John Micklethwait

U.S. Based
Editor-in-chief, Bloomberg
Former Editor-in-chief, The Economist
Co-author, The Fourth Revolution

A clear voice on international affairs and globalisation.

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Biography

John Micklethwait is one of the world’s foremost authorities on globalisation — how it works and where it’s headed — and a leading proponent of its positive impact and potential. John is editor-in-chief of Bloomberg's financial news wire service. As editor-in_chief he oversees editorial content across all Bloomberg platforms, including its news, newsletters, magazines, opinion, television, radio and digital properties, as well as its research services, including Bloomberg Intelligence and Bloomberg Brief. He was editor-in-chief of The Economist, the world’s leading business and current affairs weekly. During his tenure, The Economist's weekly print circulation was about 1.5 million worldwide, with 100,000 digital subscribers. John is the co-author of the book The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State.

The age of big government is over; the age of smart government has begun.

As leaders everywhere around the world face a dual crisis of political legitimacy and political effectiveness, dysfunctional government has become a cliché — something most of us are resigned to. As John and his co-author Adrian Wooldridge argue, this is a seriously limited view. There have been three great revolutions in government in the history of the modern world. Now we’re in the midst of a fourth — and the West is in danger of being left behind.

Countries’ success depends overwhelmingly on their ability to reinvent the state.

Drawing on their extraordinary access to influential figures and forces the world over, John and Adrian give a global tour of the innovations in how effective government works. They examine the competing strategies that different governments are experimenting with. How will countries reform fundamental systems like healthcare? Which values will win — democracy and liberty, or command and control? It’s a global race to reinvent the state — and the stakes could not be higher.

John’s previous books include two books on globalisation: A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization and Globalisation: Making Sense of an Integrating World. His book The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, was named one of the ten best books of 2003 by BusinessWeek.

His other specialties include American business, culture, politics, and foreign and defense policy. He was head of The Economist’s U.S. section from 1999 to 2006.

His previous books with Adrian Wooldridge are The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America and the bestselling The Witch Doctors.

After studying history at Magdalen College, Oxford, John worked as a banker at Chase Manhattan. He joined The Economist in 1987 as a finance correspondent. He set up The Economist’s Los Angeles office, where he worked from 1990-1993 and served as its media correspondent. Since then, he’s edited the business section of the magazine, run the New York bureau, and, most recently, edited the United States section. He has covered business and politics from the United States, Latin America, Continental Europe, Southern Africa and most of Asia, and he’s written surveys for The Economist on California, business in Asia, Argentina, Silicon Valley, the United States, and the entertainment industry.

John has been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) during the Queen’s Birthday Honors list. He is a winner of the Wincott Award, Britain’s leading prize for financial journalism and was named Editors' Editor of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors 2010 annual awards. He has appeared on television and radio throughout the world and written op-ed articles for the world’s premier print news journals. John is a trustee of the British Museum.

Credentials

  • Editor-in-chief, Bloomberg
  • Former editor-in-chief, The Economist
  • Co-author, The Fourth Revolution, The Right Nation, The Witch Doctors
  • Author, A Future Perfect, Globalisation, The Company
  • Trustee, the British Museum
  • Editors' Editor of the Year 2010, British Society of Magazine Editors
  • Voted Young Financial Journalist of the Year (1990), Harold Wincott Foundation
  • Frequent broadcaster, appearing on CNN, ABC news, BBC, Charlie Rose, Today, Start the Week and NPR

Books

The Fourth Revolution

The Global Race to Reinvent the State

by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

From the bestselling authors of The Right Nation, a visionary argument that our current crisis in government is nothing less than the fourth radical transition in the history of the nation-state

Dysfunctional government: It’s become a cliché, and most of us are resigned to the fact that nothing is ever going to change. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge show us, that is a seriously limited view of things. In fact, there have been three great revolutions in government in the history of the modern world. The West has led these revolutions, but now we are in the midst of a fourth revolution, and it is Western government that is in danger of being left behind.

Now, things really are different. The West’s debt load is unsustainable. The developing world has harvested the low-hanging fruits. Industrialization has transformed all the peasant economies it had left to transform, and the toxic side effects of rapid developing world growth are adding to the bill. From Washington to Detroit, from Brasilia to New Delhi, there is a dual crisis of political legitimacy and political effectiveness.

