|Pages/Publication Date:||358 / 2008|
Here the author of Profiles in Audacity turns to the dark side of audacious decision-making: those choices that, in retrospect, were shockingly ill advised. Not too surprisingly, Alan Axelrod presents some dumb decisions by stupid people and some evil decisions by evil people. Yet the overwhelming majority of these 35 disastrous decisions were made through the remarkably poor judgment of good, smart people, from the Trojan Horse of antiquity and the medieval Children's Crusade to modern follies of faith in the Titanic's "unsinkability," Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis, and Ken Lay's management of Enron.
"Prolific author Axelrod has an engaging writing style and a good eye for telling incidents, making his 35 'cautionary tales' of bad decisions (and their deciders) illuminating and interesting. Covering a swath of history from 1250 BC to 2005 AD, Axelrod begins with the Trojan Horse ('The Decision to Let Danger In') and ends with President Bush and Hurricane Katrina ('The Decision to Stop Short of Leadership').... This is popular, broad brush-stroke history ... entertaining and occasionally surprising (as in the Japanese preparation for the assault on Pearl Harbor). Axelrod helpfully includes a list of recommended reading for each incident covered."—Publishers Weekly