Book Recommendations from Fareed Zakaria from CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS

Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, a Washington Post columnist, a contributing editor for The Atlantic and a New York Times bestselling author. We plunge into the books that fuel his thoughts.
The Accidental Superpower
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The Accidental Superpower

by Peter Zeihan

About the book:  In the bestselling tradition of The World Is Flat and The Next 100 Years, THE ACCIDENTAL SUPERPOWER will be a much discussed, contrarian, and eye-opening assessment of American power. Near the end of the Second World War, the United States made a bold strategic gambit that rewired the international system. Empires were abolished and replaced by a global arrangement enforced by the U.S. Navy. With all the world's oceans safe for the first time in history, markets and resources were made available for everyone. Enemies became partners. We think of this system as normal-it is not. We live in an artificial world on borrowed time. In THE ACCIDENTAL SUPERPOWER, international strategist Peter Zeihan examines how the hard rules of geography are eroding the American commitment to free trade; how much of the planet is aging into a mass retirement that will enervate markets and capital supplies; and how, against all odds, it is the ever-ravenous American economy that-alone among the developed nations-is rapidly approaching energy independence. Combined, these factors are doing nothing less than overturning the global system and ushering in a new (dis)order. For most, that is a disaster-in-waiting, but not for the Americans. The shale revolution allows Americans to sidestep an increasingly dangerous energy market. Only the United States boasts a youth population large enough to escape the sucking maw of global aging. Most important, geography will matter more than ever in a de-globalizing world, and America's geography is simply sublime.

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Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
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Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

by Evan Osnos

About the book:  Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction finalistWinner of the 2014 National Book Award in nonfictionAn Economist Best Book of 2014Winner of the bronze medal for the Council on Foreign Relations’ 2015 Arthur Ross Book AwardA vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformationFrom abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes. As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth? Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

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The Alliance
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The Alliance

by Reid Hoffman,Ben Casnocha,Chris Yeh

About the book:  Arguing that today's dynamic business environments have irrevocably transformed the employer-employee relationship, a guide for managers outlines win-win strategies that promote trust between workers and management through flexible, alliance-based working agreements. 100,000 first printing.

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America in Retreat
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America in Retreat

by Bret Stephens

About the book:  “Wise counsel for a constructive, tough-minded, and sensible foreign policy. Read and learn.” —GEORGE SHULTZ, U.S. Secretary of State, 1982–1989 The world is tipping into chaos. Why? In this acclaimed and influential book, Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Bret Stephens shows how the retreat of American power, orchestrated by Barack Obama, has created the power vacuums now being filled by our enemies. From Vladimir Putin’s quest to restore the old czarist empire, to China’s efforts to dominate the South China Sea, to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, to ISIS’s dreams of an Islamic caliphate, we have entered an era in which our foes no longer fear us and our friends no longer trust us. With his stylistic flair and analytical brilliance, Stephens explains the ideological roots of Obama’s suspicions of American power. He demonstrates how a false belief in Ameri­can decline has led to a disastrous prescription of retreat, as if the cure for domestic weak­ness is international weakness. In a prophetic chapter, he warns of what the world could look like in 2019 if we do not change course. And he lays out the right formula for U.S. foreign policy—the same formula that brought order to our once crime-ridden streets. America in Retreat is shaping the greatest foreign policy debate of our decade.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Bloodlands
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Bloodlands

by Timothy Snyder

About the book:  Americans call the Second World War “The Good War.” But before it even began, America's wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens—and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war's end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.

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Civilization
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Civilization

by Niall Ferguson

About the book:  Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries.How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? Acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts, or “killer applications”—competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic—that the Rest lacked, allowing it to surge past all other competitors.Yet now, Ferguson shows how the Rest have downloaded the killer apps the West once monopolized, while the West has literally lost faith in itself. Chronicling the rise and fall of empires alongside clashes (and fusions) of civilizations, Civilization: The West and the Rest recasts world history with force and wit. Boldly argued and teeming with memorable characters, this is Ferguson at his very best.

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The Collapse
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The Collapse

by Mary Elise Sarotte

About the book:  ent the final collapse of the Cold War order.

