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From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it. The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it. The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting more businesses in more ways than ever before. A generation ago, political risk mostly involved a handful of industries dealing with governments in a few frontier markets. Today, political risk stems from a widening array of actors, including Twitter users, local officials, activists, terrorists, hackers, and more. The very institutions and laws that were supposed to reduce business uncertainty and risk are often having the opposite effect. In today's globalized world, there are no "safe" bets. POLITICAL RISK investigates and analyzes this evolving landscape, what businesses can do to navigate it, and what all of us can learn about how to better understand and grapple with these rapidly changing global political dynamics. Drawing on lessons from the successes and failures of companies across multiple industries as well as examples from aircraft carrier operations, NASA missions, and other unusual places, POLITICAL RISK offers a first-of-its-kind framework that can be deployed in any organization, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Organizations that take a serious, systematic approach to political risk management are likely to be surprised less often and recover better. Companies that don't get these basics right are more likely to get blindsided.


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From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it. The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it. The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting more businesses in more ways than ever before. A generation ago, political risk mostly involved a handful of industries dealing with governments in a few frontier markets. Today, political risk stems from a widening array of actors, including Twitter users, local officials, activists, terrorists, hackers, and more. The very institutions and laws that were supposed to reduce business uncertainty and risk are often having the opposite effect. In today's globalized world, there are no "safe" bets. POLITICAL RISK investigates and analyzes this evolving landscape, what businesses can do to navigate it, and what all of us can learn about how to better understand and grapple with these rapidly changing global political dynamics. Drawing on lessons from the successes and failures of companies across multiple industries as well as examples from aircraft carrier operations, NASA missions, and other unusual places, POLITICAL RISK offers a first-of-its-kind framework that can be deployed in any organization, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Organizations that take a serious, systematic approach to political risk management are likely to be surprised less often and recover better. Companies that don't get these basics right are more likely to get blindsided.

30 review for Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ed Barks

    I had high hopes for a deep dive into political risk, its implications and suggested solutions. Sadly, this book proved highly disappointing. Rice and Zegart return time and again to the same tired examples and sources. How many times do you want to lean on quoting Marc Andreessen about risk or regurgitating the travails of SeaWorld and FedEx in chapter after chapter? The authors write that this work is intended for their Stanford MBA students (ah, yes, the tried and true technique of professors I had high hopes for a deep dive into political risk, its implications and suggested solutions. Sadly, this book proved highly disappointing. Rice and Zegart return time and again to the same tired examples and sources. How many times do you want to lean on quoting Marc Andreessen about risk or regurgitating the travails of SeaWorld and FedEx in chapter after chapter? The authors write that this work is intended for their Stanford MBA students (ah, yes, the tried and true technique of professors writing books, then forcing their students to buy them). The material here is so simplistic, however, that it is better suited to an introductory undergraduate course, if that. I made it to the end of the book only in hopes that the authors would offer some concrete solutions in later chapters. They at best skirted around any action steps. I'm sure that former Secretary of State Rice has much more to offer given her practical experience in addressing political risk. It is, unfortunately, not found in this volume. On a technical note, the authors would be better served by a new publisher. The paper quality of the copy I read was flimsy. Hard to imagine it would survive the rigors of a flock of MBA students. Also, the design looked amateurish. The pull quotes, for example, looked like a last second throwaway addition. I was eager to read this as a resource for a book I'm working on that covers, among other things, reputational risk. I wish I could say I found this book useful, but it won't even make it into the recommended reading section. There is no questioning Rice's expertise. Just don't expect to find much of it in "Political Risk."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter S

    If you want to learn about how LEGO and FedEx handle political risk, this is your book. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother reading. Interesting nuggets of knowledge and anecdotes scattered across but there are few are far between. Both authors are clearly smart and knowledgeable but this book is just not worth reading—there are too many other better books out there.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    This book surprised me. I thought it would be boring since it was designed for business professionals. I actually enjoyed it. The chapters each have a takeaway section summary at the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who owns their own business or works in the small business environment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Phi Beta Kappa Authors

