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Publisher's Summary

Power evolves.

In the 16th century, control of colonies and gold bullion gave Spain the edge; 17th-century Netherlands profited from trade and finance; 18th-century France gained from its larger population, while 19th-century British power rested on its primacy in the Industrial Revolution and its navy. In the era of Kennedy and Khrushchev, power resources were measured in terms of nuclear missiles, industrial capacity, and numbers of men under arms and tanks lined up ready to cross the plains of Eastern Europe. But the global information age of the 21st century is quickly rendering these traditional markers of power obsolete, remapping power relationships.

In The Future of Power, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., a longtime analyst of power and a hands-on practitioner in government, delivers a new power narrative that considers the shifts, innovations, bold technologies, and new relationships that will define the 21st century. He shows how power resources are adapting to the digital age and how smart power strategies must include more than a country’s military strength. Information once reserved for the government is ow available for mass consumption. The Internet has literally put power at the fingertips of nonstate agents, allowing them to launch cyberattacks on governments from their homes and creating a security threat that is felt worldwide. But the cyberage has also created a new power frontier among states, ripe with opportunity for developing countries. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, America had about a quarter of the world’s product but only 5 percent of its population. It was indisputably the most powerful nation in the world, unsurpassed in military strength and ownership of world resources. Today, China, Brazil, India, and others are increasing their share of world power resources, but remain unlikely to surpass America as the most powerful nation if the United States adopts new strategies designed for a global information age.The Internet’s ultimate impact on the nature of power is a concern shared by nations around the world. The Future of Power, by examining what it means to be powerful in the 21st century, illuminates the road ahead.

©2011 Joseph Nye (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What listeners say about The Future of Power

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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annoying reading habit

The speaker for this book had a very annoying habit of adding an upward inflection at the end of practically every sentence. The subject matter of the book was interesting though

4 people found this helpful

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The Future of Narration? Let's hope not...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would not recommend this particular audio version to a friend. I could not finish listening to it. The narrator's voice had a somewhat haughty, whiny tone.

Would you recommend The Future of Power to your friends? Why or why not?

The book itself is good. I switched to the paperback version.

How could the performance have been better?

In my opinion, the narrator's inflection was not conducive to transmitting a clear, fact-based message. I felt like he was sneering as he read. I am sure Mr. Synnestvedt is a talented narrator, but he was not my favorite.

2 people found this helpful

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Could not get past narration

I'll have to read this in print. I could not get past the terrible narration. The narrator used a strange California Valley voice that sounded as false as it seemed inappropriate. It was awful. I had to stop listening.

1 person found this helpful

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Foreign Policy in a Complex World

Joseph Nye in “The Future of Power” sets out his analysis of America’s relative decline and how the US might best adapt to the new world order. Essentially he is saying that we must use soft as well as hard or military power in the new world. His focus on soft power isn’t new, but harkens back to Eisenhower for example. It will occur to the reader that the US is using soft power, but it generally goes unreported in the media. Our giving foreign aid to dictators, for example, will be seen in a different light. A direct point that Nye makes is that the US must maintain strong economic power in order to exert either or both hard or soft power. Listeners may or may not agree, but the book is thoughtful and thought provoking. The book is well read by Erik Synnestvedt.

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Again, indeed, a larger notion...

A few books ago I listened to Barton Swaim's The Speechwriter, which parodied a governor's stilted syntax (e.g., starting sentences with, "Indeed," insisting upon the phrase "larger notion," and overuse of "thus."). Such phrasing in this book feeds a Poindexter-esque performance, and so it's kind of funny in that way. The content and arguments are compelling, but it's kind of like listening to a T.A. at the lecturn of his first Polysci 101 class.

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Need a new reader.

The book contents organization and message was wonderful. However, the reader was god awful and made it incredibly difficult to focus. it’s pronounced power, not powwaa.

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No new revelation and boring

I had a hard time listening to this boring book that hashes over ideas already articulated by a number of authors before him. Very un-compelling.

1 person found this helpful

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  • B. Buring
  • 05-25-11

Narrator distracts from engaging analysis

The publisher has lumped this book among its self-help titles, which seems to have dictated the unfortunate choice of narrator. Usually, after a few minutes, it's no effort to pair up an author's words to the given voice and so move happily on to the substance of story/message/thesis. In this case, however, the pretentious intonation and odd pacing are only a constant distraction from what otherwise is an engaging (and persuasive) analysis on the topic of persuasion.

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  • Adrian J. Smith
  • 12-21-19

A decent overview of the nature of power

I first read this 8 years ago, but felt it deserved a second listen. Nye, best known for theorising soft power, examines the different variables of power and how they interact. Many of this may not be revelatory to those more familiar with international relations, but it does provide a decent recap, and an excellent primer for those less familiar. The audible version by Erik Synnestvedt has a rather peculiar tone which overstresses the last syllable of every sentence, which can be off putting at times, but still a decent listen. For other books on power, The 48 Laws of Power is a far more expansive work, however, not so readily applicable to international relations. However, an essential text for International Relations theory, highly complimentary to other works out there.