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The Confidence Trap
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The Confidence Trap

by David Runciman

About the book:  Why do democracies keep lurching from success to failure? The current financial crisis is just the latest example of how things continue to go wrong, just when it looked like they were going right. In this wide-ranging, original, and compelling book, David Runciman tells the story of modern democracy through the history of moments of crisis, from the First World War to the economic crash of 2008. A global history with a special focus on the United States, The Confidence Trap examines how democracy survived threats ranging from the Great Depression to the Cuban missile crisis, and from Watergate to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It also looks at the confusion and uncertainty created by unexpected victories, from the defeat of German autocracy in 1918 to the defeat of communism in 1989. Throughout, the book pays close attention to the politicians and thinkers who grappled with these crises: from Woodrow Wilson, Nehru, and Adenauer to Fukuyama and Obama. In The Confidence Trap, David Runciman shows that democracies are good at recovering from emergencies but bad at avoiding them. The lesson democracies tend to learn from their mistakes is that they can survive them—and that no crisis is as bad as it seems. Breeding complacency rather than wisdom, crises lead to the dangerous belief that democracies can muddle through anything—a confidence trap that may lead to a crisis that is just too big to escape, if it hasn't already. The most serious challenges confronting democracy today are debt, the war on terror, the rise of China, and climate change. If democracy is to survive them, it must figure out a way to break the confidence trap.

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Crazy is a Compliment
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Crazy is a Compliment

by Linda Rottenberg

About the book:  These days taking chances isn’t just for college dropouts in hoodies. We all need to be nimble, adaptive, daring—and maybe even a little crazy—or risk being left behind.But how do you take smart risks without risking it all? That’s Linda Rottenberg’s expertise. As the cofounder and CEO of Endeavor, the world’s leading organization dedicated to supporting fast-growing entrepreneurs, she’s spent the last two decades helping innovators think bold and execute smart.Now Rottenberg draws on her unrivaled experience to show you the proven techniques to achieve your dreams. Crazy Is a Compliment combines inspiring stories, original research, and practical advice to create a road map for getting started and going bigger.

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The End of History and the Last Man
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The End of History and the Last Man

by Francis Fukuyama

About the book:  Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.

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First Person
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First Person

by Vladimir Putin,Nataliya Gevorkyan,Natalya Timakova,Andrei Kolesnikov

About the book:  Who is this Vladimir Putin? Who is this man who suddenly--overnight and without warning--was handed the reigns of power to one of the most complex, formidable, and volatile countries in the world? How can we trust him if we don't know him? First Person is an intimate, candid portrait of the man who holds the future of Russia in his grip. An extraordinary compilation of over 24 hours of in-depth interviews and remarkable photographs, it delves deep into Putin's KGB past and explores his meteoric rise to power. No Russian leader has ever subjected himself to this kind of public examination of his life and views. Both as a spy and as a virtual political unknown until selected by Boris Yeltsin to be Prime Minister, Putin has been regarded as man of mystery. Now, the curtain lifts to reveal a remarkable life of struggles and successes. Putin's life story is of major importance to the world.

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The Forever War
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The Forever War

by Dexter Filkins

About the book:  National BestsellerOne of the Best Books of the Year:New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and Time An instant classic of war reporting, The Forever War is the definitive account of America's conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and a searing exploration of its human costs. Through the eyes of Filkins, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, we witness the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, the aftermath of the attack on New York on September 11th, and the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Filkins is the only American journalist to have reported on all these events, and his experiences are conveyed in a riveting narrative filled with unforgettable characters and astonishing scenes. Brilliant and fearless, The Forever War is not just about America's wars after 9/11, but about the nature of war itself.

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Cosby
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Cosby

by Mark Whitaker

About the book:  The first major biography of an American icon, comedian Bill Cosby. Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with Cosby and more than sixty of his closest friends and associates, it is a frank, fun and fascinating account of his life and historic legacy. Far from the gentle worlds of his routines or TV shows, Cosby grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. With novelistic detail, award winning journalist Mark Whitaker tells the story of how, after dropping out of high school, Cosby turned his life around by joining the Navy, talking his way into college, and seizing his first breaks as a stand-up comedian. Published on the 30th anniversary of The Cosby Show, the book reveals the behind-the-scenes story of that groundbreaking sitcom as well as Cosby’s bestselling albums, breakout role on I Spy, and pioneering place in children’s TV. But it also deals with professional setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son, and the private influence of his wife of fifty years, Camille Cosby. Whitaker explores the roots of Cosby’s controversial stands on race, as well as “the Cosby effect” that helped pave the way for a black president. For any fan of Bill Cosby’s work, and any student of American television, comedy, or social history, Cosby: His Life and Times is an essential read.

