Soft Power - Reading List

Recommended reading to help towards a better understanding of Soft Power.

Soft Power: The Means To Success In World Politics: Joseph S. Nye Nye (The Paradox of American Power, etc.) now Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, was an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and is certain to be a key player in a new Democratic administration. My only critique is that, within Nye's picture, soft power often appears as a back stop for hard power - another way to get what you want, rather than a genuinely different way of being in the world. This may be because the dominant political culture is still overly masculine.

The Powers to Lead: Joseph S Nye Strong leaders need a balance of soft and hard power - what Nye calls smart power. In this book he suggests that women have more natural soft power skills than men. However, as in the above, he does not explore the developments that may occur when more women enter the public sphere. Nevertheless, essential reading.

Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century: Mark Leonard Leonard explores soft power as a specifically European phenomenon. In his view, the attraction of the European Union for its members or potential members is its soft, transformational power. It does not threaten with military power, instead the threat of being excluded from the world's largest single market is its most potent weapon. To become a member, a country must transform itself from within and comply with the 80,000 plus pages of law written in Brussels - laws that cover everything from human rights to product development.

What Does China Think? Mark Leonard China is the first super-power to explicitly champion soft power in its foreign policy. However, there is still a struggle between hard and soft responses to global events at the heart of Chinese government.

Living Well, Working Smart: Soft Skills for Success: Sue Macke and Laura Tonkin. While soft power is relatively unknown outside the US, soft skills have been taught in business for a number of years. Soft, in this context, is the emotional, spiritual and intuitive arena of knowledge. Look up 'soft skills' for many more books on this theme.

Post-equality explorations of the difference between Men and Women

The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls, and the Real Difference Between the Sexes: Susan Pinker. Brilliant exploration of why gifted women hit glass ceilings and troubled men still succeed in business.

The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain: Simon Baron-CohenDrawing the continuum from the feminine to the masculine brain, showing where one overlaps with the other and how the extremes of either are vulnerable.

Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different - And How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-balanced Men: Steve Biddulph. A vital insight into masculinity and the role of hard power in young boys' lives.

Books which describe female power and why it is vital to public life

The Power of Yin: Hazel Henderson, Jean Houston, Barbara Marx-Hubbard. Three powerful women, all who have made successful careers in the public sphere, discuss what is feminine about the way they operate and how that is important for the future.

Why Women Should Rule the World: A Memoir: Dee Dee Myers. Fascinating story of Bill Clinton's Press Secretary in the early years of his administration and her assessment of the vital contribution women can make in political life. Not quite as strident as the title suggests, highly recommended for its research into how men and women behave differently in the face of conflict.

Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World: Marie C. Wilson. Founder of the White House Project to help women get into politics. Like Dee Dee Myers, Wilson is not anti-men but pro a better balance between what men and women have to offer public life.

If you have any further suggestions please contact us and we'll add them to the reading list email Indra Adnan

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