The former assistant secretary of defense and former dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Joseph Nye offers sharp insights into the way nations take and cede power.

Why you should listen

From the window of his living room, Joseph Nye looks out on the battle green in Lexington, Massachusetts. There, just before dawn in April 1775, American minutemen and British regulars squared off, firing the first shots of the American Revolution. It's a perfect locale for Nye, whose ideas on how the struggle for power shapes the lives of nations are required reading for diplomats worldwide.

His views on the blending of hard and soft power into what he calls smart power have relevance in the day of non-state political forces (like Al-Qaeda). Nye has done much writing on how the age-old diplomatic methodologies of hard power (military force and economic payments) and soft power (persuasion and attraction) have fused into smart power and a cogent and usable diplomacy. It's the subject of his newest work, The Future of Power in the 21st Century, which provides a pragmatic roadmap for a country's foreign policy to deal with the challenges of a global information age.

What others say

“Reading Nye's writing on world politics is like watching Joe DiMaggio play center field or Yo-Yo Ma play the cello: he makes the difficult look easy.” — Robert O. Keohane, foreword, Understanding International Conflicts, 7th edition

Joseph Nye’s TED talk

Quotes from Joseph Nye

As we think of power in the 21st century, we want to get away from the idea that power’s always zero sum — my gain is your loss and vice versa. Power can also be positive sum, where your gain can be my gain.
Joseph Nye
TEDGlobal 2010 • 764K views Oct 2010
Informative, Persuasive