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Higher Education in the Digital Age
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Higher Education in the Digital Age

by William G. Bowen

About the book:  Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, one of the foremost experts on the intersection of education and economics, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, including the acclaimed bestseller The Shape of the River, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject. Surveying the dizzying array of new technology-based teaching and learning initiatives, including the highly publicized emergence of "massive open online courses" (MOOCs), Bowen argues that such technologies could transform traditional higher education--allowing it at last to curb rising costs by increasing productivity, while preserving quality and protecting core values. But the challenges, which are organizational and philosophical as much as technological, are daunting. They include providing hard evidence of whether online education is cost-effective in various settings, rethinking the governance and decision-making structures of higher education, and developing customizable technological platforms. Yet, Bowen remains optimistic that the potential payoff is great. Based on the 2012 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at Stanford University, the book includes responses from Stanford president John Hennessy, Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner, Columbia University literature professor Andrew Delbanco, and Coursera cofounder Daphne Koller.

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The Innovators
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The Innovators

by Walter Isaacson

About the book:  A revelatory history of the people who created the computer and the internet discusses the process through which innovation happens in the modern world, citing the pivotal contributions of such figures as programming pioneer Ada Lovelace. By the author of Steve Jobs. 500,000 first printing.

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The Limits of Partnership
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The Limits of Partnership

by Angela E. Stent

About the book:  The Limits of Partnership is a riveting narrative about U.S.-Russian relations from the Soviet collapse through the Ukraine crisis and the difficult challenges ahead. It reflects the unique perspective of an insider who is also recognized as a leading expert on this troubled relationship. American presidents have repeatedly attempted to forge a strong and productive partnership only to be held hostage to the deep mistrust born of the Cold War. For the United States, Russia remains a priority because of its nuclear weapons arsenal, its strategic location bordering Europe and Asia, and its ability to support--or thwart--American interests. Why has it been so difficult to move the relationship forward? What are the prospects for doing so in the future? Is the effort doomed to fail again and again? What are the risks of a new Cold War? Angela Stent served as an adviser on Russia under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and maintains dialogues with key policymakers in both countries. Here, she argues that the same contentious issues--terrorism, missile defense, Iran, nuclear proliferation, Afghanistan, the former Soviet space, the greater Middle East--have been in every president's inbox, Democrat and Republican alike, since the collapse of the USSR. Stent vividly describes how Clinton and Bush sought inroads with Russia and staked much on their personal ties to Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin--only to leave office with relations at a low point--and how Barack Obama managed to restore ties only to see them undermined by a Putin regime resentful of American dominance and determined to restore Russia's great power status. The Limits of Partnership calls for a fundamental reassessment of the principles and practices that drive U.S.-Russian relations, and offers a path forward to meet the urgent challenges facing both countries. This edition includes a new chapter in which Stent provides her insights about dramatic recent developments in U.S.-Russian relations, particularly the annexation of Crimea, war in Ukraine, and the end of the Obama Reset.

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The Mantle of Command
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The Mantle of Command

by Nigel Hamilton

About the book:  Longlisted for the National Book Award“This bold argument . . . will undoubtedly change the way we see Franklin Roosevelt.” —Christian Science Monitor “Masterly.” — Wall Street JournalA dramatic, eye-opening account of how FDR took personal charge of the military direction of World War II Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving Roosevelt aides and family members, The Mantle of Command offers a radical new perspective on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s masterful — and underappreciated — leadership of the Allied war effort. After the disaster of Pearl Harbor, we see Roosevelt devising a global strategy that will defeat Hitler and the Japanese, rescue Churchill and the British people, and quell a near insurrection of his own American generals and War Department. All the while, Hamilton’s account drives toward Operation Torch — the invasion of French Northwest Africa — and the outcome of the war hangs in the balance. The Mantle of Command is an intimate, sweeping look at a great President in history’s greatest conflict.

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Maximalist
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Maximalist

