There are many books that examine China’s transformation and the transformative consequence of this on the rest of the world, from Martin Jacques’ economic determinism in When China Rules The World to the environmental concerns of Jonathan Watts in When A Billion Chinese Jump. This example comes at it from a global business and economic angle, as befits the authors’ provenance as directors of the McKinsey Global Institute. Thus, its sights are rather broader than just China, but with one of the authors based in Shanghai, the reader feels China’s colossal footprint throughout.

The book is divided into two sections. The first lays out the four disruptive megatrends which are changing the world more and faster, they claim, than ever before, to wit: the return of the economic center of gravity to the center of Asia, and the rising importance of emerging market cities underinvested by the major corporations; the furious pace of technological development and adaptation by consumers; rapidly aging populations, in developing as well as rich economies; and the increasing complexity and interconnection of global trading patterns. The second section examines the implications of these, such as the rising consuming classes in developing economies, the rising cost of capital, and fragmenting job markets.

No Ordinary Disruption is exceptionally well referenced, with dozens of eyebrow-raising examples evincing each trend. The conclusions they draw, fortunately, are optimistic. One has the sense of the authors finding best practice from around the world and seeing how it can improve business methods and efficiency – as is the way of McKinsey consultants. The disruption to which the title refers is of course an enormous, multidimensional, untidy, series of forces and processes. It may be impossible to tidy them all up into one book and to see how humanity can harness them for the better, but the authors have done that as well as anyone could.

Published in Business Tianjin

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