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Interview with Simon Anholt

Simon Anholt is the man behind the 2nd most inspiring TED Talk of all time as well as the Good Country Index. Simon has advised over 53 world leaders as well as dozens of CEOs on how to develop and implement strategies for their enhanced economic, political and cultural engagement with other countries and global publics.

What got you interested in global issues relating to culture, business and politics?

I’m really not sure – I think I was born that way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always just assumed that people from other countries would be more interesting than people from my own country, and that their countries, culture, language, music, food, literature and landscapes would be more interesting than my own. It took me a long time to discover how many people assume the opposite, which is a bit depressing.


What inspired you to create “The Good Country Index”?

I wanted to start a new kind of global discussion about what countries are really for: are they there purely to serve the territorial and economic interests of their citizens, or do they also play a part in giving all of us a future on this planet? So the Good Country Index is designed to encourage people to start asking a new question about countries: instead of forever asking “how well are we doing?”, they have now started asking “how much are we doing?”.


If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?

I honestly can’t think of a single thing I’d do differently. That doesn’t mean I planned it all, by any means: but the way it turned out seems to me just perfect.


What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

I’d like the Good Country to reach its interim target of 760 million citizens.


Why do clients typically hire you to speak?  

Because they’re tired of hearing the same stuff over and over again, and they want to give their audience something new to talk about, not just for the rest of the event, but for weeks and months afterwards.


If you could give one advice to world leaders and people of power, what would it be? 

Well that’s actually my day-job. Among many other things, I usually ask them to ponder on the fact that when they become Head of State or Head of Government of their country, they join the team that runs the planet.

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