The Fourth Revolution crystallises the scope of the crisis and points forward to our future. The authors enjoy extraordinary access to influential figures and forces the world over, and the book is a global tour of the innovators in how power is to be wielded. The age of big government is over; the age of smart government has begun. Many of the ideas the authors discuss seem outlandish now, but the center of gravity is moving quickly.

This tour drives home a powerful argument: that countries’ success depends overwhelmingly on their ability to reinvent the state. And that much of the West — and particularly the United States — is failing badly in its task. China is making rapid progress with government reform at the same time as America is falling badly behind. Washington is gridlocked, and America is in danger of squandering its huge advantages from its powerful economy because of failing government. And flailing democracies like India look enviously at China’s state-of-the-art airports and expanding universities.

The race to get government right is not just a race of efficiency. It is a race to see which political values will triumph in the twenty-first century — the liberal values of democracy and liberty or the authoritarian values of command and control. The stakes could not be higher.

Penguin Press (15 May 2014)

Reviews

ReviewForeign Affairs
A Call to RallyThe New York Times Sunday Book Review
The Fourth RevolutionFinancial Times
Book ReviewThe Wall Street Journal
Review — Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com
Brits eye our ailing governmentThe Seattle Times

The Right Nation

Why America Is Different

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

How, in a relatively short time, did America veer so far to the right as to become incomprehensible to Europe, as it would no doubt be to Richard Nixon? And why is it likely to remain so no matter who occupies the Oval Office? Like latter-day de Tocquevilles, English journalists John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge explain this new America, and the conservative movement that shaped it, with a freshness and clarity that elude most native observers. The Right Nation is an indispensable guide to the mystery of American difference that will illuminate readers on both the right and left.

Penguin (1 Sep 2005)

A Future Perfect

The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalization

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

A Future Perfect is the first comprehensive examination of the most important revolution of our time — globalization — and how it will continue to change our lives. Do businesses benefit from going global? Are we creating winner-take-all societies? Will globalization seal the triumph of junk culture? What will happen to individual careers? Gathering evidence worldwide, from the shantytowns of São Paolo to the boardrooms of General Electric, from the troubled Russia-Estonia border to the booming San Fernando Valley sex industry, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge deliver an illuminating tour of the global economy and a fascinating assessment of its potential impact.

Crown Business (Dec 2000)
Times Books (May 2000)

Praise

“A tremendous book.”
Newsweek

“It is not just that Micklethwait and Wooldridge . . . write gloriously. . . . The book’s substance is what really makes it stand out. . . . Judged in its entirety, with all its ambition and achievement, the book is a spectacular success.”
Foreign Affairs

“[A] compelling, witty discourse . . . To explain how globalization works, and how it came to pass, Micklethwait and Wooldridge take us on an extended world tour.”
Fast Company

“[The authors’] style is familiar to readers of The Economist: smooth, witty, erudite. . . . Their book merits an A.”
— USA Today*

The Company

A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea (Modern Library Chronicles)

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

From the acclaimed authors of A Future Perfect comes the untold story of how the company became the world’s most powerful institution.

Like all groundbreaking books, The Company fills a hole we didn’t know existed, revealing that we cannot make sense of the past four hundred years until we place that seemingly humble Victorian innovation, the joint-stock company, in the center of the frame.

With their trademark authority and wit, Economist editors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge reveal the company to be one of history’s great catalysts, for good and for ill, a mighty engine for sucking in, recombining, and pumping out money, goods, people, and culture to every corner of the globe. What other earthly invention has the power to grow to any size, and to live to any age? What else could have given us both the stock market and the British Empire? The company man, the company town, and company time? Disneyfication and McDonald’sization, to say nothing of Coca-colonialism? Through its many mutations, the company has always incited controversy, and governments have always fought to rein it in. Today, though Marx may spin in his grave and anarchists riot in the streets, the company exercises an unparalleled influence on the globe, and understanding what this creature is and where it comes from has never been a more pressing matter. To the rescue come these acclaimed authors, with a short volume of truly vast range and insight.

Phoenix; New Ed edition (7 Jan 2005)
W&N (21 Aug 2003)

God Is Back

How the Global Rise of Faith Is Changing the World

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

Two Economist writers show how and why religion is booming around the world and reveal its vast effects on the global economy, politics, and more.

