I'm excited to report that our new book, 'Threats in the Age of Obama' is now available for purchase -- from Amazon, as well as directly from our publisher, Nimble Books (same price; take your pick). Here's the cover:
I contributed a chapter entitled "Preparing One's Mind to See" expanding on this post last fall by about an order of magnitude (writing for publication is far more exacting than blogging!) Here's the brief blurb on Amazon:
If you are on a mission to change the way government works, particularly in the national security arena, this is one place where some independent and intellectually diverse thinking is to be found. In these essays, we offer our view of some of the more pressing threats the Obama administration will have to deal with in these early days of
the 21st century.
The title should not be taken as implying that this is a political book or that its insights are for the short term. Just the opposite. My esteemed co-authors make up a fascinating and insightful bunch of long-term thinkers who come at this from a wide array of perspectives.
Whatever you may have thought the next decade may bring before reading this, I guarantee you will be challenged to think about it differently, more holistically and in more depth afterward.
But before you get distracted reading everyone's bio or blog... BUY THE BOOK! :)
Side note: It's been quite a thrill just to get this far. The team is spread across eight different time zones. Most of us know one another's writings but only some of us have ever spoken live, much less met face-to-face. Welcome to the future of publishing.
At a recent speech at Columbia University, [Newsweek Editor Jon] Meacham delivered a blistering response after he asked who reads Newsweek and none of the 100-odd students in attendance raised their hands.
He can 'blister' all he wants, but I don't know of any industry in which that's proven effective as a means to enticing potential customers into buying your product. The blow-by-blow of that speech from early February is even more pitiful [emphasis added]:
After about an hour, there seemed to be no more questions for him, so Newsweek editor Jon Meacham turned to his audience—about 100 graduate students at Columbia journalism school—and said he had a question for them: Did anyone in the room read Newsweek or Time? There was a small, awkward rumbling before finally, a man shouted, "No!" ...
"Have you looked at Newsweek?" [asked Meacham]
"Sure," said the J-schooler.
"And it's not up to your standards?"
"I find [it] less useful honestly. The news? I don't get it from Newsweek..."
"Look, I need you," said Mr. Meacham... "It's an incredible frustration that I've got some of the most decent, hard-working, honest, passionate, straight-shooting, non-ideological people who just want to tell the damn truth, and how to get this past this image that we're just middlebrow, you know, a magazine that your grandparents get, or something..."
Unless I'm missing something (and there's not a whole lot more to the interaction than what I just posted) Meacham's entire argument for why people ought to read traditional news magazines rests on three things:
He's got 'good' people. That may be true in terms of writing skill, interpersonal integrity, reportorial drive, courage in the field and the like, but here's the bottom line: what 'good' means without reference to customers and their needs is anybody's guess. His assertion that those people are 'non-ideological' is a tip-off that he just doesn't get the blogosphere or Gen-Y, much less how mainstream media has evolved since the '70s.
He's frustrated. (He'd do better to have been paranoid, as Andy Grove was at Intel).
His business is tanking; he needs more customers. (The big three Detroit automakers circa 1980 come to mind here.)
Short take: it's an insular, supply-side argument for relevance that only a very few, slow-moving institutions (like higher education) can get away with, and even there, not for as long as they used to.