Bill Emmott

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Bill Emmott

Bill Emmott (born August 6, 1956) is an English journalist and editor. He has also made a documentary feature film, Girlfriend in a Coma.


Emmott was educated at Latymer Upper School in London and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he attained a First Class Degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). After graduation, he worked for The Economist newspaper in Brussels, Tokyo and London, becoming editor in March 1993. He resigned on 20 February 2006. During his tenure, The Economist editorialised in favour of the Iraq war, of legalising gay marriage, and of abolishing the British monarchy; and in opposition to Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister of Italy.

He is chairman of the London Library, a trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, group economic adviser for Fleming Family & Partners, and Visiting Professor at Shujitsu University in Okayama, Japan. He is also an adviser to Swiss Re. He is especially known for several well-received books about Japan.

Bill Emmott wrote the best-selling book The Sun Also Sets: The Limits to Japan's Economic Power (1989) as well as 20:21 Vision: Twentieth-Century Lessons for the Twenty-First Century (2003), Japanophobia: The Myth of the Invincible Japanese (1993) and Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape our Next Decade (2008). His latest book is about Italy: first published in Italian translation in 2010 under the title Forza, Italia: Come Ripartire dopo Berlusconi, Emmott then updated, revised and expanded it for the English version, Good Italy, Bad Italy, which was published by Yale University Press in 2012.

A documentary feature film co-written and narrated by Emmott, titled "Girlfriend in a Coma", which depicts Italy in a 20-year-long crisis was made during 2012 by Springshot Productions under the direction and co-authorship of Annalisa Piras. It was launched in 2012 and broadcast on the BBC, La7, Sky Italia and other European TV channels in 2013. A new film, directed, produced and written by Annalisa Piras, and with Emmott as executive producer, The Great European Disaster Movie, has been co-produced by BBC4 and Arte and is due for transmission in early 2015.

Emmott writes columns on current affairs for The Financial Times in London, for La Stampa in Italy, for Nikkei Business in Japan and for Project Syndicate.

Girlfriend in a Coma[edit]

After having written those two versions of the book on Italy, Emmott turned sounding the alarm about Italy’s decline into something of a personal project. He co-wrote and narrated an independent documentary feature film entitled Girlfriend in a Coma, directed and co-written by Annalisa Piras and produced by Springshot Productions in 2012.

It was broadcast on BBC Four, Sky Italia and La7 TV channels early in 2013, and subsequently on other channels worldwide as well as more than 46 independently organised public screenings in Italy and abroad. During the six months following its release, the film was watched by more than one and a half million viewers.

Girlfriend in a Coma depicted Italy’s 20-year-long decline as having moral and political origins, as well as economic ones. It blended his independent outsider’s view with the passion and insider outlook of Annalisa Piras, one of the million-strong diaspora of Italians who left the country during the Berlusconi era.


N.B. Where no author is mentioned, Bill Emmott is the sole author.

  • Pennant-Rea, Rupert; Emmott, Bill, eds. (1983). The Pocket Economist. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-26070-1. 
  • — (1989). The Sun Also Sets: Why Japan Will Not Be Number One. London: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-69696-3. 
  • — (1991). Japan's Global Reach: The Influences, Strategies, and Weaknesses of Japan's Multinational Companies. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-4928-X. 
  • — (1993). Japanophobia: The Myth of the Invincible Japanese. New York: Times Books. ISBN 0-8129-1907-6. 
  • — (1996). Kanryo no Taizai [The Deadly Sins of Government] (in Japanese). Tranlsated by Chikara Suzuki. Tokyo: Soshisha. ISBN 4-7942-0702-6. 
  • Emmott, Bill; Watanabe, Koji; Wolfowitz, Paul (1997). Managing the International System over the Next Ten Years: Three Essays. New York: Trilateral Commission. ISBN 0-930503-76-7. 
  • — (2003). 20:21 Vision: The Lessons of the 20th Century for the 21st. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9519-X. 
  • — (2005). Changing Times: Leading Perspectives on the Civil Service in the 21st Century and Its Enduring Values. London: Office of the Civil Service Commissioners. ISBN 978-0-7115-0469-1. 
  • — (2006). Shin Ogon Jidai no Nihon [Japan's New Golden Age—of the coming 10 years] (in Japanese). Masahiro Ugaya (trans.). Tokyo: PHP Institute. ISBN 4-569-65639-0. 
  • — (2006). Hiwa Mata Noboru [The Sun Also Rises] (in Japanese). Soshisha. ISBN 978-4-7942-1473-7. 
  • — (2007). Nihon no sentaku [Japan’s Choices] (in Japanese). Kodansha International. 
  • — (2008). Sekai Choryu no Yomikata [Reading the World's Currents] (in Japanese). PHP Institute. 
  • — (2008). Rivals: How the power struggle between China, India and Japan will shape our next decade. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-1-84614-009-9. 
  • — (2010). Kawaru Sekai, Tachiokureru Nihon [Changing World, Lagging Japan] (in Japanese). PHP Institute. ISBN 4-569-77728-7. 
  • — (2010). Forza, Italia. Rizzoli. ISBN 9788817044929. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rupert Pennant-Rea
Editor of The Economist
Succeeded by
John Micklethwait