In an age where there is a rising populist push back against the corporate world and its inhabitants, I think Meghan FitzGerald’s Ascending Davos rates as a rebuke to the idea they are all money grubbing monsters. Even her entry into the rarefied world of financial power, the Swiss city of Davos and the World Economic Forum, emphasizes how tethered to earth FitzGerald remains despite her lofty corporate position and professional success. This isn’t a story FitzGerald addresses in any way throughout the course of Ascending Davos, but I think it is an important unspoken context to note as you read the book in the current social climate.
Her beginnings as a nurse are key to understanding how FitzGerald remains committed to wielding her influence for ultimate good rather than filling her pockets. As she mentions early on, her natural instincts as a nurse to be patient-centric remain intact despite her entry into the boardroom. This is a remarkable thing. The primary story of this book is, of course, FitzGerald’s path from her first nursing experiences, like working in an Arizona dialysis center, and her drive to reach a place where she can put her skills and passion to widespread use influencing the American health care system in a positive way. There are swaths of commentary about the health care system along the way and she supports her statements with well chosen research certain to resonate with readers, but this isn’t a treatise on health care in America.
It is, in my opinion, FitzGerald’s story. Much of the book details her exhilarating and wearying experiences, the wounds she incurs during her rise, and the personal immaterial rewards she ultimately reaps for her struggle. It has a vivid impact on readers thanks, in no small part, to the book’s outstanding design. I find Ascending Davos is, while challenging thanks to its fierce intelligence, an easy read thanks to the concise way she lays it out for readers. It isn’t a convoluted web demanding to be untangled to be understood, but instead a straightforward account. Her writing further facilitates this. There isn’t a single extraneous word burdening the text and she blends the personal and professional with deft skill.
Another key is how she sets forth a clear vision of her personal beliefs through principles she details through the book. These principles are yet another key to understanding what makes FitzGerald tick and she never presents them in a high handed style. These are lessons learned during her long climb and her gratitude is palpable. Meghan FitzGerald’s Ascending Davos is a generous work; she wrote this for herself, of course, but it is clear she wrote it for everyone interested in her vision of the possible. It concludes in the same inspired and emphatic manner that it begins and I defy readers to step away from their first experience reading this feeling indifferent to its effects; it is not a book allowing indifference. Instead, FitzGerald’s book engages you without ever letting up and we’re better off for it.