On the street and in the corridors of power, religion is surging worldwide. From Russia to Turkey to India, nations that swore off faith in the last century — or even tried to stamp it out — are now run by avowedly religious leaders. Formerly secular conflicts like the one in Palestine have taken on an overtly religious cast. God Is Back shines a bright light on this hidden world of faith, from exorcisms in São Paulo to religious skirmishing in Nigeria, to televangelism in California and house churches in China.

Since the Enlightenment, intellectuals have assumed that modernization would kill religion — and that religious America is an oddity. As God Is Back argues, religion and modernity can thrive together, and America is becoming the norm. Many things helped spark the global revival of religion, including the failure of communism and the rise of globalism. But, above all, twenty-first century religion is being fueled by a very American emphasis on competition and a customer- driven approach to salvation. These qualities have characterized this country’s faith ever since the Founders separated church and state, creating a religious free market defined by entrepreneurship, choice, and personal revelation. As market forces reshape the world, the tools and ideals of American evangelism are now spreading everywhere.

The global rise of faith will have a dramatic and far- reaching impact on our century. Indeed, its destabilizing effects can already be seen far from Iraq or the World Trade Center. Religion plays a role in civil wars from Sri Lanka to Sudan. Along the tenth parallel, from West Africa to the Philippines, religious fervor and political unrest are reinforcing each other. God Is Back concludes by showing how the same American ideas that created our unique religious style can be applied around the globe to channel the rising tide of faith away from volatility and violence.

Penguin (4 Mar 2010)
Allen Lane (21 April 2009)

Reviews

Peace, Love and UnderstandingThe Washington Post
God Is BackThe Telegraph
Faith In The FutureNew Statesman
Religious RevivalThe New York Times
God is BackFinancial Times

Globalisation

Making Sense of an Integrating World

Kate Galbraith (Editor), Bill Emmott, John Micklethwait and Clive Crook (Authors)

Expert analysis of the way globalization is changing the world we live in and will continue to do so.

Globalization is one of the most powerful forces at work today, fundamentally affecting the way businesses are run and the way we lead our lives, and causing thousands to take to the streets at world summits to protest against its effects. This book is a collection of surveys and articles on globalization that have appeared in The Economist. They cover a wide range of issues: migration; trade; culture; the influence of multinationals; the role of organizations such as IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO; the spread of equity culture; taxation; inequality; the environment; and how technology is raising standards in the world's poorest countries.

Together, through careful analysis of the facts, the articles discuss the case for globalization. For anyone who wants an understanding of the conceptual and practical issues involved in this contentious subject, there is no broader or more illuminating guide.

Profile Books (Feb. 2002)

The Witch Doctors

Making Sense of the Management Gurus

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

The Witch Doctors is a one-stop guide to management theories, fads, and the gurus who promote them that will spark controversy, debate, and a dialogue for change. Funny, entertaining and outspoken, this is a book no American worker can afford to miss.

Mandarin; New edition edition (6 Nov 1997)
Crown Business (Dec 1996)

Topics

John tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Globalization

The Euro crisis

American business

American politics and foreign and defense policy

International affairs & transatlantic relations

Silicon Valley and US West Coast business and politics

Videos

Globalisation—what the world has achieved and what it stands to lose

Brexit: The European Union Itself is Under Threat

Britain's general election | Charlie Rose

Survival of the Fastest | Global Leadership Summit

The Fourth Revolution | Charlie Rose

The Fourth Revolution | Meet the Press

Feedback

A not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation composed of the CEOs of Canada’s leading enterprises
My colleagues and I appreciated the opportunity to learn from your perspectives on the role of government in the 21st century. It was obvious from the questions that the business leaders in attendance found the exchange of views both enjoyable and informative.

An organisation of family business advisors:
He was absolutely fantastic, the best keynote speaker they've ever had. He offered his view of the US Election from an UK perspective, he has a great way with words; brilliant on economics and politics...beautiful presentation which he tweaked to their audience.

A leading international conference organiser:
Your presentation was just so well received, and I am just so glad you were able to do it. I received so many comments from delegates saying that your presentation was scary and fascinating at the same time. Thank you for also being so generous with your time.

A media company:
John delivered a great opening keynote address at the event — topical, insightful and amusing. Delegates really enjoyed it and the feedback was excellent. He was a pleasure to work with throughout the process and did a superb job.

An international research and educational organization:
John was fantastic! Everything went well. Thanks again for all your hard work!