The FT reports: A couple of years ago, accounts of the financial crisis were the big thing in the publishing world. Now, plans for the recovery have become the new hot trend in business writing, seeing the release of a stack of books about “rebuilding America” and “reinventing the economy”, each with a flag-waving red-white-and-blue cover.
As is often the case with these publishing fads, readers would have been well-advised to wait a while before picking up one of these books, because some of the strongest examples are appearing this year. William Holstein’s The Next American Economy, Gary Shapiro’s The Comeback, Andrew Liveris’s Make It In America and Adam Segal’s Advantage all have something new to contribute in this increasingly crowded field.
Holstein’s reflections on China are less confrontational, including evocative reminiscences of the “vast seas of Chinese” cycling through Guangzhou at night in the late 1970s, which display his greatest asset: his ability to tell a story. The heart of The Next American Economy is nine impressively thorough case studies of “clusters” of successful US businesses, mostly making innovative products such as new types of batteries and adhesives. A veteran reporter, Holstein expended a lot of shoe leather in his researches, from Massachusetts to California, and he does an excellent job of describing what he sees and letting his subjects speak for themselves.
The OPC will have a book night with Holstein on May 17.