The Coming Jobs War

By Jim Clifton

(Gallup Press, 220 pp., $24.95)

After finishing Clifton's The Coming Jobs War, I felt cautiously optimistic about the future of jobs across the globe. Clifton's main message is that as time progresses, the world will face a global shortage of meaningful jobs and, if nothing is done, the United States will eventually lose an economic war with China.

This displacement of jobs, Clifton argues, will become the most important issue that leaders will face in the future. He supports his arguments in a methodical and detailed manner, while encouraging readers to act on his message.

As CEO of The Gallup Group, Clifton provides readers with snapshots of data extracted from a worldwide survey that his organization has been conducting during the past few years. He says that leaders at local levels hold incredible amounts of power that they must harness to create jobs within their communities.

Clifton makes a strong case for the United States to gain an advantage over its global economic competitors by embracing "behavioral economics." He explains that currently leaders use classical economics to make business decisions, but should instead engage behavioral economics—the force behind why people make those decisions—to triumph in the global economic war.


I appreciated how Clifton pointed out systemic problems while also proposing strategic solutions, often in the form of lists recorded throughout the book. I caught myself returning to these lists and determining how I could implement them at my company.

From a business perspective, Clifton is on target when he examines the importance of entrepreneurship. He explains that while innovation is vital, its empty without a business model backing it. In other words, while you might have the greatest invention ever built sitting in your garage, it wont serve a purpose until you get the right people to use it at the right time.

While the book was well-written and informative, it contained strong political overtones in many of the chapters. At times the book lost direction and included examples or stories that seemed a bit irrelevant. I also expected to see more written about how technology is going to affect the "jobs war" of which Clifton warns.

Finally, Clifton could have written to a more global audience. Id argue that putting humankind first is more important than America defeating China in an economic throw down. None of this criticism should discourage one from reading the book, however. It is well-conceived, well-written, and could be a harbinger for what's in store for the future.

I enjoyed the book and think it deserves three out of four cups of coffee.