Thinking In Time: The Uses Of History For Decision Makers
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Thinking In Time: The Uses Of History For Decision Makers

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A Simon & Schuster eBook. Simon & Schuster has a great book for every reader.
ebook, 352 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Free Press (first published March 31st 1986)
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Read this book for a grad class.
In my life I have literally thrown a book across the room maybe two or three times. I threw this one across the room. What a couple of infuriatingly condescending pricks. To think that no amount of intelligent thought goes into decision making at the highest level is ridiculous. Yes there were some pretty significant moments where what someone thought was a small decision turned out to be a huge disastrous one... but this book fixes 0% of that. Your solution is to...more
Jeff Kelly

Now, the work begins.

After a memorable day in which he weathered Chief Justice John Roberts’ fumbling of the presidential oath, danced with his wife Michelle to the Etta James tune “At Last” crooned by Grammy Award-winning singer Beyonce, and attended all 10 inaugural balls, Barack Obama wakes up today as America’s first black president.

Yesterday inauguration was drenched in historical symbol and substance.

Obama referred repeatedly to the past in his inaug...more
A good book written with the intention of teaching decision makers at the Presidential level use history to help them form their decisions. If you're familiar with the details of the historical events that Neustadt and May focus on, then you will find their perspective on how and why the President and his cabinet made the decisions they made pretty interesting.

Doubtful that anyone in our current administration read this book during 2002 or 2003 (except maybe Colin Powell).

If you like high level...more
B. Lynwood Davis
Excellent text outlining a number of "mini-methods" suggested by the authors on utilizing history to deal with crisis. The manuscript is written primarily for decision makers and their staffs who formulate and implement policy. While seemingly geared toward the public sector, such mini-methods and concepts, such as getting the organizational history, have applications across the private spectrum as well. Overall, one of the single best books I've read on how to actually arrive at decisions.
An interesting but dry book regarding the decision making process in politics. Using the Cuban Missile Crisis and the development of Social Security as two examples among several, it makes invaluable points about the importance of taking into account the historical background and motivations behind the actions of other persons and countries.
Lauren Hu
Two thumbs down. While there is a grain of reason in this book, I felt more like they were saying Hind Sight is 20/20, so make sure you make the right decision this time. Most of this book felt like common sense with a few grains of wisdom sprinkled in here and there.
Its a good book but very dry reading and nothing really eye-opening. We are all told history repeats itself, they just wrote a book about how.

I wouldn't really recommend this book unless you doubt how history always comes back and never experienced it yourself.
Kirk Kittell
I saw this as a reference in "Blair, Bush, and the Problem of Political Judgment" by Laurence Prusak, Harvard Business Review, 2 September 2010.
Interestingly enough one of the things they go over in this book is the Ford administration's decisions regarding swine flu. It is very dry, I might finish it another time, or just use it for reference at some point.
Did you know that LBJ was NOT part of JFK's secret circel on dealing with the Cuban Missle crisis. Find out this and why that probably showed the genius of JFK at the time.
Lecture-based text on how to use history to make better decisions. See mini-review at
Stacey Brewer
Interesting summary of key political moments and decisions. A good book for novice political history buffs.
Philip Stratton
Philip Stratton marked it as to-read
Apr 12, 2014
Enric Gili
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Apr 01, 2014
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