Monday, January 19, 2009

'What Obama Should Read'

Now that's progress! A president who likes to read! After all, it has been known for a long time that George W. Bush did not even read the one-page executive summary of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, only to turn around and trash it in the media.

The Washington Monthly has asked 19 of its favorite writers and thinkers to suggest the books Obama should read. The result is an interesting list of 25 books.

Joel Garreau, fellow at the New America Foundation, recommends The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World by Peter Schwartz, published in 1996. Here is how Garreau summarizes it:
It’s still the most accessible guide to thinking rationally, systematically, and strategically about futures you can’t possibly predict. Scenario planning is the antidote to the kind of futures bravado that caused us to roll into Iraq thinking there was no other possibility but that they’d throw rose petals at our feet. As change accelerates, you’ve got a lot more strange stuff coming at you, Mr. President. This is the conceptual guide on how to prepare.
While coming from a business and consulting perspective, it is good to be reminded of the importance of scenario planning for developing strategies for an unpredictable future.

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