    Condoleezza Rice ΦBK, University of Denver, 1974 Co-author From the publisher: From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it. The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting more businesses in more ways than ever before. Condoleezza Rice ΦBK, University of Denver, 1974 Co-author From the publisher: From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it. The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting more businesses in more ways than ever before. A generation ago, political risk mostly involved a handful of industries dealing with governments in a few frontier markets. Today, political risk stems from a widening array of actors, including Twitter users, local officials, activists, terrorists, hackers, and more. The very institutions and laws that were supposed to reduce business uncertainty and risk are often having the opposite effect. In today's globalized world, there are no "safe" bets. POLITICAL RISK investigates and analyzes this evolving landscape, what businesses can do to navigate it, and what all of us can learn about how to better understand and grapple with these rapidly changing global political dynamics. Drawing on lessons from the successes and failures of companies across multiple industries as well as examples from aircraft carrier operations, NASA missions, and other unusual places, POLITICAL RISK offers a first-of-its-kind framework that can be deployed in any organization, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Organizations that take a serious, systematic approach to political risk management are likely to be surprised less often and recover better. Companies that don't get these basics right are more likely to get blindsided.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    Maybe title should be political risk AND reward. Shorting SeaWorld based on its exposure to political risk has been a very profitable trade. LIke little reads that come from courses taught by Professors whose courses on campuses I will never attend.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Umar Riaz

    Risk analysis is an elusive discipline. Politics is pervasive but equally hard to predict. Political risk analysis is thus expected to be simply incomprehensible. United States former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice teaches a course at Stanford University along with her colleague Amy Zegart who actually is a scholar of US Intelligence. The course however is not for students of politics or security for Business. Who else has more at stake if the political environm Risk analysis is an elusive discipline. Politics is pervasive but equally hard to predict. Political risk analysis is thus expected to be simply incomprehensible. United States former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice teaches a course at Stanford University along with her colleague Amy Zegart who actually is a scholar of US Intelligence. The course however is not for students of politics or security for Business. Who else has more at stake if the political environment turns out to be chaotic, unpredictable and damaging generally as well as specifically? The Book , Political Risk ; How businesses and Organizations can anticipate Insecurity, is a product of the course taught to MBA students. Its utility however extends to anyone interested or related in the business of predicting and preparing for future uncertainties in future , be it states , government agencies , political parties and of course business entities. The word ‘Political’ is deceptive due to its simplicity and common use. In fact it is not restricted to the politics but includes all public. Same has been the dilemma of Political Science. The Political risk is thus the “probability that a political action could significantly affect a company’s business”. The distinction of political action and government action is to be noted also. The government actions are just a segment of political actions which now span the fields of journalism , civil society and now social media , action which can be of effect directly or through publicity. In short to quote the philosopher sage of our time Hebermas, “publicity continues to be organizational principle of our political order”. All these actions thus take place within the public sphere , comprising of all those who can affect the public behavior. The analysis itself has dual objectives; to predict the time and extent of a certain political action, simple enough to state, not so in practice. The framework of political risk analysis is simple and well understood. It comprises of four phases of understanding, analyzing, mitigating and responding. The understanding concerns the systems’, the organization’s and businesses’ reflection and risk appetite. This is an introspection part where the stakeholders have to see where they stand in comprehending the political risk. Mostly this reveals huge blind spots. Next comes analysis part. This concerns the external factors; the risk drivers, general and specific information, the knowledge of country/sector/field/factors. Then the action part; avoiding the risk without compromising the task in hand. The best risk mitigating strategy is of course flight , not do anything and to avoid bad news. Both governments and businesses do not have that choice though. The final phase comes into plan when the bad wishes come true and the crises strikes. Even then the learning does not stop. Simply because the show has to go on and big organizations and businesses have to scramble again. Who cause political risk ? There are five types of actors. Firstly there are individuals who are more empowered through social media , twitter and facebook. There was one individual who kicked off Arab spring, one journalist who broke Panama scandal and one assassin who unleashed neo-extremism by sh0ot down a governor. Then there are local organizations , the NGOs and civil society , the religious and ethnic groups. The MeToo movement has spread from local links. Now businesses have to pay attention to such issues. No business can survive without developing ant-harassment and anti-discrimination apparatus. If they don’t, they run huge risk of being in the face of firing line any time. The national governments and their institutions are a big source of political risk. Modern state is a regulatory state and the regulations are not driven by economic factors. Then there are transnational groups, both positive and negative. There are terrorists with their nefarious agendas and there are environment activists with aim to make world a better place. Finally there are supranational and multilateral institutions like UN, EU, IMF and OECD. We are seeing the impact of FATF and its actions in response to money laundering. The businesses have to see the kind of risk various outcomes from these actions. Next, what are the various possibilities of political risk ? One can ask what worse can happen. Well, plenty. To start with there can be wars, and not just wars but build up to wars. We have seen that too recently. Then there can be internal disturbances ranging from social unrest to ethnic violence, and revolution to coups. On the legal side, the law and regulations keep on changing, and not for the legal reasons most of time. Even if the laws and rules are changed, they can be broken and contracts reneged, even assets expropriated. Corruption is a big risk driver, a source of uncertainty about cost and time. Many countries have now extraterritorial jurisdictions and companies do not know which law being breached at an unrelated territory. Any business related with natural resources comes with distinct sets of risk. The political actions arise out of collective action when events “go viral”. The United Airlines paid huge price for dragging just one Chinese passenger off the plane. Many ads go wrong and hurt businesses. The subversion be it in the form of terrorism or cyber attacks is also a constant risk. Political risk management is hard to reward, hard to understand , hard to measure, hard to update and hard to communicate. So what to do ? . There are two options , either leave the future to chance or manage the risk. Individuals have liberty to be fatalists but not the businesses and organizations. Analysis is the essential part of risk management - again easier said than done. The key is to get ‘good’ information and that does not come from Google , or even the usual suspects like country or sector reports , or the data by world bank and IMF. Good information comes from asking good questions which result in specific answers which in turn not only contain facts but perceptions as well. Good information forms the basis of rigorous analysis which is all about avoiding traps , developing tools and forming teams. The last being the devils advocates but those coming up with reason and not just flying arrows in air. There is also scenario planning and backward thinking. The tools can also be qualitative as well as quantitive. The objective is not scaring but better decision making. Most of the decision-making in the corporate as well as public sector is based on economic risks without realizing that non-economic and non-quantifying factors are biggest source of uncertainty. Many qualified and suave managers struggle , falter and fail when it comes to acknowledging political risks. Public sector is more confident and more dismal in risk management. Those responsible for the well-being of societies and future generations are no less than fire fighters and even bad at that. Political risk management is an evolving and crucial field and the work by Condi and Amy shows the direction. It is not at all exhaustive, even repetitive but framework is important and the concepts are relevant and necessary for any decision maker.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    A master class in analyzing and mitigating risk. A must read for political professionals as well as C-suite executives. Brilliant work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Dupree

