Ram Charan

Business adviser, author, speaker
Ram Charan
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The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State, Raghuram Rajan

“I have been very impressed by The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave Community Behind by Raghuram Rajan.

The real nugget of this book is balancing the power and scope of three players in the global tapestry in which a company operates—namely government, community, and business. This balance changes, as the author has shown, longitudinally over a long period of time.

COVID-19 has necessitated a radical rebalancing. Governments almost exponentially and with warp speed have increased the intensity and scope of their participation. Communities are speaking. They have found their voice on inequality and race, and they are being heard. The maximizers of shareholder value are bending. They are accepting public–private partnership as the new game (as in vaccines, public health, and infrastructure).

This is new. It is evolving, and fast. It is here to stay. No business leader can afford to ignore it.

The book is meticulously researched with specifics the author uses to narrate the volatility of this balance over more than a century. Readers need to superimpose on it the new waves of tensions between countries (US/China, China/India), and drastic reduction of mechanisms governing global trade.

I think every business leader must read this book, digest it, and test their strategic plan against it.”





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Other 2020 reading lists you might want to explore

Books by McKinsey Authors

McKinsey on Books

Explore this month’s best-selling business books, prepared exclusively for McKinsey Publishing by NPD, and a collection of books by McKinsey authors on the management issues that matter.

Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, 7th edition

At the crossroads of corporate strategy and finance lies valuation. This book enables everyone, from the budding professional to the seasoned manager, to excel at measuring and maximizing shareholder and company value.

Fast Times: How digital winners set direction, learn, and adapt

Winning in the digital age requires both lightning speed and thoughtful deliberation. Companies able to master this paradox are emerging as today's winners. Those that can't will be sold for parts.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

– The new book on how to beat the odds with a bold strategy


It takes a village to curate amazing lists from this rather busy group of leaders from all over the world. We would like to thank Nikhil Deogun, Mitra S. Kalita, Gabriella Stern, Rebecca Lowell Edwards, Steve Lipin, Sara Blask, Karen Wickre, Ailish Campbell, Anya Schiffrin, Tom Weber, Shernaz Daver, Jose Zamora, and Judi Mackey for their help.

Within McKinsey Global Publishing, Mike Borruso, Heather Byer, Philip Mathew, Louis Vizzi, Dan Redding, and Torea Frey were instrumental in making this year’s list come alive.

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