by Stephen Sestanovich

About the book:  From a writer with long and high-level experience in the U.S. government, a startling and provocative assessment of America’s global dominance. Maximalist puts the history of our foreign policy in an unexpected new light, while drawing fresh, compelling lessons for the present and future. When the United States has succeeded in the world, Stephen Sestanovich argues, it has done so not by staying the course but by having to change it—usually amid deep controversy and uncertainty. For decades, the United States has been a power like no other. Yet presidents and policy makers worry that they—and, even more, their predecessors—haven’t gotten things right. Other nations, they say to themselves, contribute little to meeting common challenges. International institutions work badly. An effective foreign policy costs too much. Public support is shaky. Even the greatest successes often didn’t feel that way at the time.           Sestanovich explores the dramatic results of American global primacy built on these anxious foundations, recounting cycles of overcommitment and underperformance, highs of achievement and confidence followed by lows of doubt. We may think there was a time when America’s international role reflected bipartisan unity, policy continuity, and a unique ability to work with others, but Maximalist tells a different story—one of divided administrations and divisive decision making, of clashes with friends and allies, of regular attempts to set a new direction. Doing too much has always been followed by doing too little, and vice versa. Maximalist unearths the backroom stories and personalities that bring American foreign policy to life. Who knew how hard Lyndon Johnson fought to stay out of the war in Vietnam—or how often Henry Kissinger ridiculed the idea of visiting China? Who remembers that George Bush Sr. found Ronald Reagan’s diplomacy too passive—or that Bush Jr. considered Bill Clinton’s too active? Leaders and scoundrels alike emerge from this retelling in sharper focus than ever before. Sestanovich finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present. From the Hardcover edition.

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Stress Test
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Stress Test

by Timothy F. Geithner

About the book:  New York Times BestsellerWashington Post BestsellerLos Angeles Times BestsellerStress Test is the story of Tim Geithner’s education in financial crises.  As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then as President Barack Obama’s secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner helped the United States navigate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, from boom to bust to rescue to recovery. In a candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, he takes readers behind the scenes of the crisis, explaining the hard choices and politically unpalatable decisions he made to repair a broken financial system and prevent the collapse of the Main Street economy. This is the inside story of how a small group of policy makers—in a thick fog of uncertainty, with unimaginably high stakes—helped avoid a second depression but lost the American people doing it. Stress Test is also a valuable guide to how governments can better manage financial crises, because this one won’t be the last.Stress Test reveals a side of Secretary Geithner the public has never seen, starting with his childhood as an American abroad. He recounts his early days as a young Treasury official helping to fight the international financial crises of the 1990s, then describes what he saw, what he did, and what he missed at the New York Fed before the Wall Street boom went bust. He takes readers inside the room as the crisis began, intensified, and burned out of control, discussing the most controversial episodes of his tenures at the New York Fed and the Treasury, including the rescue of Bear Stearns; the harrowing weekend when Lehman Brothers failed; the searing crucible of the AIG rescue as well as the furor over the firm’s lavish bonuses; the battles inside the Obama administration over his widely criticized but ultimately successful plan to end the crisis; and the bracing fight for the most sweeping financial reforms in more than seventy years. Secretary Geithner also describes the aftershocks of the crisis, including the administration’s efforts to address high unemployment, a series of brutal political battles over deficits and debt, and the drama over Europe’s repeated flirtations with the economic abyss. Secretary Geithner is not a politician, but he has things to say about politics—the silliness, the nastiness, the toll it took on his family. But in the end, Stress Test is a hopeful story about public service. In this revealing memoir, Tim Geithner explains how America withstood the ultimate stress test of its political and financial systems.From the Hardcover edition.

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The System Worked
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The System Worked

by Daniel W. Drezner

About the book:  International institutions, from the International Monetary Fund to the International Olympic Committee, are perceived as bastions of sclerotic mediocrity at best and outright corruption at worst, and this perception is generally not far off the mark. In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, Daniel W. Drezner, like so many others, looked at the smoking ruins of the global economy and wondered why global economic governance structure had failed so spectacularly, and what could be done to reform them in the future. But then a funny thing happened. As he surveyed their actions in the wake of the crash, he realized that the evidence pointed to the exact opposite conclusion: global economic governance had succeeded.In The System Worked, Drezner, a renowned political scientist and international relations expert, contends that despite the massive scale and reverberations of this latest crisis (larger, arguably, than those that precipitated the Great Depression), the global economy has bounced back remarkably well. Examining the major resuscitation efforts by the G-20 IMF, WTO, and other institutions, he shows that, thanks to the efforts of central bankers and other policymakers, the international response was sufficiently coordinated to prevent the crisis from becoming a full-fledged depression. Yet the narrative about the failure of multilateral economic institutions persists, both because the Great Recession affected powerful nations whose governments managed their own economies poorly, and because the most influential policy analysts who write the books and articles on the crisis hail from those nations. Nevertheless, Drezner argues, while it's true that the global economy is still fragile, these institutions survived the "stress test" of the financial crisis, and may have even become more resilient and valuable in the process.Bucking the conventional wisdom about the new "G-Zero World," Drezner rehabilitates the image of the much-maligned international institutions and demolishes some of the most dangerous myths about the financial crisis. The System Worked is a vital contribution to our understanding of an area where the stakes could not be higher.

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