    My response to this book is a bit of a shrug. It does a good job of providing a framework to digest and manage political risk but probably did not need to be a book. The examples were too repetitive. If they had added mostly new examples during each chapter, as opposed to recycling the old, this would be much more pleasant and engaging to read. In my opinion, read the first couple chapters and the last chapter (where Condi/Amy talk about the biggest political risks facing companies these days) i My response to this book is a bit of a shrug. It does a good job of providing a framework to digest and manage political risk but probably did not need to be a book. The examples were too repetitive. If they had added mostly new examples during each chapter, as opposed to recycling the old, this would be much more pleasant and engaging to read. In my opinion, read the first couple chapters and the last chapter (where Condi/Amy talk about the biggest political risks facing companies these days) if you are just trying to get a basic understanding of political risk. If you are developing a strategy for managing political risk for an organization then it's probably worth the full read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Soectacular book!! Must read if you are in management and/or work with governments. Much to learn from these amazing authors!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    4/10 The fact that Rice is a stalwart fan of the Cleveland Browns will always bias me towards her to some degree, her writing, unfortunately, does not. To be fair, this was not actually written by Rice, as most of the 'writing' was done by Amy B. Zegart based on conversations with Rice, and Rice's political risk course. You can sort of tell that this was adapted, especially considering how often the reference the course, which can be a little jarring, as if the book was an afterthought. Essential 4/10 The fact that Rice is a stalwart fan of the Cleveland Browns will always bias me towards her to some degree, her writing, unfortunately, does not. To be fair, this was not actually written by Rice, as most of the 'writing' was done by Amy B. Zegart based on conversations with Rice, and Rice's political risk course. You can sort of tell that this was adapted, especially considering how often the reference the course, which can be a little jarring, as if the book was an afterthought. Essentially the point of the book is to evaluate changing political, especially geo-political landscapes, when looking at businesses plans. Rice contends that this is an aspect of risk that has been traditionally, an afterthought. She seeks to rectify this with examples of its importance from case studies. In using Sea world however, she rather misses the mark in my opinion, as the negative response was primarily based on a public relations fiasco rather then any political maneuvering. The public tanked Sea World for a time, not any political action. Still, the effect that government has on business cannot be understated, and is often taken as a given, rather then a dynamic and changing foundation. It is this perspective that Rice and Zegart attempt to give their audience.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chad Manske

