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Book Review: Standing on the Sun by Christopher Meyer

August 12, 2012

Standing On The SunHow the explosion of capitalism abroad will change business everywhere. Some years ago, I was waxing poetic after a hunting expedition in Upstate New York. It happened to be a beautiful, cold, snowy day and I just happened to be very conscious of how the woods in which I was hunting looked so different each time I move slowly, quietly a few feet to a different tree and stood still watching for game. So I wrote a poem, titled Still Hunting in which I pointed out how we have to be willing to change our point of view if we really want to find a new perspective or understand another person’s perspective.

Standing on the Sun is a whole book, rather than the simple poem I penned to make the same point. The title is derived from the comment made to Meyer by Richard Morely who stated that “In order to see the solar system as it is, Copernicus had to be standing on the sun.” What he was stating is that one needs to take a new perspective in order to break out of the old model, the old way of doing and seeing things. And indeed, Meyer delivers on the promise of the title in this well written and entertaining book.

Meyer makes the case for how capitalism evolves and is evolving into something new. He then goes about explaining how it is evolving and gives hints as to where it might be going. The reader is challenged to make the difficult mind shift of “standing on the sun” at the end of each chapter to see how a new perspective gives insight into how and why capitalism is changing because of the growing global economy and cultural effects on business.

He points out that there are three current developments that have the power to accelerate evolution of capitalism; cloud computing, mobile devices and the “internet of things.” When it comes to cloud computing, Meyer claims two subtle affects: cloud computing lowers barriers to innovation and it provides real “Web 2.0” value to applications. Mobile internet devices are important because they represent a tipping point in the world’s access to shared information. The “internet of things” is important because the networking of appliances, the use of RFID tags and other sensors, inanimate become collectors and distributors of data.

Regardless of how we might feel about the “evolution of capitalism,” Meyers makes the case that it is in fact a reality that capitalism is evolving due to exposure to so many different cultures. As Meyer states, “If the leaders of China are ready to see what works, to call it communism, and move on, the West should be equally wise. The world economy is going to be less about competition, more about innovation, less about individual people or companies, more about groups and ecologies, and less about concentration of power and wealth and more about sustainable social systems. This is hard to see on the ground, but quite evident on the sun. Capitalism will adapt, with us or without us. Whatever works, let’s call it capitalism and move on.”

If we want to be ready to innovate our products and our business models, then we have to acknowledge that things are evolving and be ready to “Stand on the Sun.”

 Click here to see the book on Amazon.

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