So, if I am completely honest with myself, I read this book months ago and had to find a summary to jog my memory. Thus, I can’t say it was great but after reading the summary, I remember finding it interesting.
Rise and Fall of Nations is another selection from the Army Chief of Staff reading list. I think I understand why it was added to the list but it really feels more like it was added because it’s the kind of book that people think you should read more than just being good or insightful. I can easily see the Army suggesting this book because it seems like a book ‘smart’ people read. They blurb given by the Army says:
“In a post-crisis age of slow growth and political revolt, his pioneering book is an entertaining field guide to understanding change in this or any era.”
I’m not sure it is pioneering but I could be swayed on entertaining but I suppose it is somewhat. As for the pioneering part, the book is a look at what factors contribute to which countries succeed and which fail, as the title suggests. While I do not have any specific evidence for this, I feel pretty certain that those are topics that have been studied forever. I also don’t find the conclusions to be all that groundbreaking either. The author suggests that the factors include things like:
- Population growth (positive or negative)
- Leader agenda and tenure
While that is not an all encompassing list, it’s not particularly “pioneering”. Now, Sharma does use more of a mathematical, and presumably objective, method for his study, it’s nothing that seems out there or new. It’s the kind of things that I just assumed people would study. Maybe this is the first book that does that but I doubt it.
Now that I have crapped on the book, and it’s blurb, I will say I found the book kind of interesting. I’ve read far worse books for professional development (I’m looking at you A Message for Garcia). The Rise and Fall of Nations is fine.