    A brilliant business and organizational case study offering by two powerhouse Stanford Hoover Institution scholars, Condi Rice and Amy Zegart. In setting out to research cases on political risk, particularly from Harvard Business School and elsewhere, they found a dearth of info and decided to do their own as grist for a course for the Stanford Business School. Well researched with solid and easily followed frameworks, they methodically apply several cases (BP Deepwater Horizon, Sea World traine A brilliant business and organizational case study offering by two powerhouse Stanford Hoover Institution scholars, Condi Rice and Amy Zegart. In setting out to research cases on political risk, particularly from Harvard Business School and elsewhere, they found a dearth of info and decided to do their own as grist for a course for the Stanford Business School. Well researched with solid and easily followed frameworks, they methodically apply several cases (BP Deepwater Horizon, Sea World trainer deaths (remember Blackfish?), United Airlines dragging off a passenger, Tylenol tampering scare, etc.) to their framework. If nothing else the framework and cases demonstrate the need for effective scenario risk planning and strategies to hedge against the possible and to react to the potentially inevitable negative publicity no organization is immune. An excellent read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zulfiqar Khan

    This is an interesting book that introduces the subject well, beginning with understanding political risk and then how to analyse it. It concludes with mitigants and response mechanisms. Examples used to highlight the concepts come from the hospitality, entertainment/ theme park and logistics industries. Overall, it could have been better as some examples were used over and over again for a greatbportion of the book. The best parts were later when other case studies such as the BP spillage, the This is an interesting book that introduces the subject well, beginning with understanding political risk and then how to analyse it. It concludes with mitigants and response mechanisms. Examples used to highlight the concepts come from the hospitality, entertainment/ theme park and logistics industries. Overall, it could have been better as some examples were used over and over again for a greatbportion of the book. The best parts were later when other case studies such as the BP spillage, the Tylenol poisoning episode and the NASA disasters were cited. More theory could have been worked into the chapter on analysing political risk with numerical examples to demonstrate how some companies quantify political risk. Otherwise, its well worth the read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    A solid overview of the way geopolitics and social activism can impact businesses and organizations. The book centers a handful of companies including FedEx, United Airlines, SeaWorld, Royal Caribbean, and Lego, treating particular events as running case studies throughout the book. While this can make the text repetitive at times, the focus also allows Rice and Zegart to explore the different ways political risk played out in each company's crisis moments. Recommended for students or newcomers A solid overview of the way geopolitics and social activism can impact businesses and organizations. The book centers a handful of companies including FedEx, United Airlines, SeaWorld, Royal Caribbean, and Lego, treating particular events as running case studies throughout the book. While this can make the text repetitive at times, the focus also allows Rice and Zegart to explore the different ways political risk played out in each company's crisis moments. Recommended for students or newcomers to the topic of political risk, but those already in the field might find it simplistic and repetitive. 3.5/5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    An excellent survey course on political risk management, how governments and other politically motivated actors can impact a business. Secretary Rice provides case studies which include Fed Ex, BP Petroleum, Sea World, the US State Department, and a variety of other companies and businesses, operating domestically and abroad. There was even an anecdote about Ms Rice playing piano accompaniment to Aretha Franklin and how Ms. Rice had to improvise. I look forward to reading more from her and hopin An excellent survey course on political risk management, how governments and other politically motivated actors can impact a business. Secretary Rice provides case studies which include Fed Ex, BP Petroleum, Sea World, the US State Department, and a variety of other companies and businesses, operating domestically and abroad. There was even an anecdote about Ms Rice playing piano accompaniment to Aretha Franklin and how Ms. Rice had to improvise. I look forward to reading more from her and hoping that she re-enters public life in the future.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alisa Luciano

    This book has little to do with anything in my own immediate sphere of life and work. Despite that fact I found it to be an interesting book. I like knowing how things work, especially when I don’t know much about the “thing.” In this case, businesses large enough to encounter political risk are out of my range, but I find it fascinating to read about problem/solutions that arise in the global world. So, while I’m not going to Stamford for an MBA, I thought this book was a fairly straightforward This book has little to do with anything in my own immediate sphere of life and work. Despite that fact I found it to be an interesting book. I like knowing how things work, especially when I don’t know much about the “thing.” In this case, businesses large enough to encounter political risk are out of my range, but I find it fascinating to read about problem/solutions that arise in the global world. So, while I’m not going to Stamford for an MBA, I thought this book was a fairly straightforward and informative read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Vanvactor, DHA

