American Icon by Bryce G. Hoffman
"At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dysfunctional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses. It was an extraordinary risk, but it was the only way the Ford family—America’s last great industrial dynasty—could hold on to their company. Mulally and his team pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in business history. As the rest of Detroit collapsed, Ford went from the brink of bankruptcy to being the most profitable automaker in the world."
Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer
"The concluding section of Albion's Seed explores the ways that regional cultures have continued to dominate national politics from 1789 to 1988, and still control attitudes toward education, government, gender, and violence, on which differences between American regions are greater than between European nations."
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
"BLINK is about human rapid cognition, a thinking that is a lot faster than we can realize it, and a thinking that operates quite mysteriously in comparison to our commonly used careful, planned, and thoughtful decision making. And that's the major hypothesis in this book. Along with this variable, through his extensive research and analysis, Gladwell (2005) introduces several other variables that are interdependent with rapid cognition—such as emotions, attitude, judgments, snap decisions, role of time, frugality of information, and role of past experiences in perception."
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
"Leviathan, Hobbes's most important work and one of the most influential philosophical texts produced during the seventeenth century, was written partly as a response to the fear Hobbes experienced during the political turmoil of the English Civil Wars. In the 1640s, it was clear to Hobbes that Parliament was going to turn against King Charles I, so he fled to France for eleven years, terrified that, as a Royalist, he would be persecuted for his support of the king. Hobbes composed Leviathan while in France, brilliantly articulating the philosophy of political and natural science that he had been developing since the 1630s. Hobbes's masterwork was finally published in 1651, two years after Parliament ordered the beheading of Charles I and took over administration of the English nation in the name of the Commonwealth."
Second Treatise of Government by John Locke
"The Second Treatise of Government, subtitled An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government, stands today as an extremely influential work that shaped political philosophy and provided a basis for later political doctrines, such as those set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution."
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
"The Prince is Machiavelli’s most famous philosophical book. It was begun in 1513 and probably completed by 1515…The Prince is composed of twenty-six chapters which are preceded by a Dedicatory Letter to Lorenzo de’ Medici (1492-1519), the grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-92)…Whatever interpretation one holds to, the subject matter of the book seems to be arranged into roughly four parts: Chapters 1-11 treat principalities (with the possible exception of Chapter 5); Chapters 12-14 treat the art of war; Chapters 15-19 treat princes; and Chapters 20-26 treat what we may call the art of princes."
The Social Animal by David Brooks
"Viewing people's actions through the lens of the unconscious feelings and how they're influenced by the people closest to them has caused Brooks to see events like those unfolding in the Middle East in a new way. He notes that in situations like the one in Egypt, signals transferred from person to person affected the mood and emotions of the entire country. A key way to understand why individuals make the choices they do, Brooks says, is to "think of the models in their heads, to think of the way they see the world."
Tribe by Sebastian Junger
"There are ancient tribal human behaviors-loyalty, inter-reliance, cooperation-that flare up in communities during times of turmoil and suffering. These are the very same behaviors that typify good soldiering and foster a sense of belonging among troops, whether they’re fighting on the front lines or engaged in non-combat activities away from the action. Drawing from history, psychology, and anthropology, bestselling author Sebastian Junger shows us just how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts, arguing that the difficulties many veterans face upon returning home from war do not stem entirely from the trauma they’ve suffered, but also from the individualist societies they must reintegrate into."
Congress: The Electoral Connection by David R. Mayhew
"David R. Mayhew argues that the principal motivation of legislators is reelection and that the pursuit of this goal affects the way they behave and the way that they make public policy."
My American Journey by Colin Powell
"Colin Powell talked about his book, My American Journey, published by Random House, which chronicles his life, including his military service in Vietnam and the Gulf War and the rebuilding effort between the two conflicts. He also talked about the process of writing, including his cooperation with Joseph E. Persico, who collaborated with him on the book, and his tour around the U.S. to promote the book. He also commented on his political views and future plans."
Duty by Robert M. Gates
"Duty is an excellent memoir of a free-speaking and self-critical former Secretary of Defense. It lays bare the emotional and bureaucratic grit involved with spearheading a complex contingency operation in hostile parallel environments: at home and in the field."
The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
“At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation’s burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.”