make their argument persuasively: you cannot read the description of the China Executive Leadership Academy, where China’s top officials are trained, without being impressed with their prospects and dismayed by our own.