    Drs. Rice and Zegart do not fail in capturing and keeping a readers attention. There is a lot to consider, not just amid the political landscape most have come to picture, but amid generalized management considerations as well. If, after reading this book, a manager doesn't feel the need to consider the "political" ramifications of not tuning into overall strategic implications something is wrong with his thinking. Given that, this book is a good read for an array of disciplines. Well worth the Drs. Rice and Zegart do not fail in capturing and keeping a readers attention. There is a lot to consider, not just amid the political landscape most have come to picture, but amid generalized management considerations as well. If, after reading this book, a manager doesn't feel the need to consider the "political" ramifications of not tuning into overall strategic implications something is wrong with his thinking. Given that, this book is a good read for an array of disciplines. Well worth the time spent page after page.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rajat

    The P of a PESTEL analysis seldom carries weight beyond generic one sliders, but it actually an important part of determining Country Risk. A not so technical book, it is a brief primer on what constitutes Political Risk. You wouldn’t learn what goes in assessing sovereign ratings, but may just garner a broad understanding on how political risk impacts broader corporate strategies. Few good examples, although the same examples are quoted like scriptures again and again, without much variation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victor

    This book grew out of a short course taught for Stanford MBA students. The two authors are not from the business faculty, but experts (and for Professor Condoleezza Rice, a former practitioner) in international relations. Through a series of recent incidents, they explain why it is vital for organisations need to monitor and be prepared to deal with political risk, and introduce a framework and pointers for being prepared. Necessary reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ron Plummer

    I found the material extremely informative even though I'm slightly familiar with the domain from government and corporate professional experiences with disaster and business continuity planning. Some of the repetition reminded me this book came out of graduate level teaching experiences. All in all, it kept my interest and gave me much to reflect and ponder on. I found the material extremely informative even though I'm slightly familiar with the domain from government and corporate professional experiences with disaster and business continuity planning. Some of the repetition reminded me this book came out of graduate level teaching experiences. All in all, it kept my interest and gave me much to reflect and ponder on.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark Joyce

    Caught somewhere mid-way between textbook and memoir and not entirely satisfying on either level, a flaw compounded by frequent lapses into an overly chatty, millennial-style prose. Contains some good insights but also, in common with much of this kind of writing, a fair bit of stating the bleedin obvious at excessive length.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Trung Nguyen Dang

    The book's definition of political risk is too wide, eg almost everything outside of business risk. It's like a primer on non business risk by a consultant. It's a decent book but when i picked it up, i was hoping for a more focus on the real political risk in a narrow sense. The book's definition of political risk is too wide, eg almost everything outside of business risk. It's like a primer on non business risk by a consultant. It's a decent book but when i picked it up, i was hoping for a more focus on the real political risk in a narrow sense.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Schneider

    A must read for leaders How do you prepare your company for the unknown? By reading this book and taking its advice to heart. The better one understands risk, the better one can prepare for it and respond to it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristopher Driver

    Written with all the arrogance of a hegemonic power. She states events as cause-effect without considering the effects of her approach and assumptions on others. This is unbelievably ignorant of others and woefully superficial in its analysis of context.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hunter Lee

    Felt a little repetitive at times. The authors seem to be quoting the examples of Fedex and Marriott too much. Some good thinking and a presentation of a simple framework for corporate risk management, but I wouldn't count it as one of my better reads. Won't read again. Felt a little repetitive at times. The authors seem to be quoting the examples of Fedex and Marriott too much. Some good thinking and a presentation of a simple framework for corporate risk management, but I wouldn't count it as one of my better reads. Won't read again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    5 stars- like sitting in their Stanford classroom! An intriguing application of common risk frameworks broken down and applied specifically to corporate business. Chock full of compelling examples and first hand experiences from our 66th Sec State.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jim Thomas

    A mix of politics, business and r risk assessment with great parables.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jane

    Excellant book. Would recommend to executive decision makers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This is an interesting book for anyone going into business.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fai Poon

    Politicians want to get involved in the business world.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Valeria Cora Rossi

    Done.

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