Like it or not, we live in a globalized world where borders have little meaning anymore in an economic sense. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a manufacturer of widgets in Waukegan or a writer of fiction in a basement office in Washington, DC, you have to be able to pitch your product to a global world, or risk being sidelined and forgotten.
Frank Lavin, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Singapore and undersecretary for trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Peter Cohan, president of a management consulting and venture capital firm, have written an excellent book on not just surviving, but thriving, in that world. As practitioners of international trade, they know what they’re talking about. Moreover, unlike a lot of books of globalization and international trade, they’re able to explain it in terms that don’t require an advanced degree in economics and finance to understand.
While this book is written for companies looking to invest in foreign markets, its common sense approach to international trade and cooperation apply to anyone who has a product to market, even writers. The whole book is useful, but parts one and two, which address market analysis, self-awareness, and developing marketing strategies are the most valuable. The case studies that the authors use to illustrate their points are interesting, but as a writer, I only find them mildly useful. The background and the final part, on taking action, though, were valuable in and of themselves. If you’re pressed for time and can’t read this book from start to finish, just go to pages 213 and 214 and read the first two pages of Chapter 10, “Take Action.” These few brief words should be engraved on parchment, framed, and hung in the office of every one of us.
You don’t have to be a businessman to appreciate this book.