Book cover imageWhy you should read the book

Linda Brimm’s insightful new book is designed to help all kinds of readers understand a complex, fast-growing, and influential group of people. Drawing on stories of individuals from around the world, the book explains how Global Cosmopolitans develop the skills and knowledge that make them so effective. It highlights the breadth and depth of their complex lives, including the challenges that they face. Above all, it offers a concrete way to uncover the hidden value of the Global Cosmopolitan experience so that organizations, families, friends, and Global Cosmopolitans themselves can make the most of it.

What the book is about

While their international identities have diverse starting points and experiences, Global Cosmopolitans’ views of the world and themselves are profoundly affected by both the realities of living in different cultures and their responses to the challenges that emerge.

Diversity and change, two of the watchwords of the modern world, are a fact of life for Global Cosmopolitans. They know what it’s like to come to a new country, a new school or a new job and feel that sudden loss of identity. They become experts at recreating themselves in light of new cultural conventions and relationships. They know how to adapt, to reinvent, and to bring about change.

Most people develop a filter throughout their lives by which to understand the world around them. Global Cosmopolitans develop a prism, a multifaceted view forged by their experiences with conflict, alternate belief systems, and new ways of understanding and behaving around people very different from themselves. Their view is a worldview with a complexity so deep that even they can have trouble articulating it.

Understanding Global Cosmopolitans requires looking beyond the résumé that typically serves to define an individual’s worth and identity. The missing piece of the equation is to pay careful attention to their silent, inner journey, to the strengths they have developed because of the challenges they have confronted over time.

Global Cosmopolitans are an elite talent pool that businesses and governments are using to operate in every corner of the world. And, as Global Cosmopolitans assume significant leadership positions, they build management teams that include other Global Cosmopolitans. This book presents their voices and demonstrates how their international mobility has provided learning opportunities that have given them key skills for success.

How the book is organized

Part I Global Cosmopolitans: Meeting the Masters of Complexity and Change introduces the Global Cosmopolitan phenomenon and its value to the world – and particularly to business.

Chapter 1 Introducing Global Cosmopolitans presents global leaders and discusses the importance of understanding Global Cosmopolitans in a new and deeper way. Download chapter.

Chapter 2 Exploring the Identity of Global Cosmopolitans introduces members of the emerging Global Cosmopolitan generation. It describes how Global Cosmopolitans have different starting points for their journeys and provides examples of the complexities they face.

Chapter 3 Strength and Competence: Learning from a Global Life introduces a set of crucial strengths that are often overlooked or not associated with international mobility. (See Excerpts.)

Part II The Invisible Journey: the Roots of Strength and Resilience looks at how Global Cosmopolitans develop their valuable strengths through the complex challenges they face.

Chapter 4 Life Challenges and the Road to Identity describes a set of challenges that Global Cosmopolitans frequently encounter because of the constant change and uncommon complexity of internationally mobile lives. (See Excerpts.)

Chapter 5 Relationship Challenges: Invisible Rules describes how the past is prologue to the present and the future and how the past can be a source of tangled knots or fresh insights. It also examines relationship challenges that emerge from the broader cultural and social context of Global Cosmopolitans, and describes how family and cultural stories influence the Global Cosmopolitan identity.

Chapter 6 Relationship Challenges: Connection and Disconnection focuses on relational challenges in the context of work and personal life.

Part III The Invisible Journey: New Pathways to Development looks at reasons why challenges don’t necessarily lead to creativity and positive change, and provides insights about removing these obstacles.

Chapter 7 Paradoxical Needs: Finding the Roots of Challenges explores the internal forces that underlie Global Cosmopolitan challenges.

Chapter 8 Two-Edged Swords: When Strengths Create New Challenges looks at how Global Cosmopolitan strengths associated with mobility can also have downsides.

Part IV Moving Forward: Bringing the Invisible Journey Out of the Dark explores how Global Cosmopolitans can give new value to their international experiences when they step back and look at their lives from a new perspective.

Chapter 9 Moving Forward: An Inner Portrait of the Crucial Decades assembles the pieces of the internal portrait of Global Cosmopolitans as they consider how to move forward at different stages in their lives.

Chapter 10 Global Cosmopolitans: Unlocking the Power of Stories and Change describes how the lessons presented in this book can be applied to all Global Cosmopolitans to help them reach their full potential. The chapter addresses not just Global Cosmopolitans themselves, but also people in the workplace, family, and friends. This Chapter ends by presenting an exciting new model: “The 7 C’s of Change and Development.” (See Excerpts.)

Appendix: The Global Cosmopolitan Workbook is for readers who want to relate their own lives to the Global Cosmopolitan stories described in the book through a set of experiential exercises. It provides the tools to explore the personal implications of the ideas and frameworks in the book. It also affords an idea of how organizations, managers and others in the helping professions can build programs to maximize the effectiveness of Global Cosmopolitans as they confront the challenges outlined in the book.