Summary of Time to Start Thinking

America in the Age of Descent

Atlantic Monthly Press, more...

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Time to Start Thinking book summary
Is America’s position in the world in danger? Read this disturbing investigation and hear its call for pragmatism.

Rating

7 Overall

8 Importance

7 Innovation

6 Style

Recommendation

Journalist Edward Luce conducted a nine-month examination of America’s middle class, education system, innovative ability, basic research capacity and government. He spoke to makers and movers like Bill Gates and to less exalted working people, including an electrician who had to retrain as a nurse. He finds that the middle class is disappearing as jobs flee to the East, leaving low-paying health care and service “opportunities” in their wake. He says the country’s famous can-do attitude has retreated before risk aversion, apathy and political polarization. Schools do not teach needed skills, and Congress stagnates under the thumb of money and lobbyists. Luce tells his tale too well. He reports dire scenarios skillfully and vividly, though the few cures he offers are unconvincing. In some areas, you may long for a few balancing insights or some small ray of sunshine, like a note about progress that is underway. Still, getAbstract recommends Luce’s bleak insights to America’s levelheaded decision makers and doers – who can address the nation’s problems – and to thoughtful observers anywhere.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the United States reached its current state of dwindling power
  • How the pivotal characteristics of its dilemma are manifested
  • How America can reverse its downward trend
 

Summary

Shortcomings
Too many liberals and conservatives are looking back to sunnier times when they should focus on the future. Military planners want fast, practical action from Washington on crucial issues, but suspect it will not come. Another financial meltdown is possible. Immigration issues...
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About the Author

Edward Luce, Washington commentator and former South Asia Bureau Chief for London’s Financial Times, was a speechwriter for former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers during the Clinton administration.


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