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What is ‘longpath’? The new mindset can help corporate leaders reconcile the tension between ‘shareholders’ and ‘stakeholders’

August 15, 2022, 8:57 AM UTC

Good morning.

A new and noteworthy book is out this week titled Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs, by Ari Wallach. Wallach argues that we are in what he calls an “intertidal” moment—when different worlds collide, like the sea and the shore. From the book:

Global challenges like climate change, pandemic disease, financial crisis, and tech disruptions are exploding and are on a collision course with fragmented geopolitical structures and citizens…Whereas once we took for granted that the next generation would be better off than we are, people increasingly feel that they and their families will be worse off in five years. The way we work has changed, with one-third of the American workforce now participating in the gig economy and automation infiltrating almost every sector. We even have the capacity to edit our genetic code now in a way that gets passed down to our kids and their kids and so on.”

How to respond? Wallach says the moment demands a change in mindset, that reframes decisions to focus not on what they mean for the next day, month, or year—but on what they mean for future generations. I spoke to Wallach last week and asked him why he wrote the book now. His answer:

I wrote the book because after being a strategic consultant and leader of a company that is helping people think about tomorrow, I found that tomorrow for most people is just six to nine months out. But the issues we are dealing with are 60- to 90-year issues. We need to change how we think about these things…break them down, understand them…so we aren’t just putting the sandbags out.”

While the book isn’t explicitly about business, the “longpath” framing helps clarify the current debate between a “shareholder” and “stakeholder” focus. In the longpath, the two merge. We are all equal stakeholders in the future.

Other news below. And take a look at our summary of how the 10 biggest companies in the U.S. are handling a return to the office.  


Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

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Japan bounces back

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, posted annualized GDP growth of 2.2% on Monday, signaling that it may finally be moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic. After an Omicron outbreak chilled the economy to 0% growth in the first quarter, the Japanese public—highly vaccinated and fed up with staying at home—have stormed back into restaurants, malls, and tourist hotspots. New York Times

RIP, Anshu Jain

Anshu Jain, the former Cantor Fitzgerald president and Deutsche Bank co-CEO, has died at age 59, five years after being diagnosed with duodenal cancer. Jain outlived his initial diagnosis by four years “through a combination of exhaustive personal research, tactical skill, amazing caregivers, and sheer force of will,” his family wrote in a statement. Jain, born in India, is best known for turning Deutsche Bank into a global trading powerhouse. Fortune 

AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

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What is ‘quiet quitting’? Gen Z is ditching hustle culture to avoid burnout by Alena Botros

Remote work is probably hurting your body and brain—but there are simple ways to fight it by L’Oreal Thompson Payton

47 of the world’s 200 biggest companies still haven’t left Russia. Now the Kremlin is preparing ‘expropriation blackmail,’ an expert says by Yvonne Lau

Corporate America is still too male. LinkedIn has a ‘nudge’ that could actually make a difference by Jane Thier

Why Alicia Boler Davis left Amazon’s S-team—and turned down Fortune 500 CEO jobs—for a startup by Emma Hinchliffe

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Claire Zillman.

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