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
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