January 9

Power and Influence

Wednesday’s Big Idea

The Virtue of Dissent

In his book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure, Tim Harford presents a novel approach to problem-solving. Instead of looking to politicians and generals to lay out grand visions and show us the way, Harford argues that many of the complex issues in the world--as well as everyday business decisions and choices we face in our personal lives--can be solved through improvisation and working from the bottom up

Harford points to the failure of leadership during the Iraq War as a prime example of the failures of top-down leadership. Harford argues that the dissenters, however, ultimately won out in Iraq. With Rumsfeld out of the picture, Harford argues that General Petraeus was able to organize what his colonials were doing on the ground and institute an effective anti-insurgent policy.

In today's lesson, we look at how Harford's concept of improvisation from the bottom up can be applied to Chuck Hagel's challenge to take on an entrenched culture at the Pentagon, should he become Secretary of Defense. 

  1. 1 Can Chuck Hagel Exorcize the Ghos...
  2. 2 Making Your Dissent Heard
  3. 3 Creating a Culture of Dissent
  4. 4 Why I Do Not Want Everyone To Agr...
   
  1. Can Chuck Hagel Exorcize the Ghost of Neocons Past?

    Can Chuck Hagel Exorcize the Ghost of Neocons Past?

    What will it mean to have a dissenter like Chuck Hagel as an ombudsman at the top at the Defense Department?  

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  2. Making Your Dissent Heard

    Making Your Dissent Heard

    Justice Stephen Breyer reflects on why he has taken the step of reading his dissenting opinions from the bench, which is not a common practice for a Supreme Court Justice.

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  3. Creating a Culture of Dissent

    Creating a Culture of Dissent

    All organizations make mistakes. The economist Tim Harford argues that organizations need to create a culture where these mistakes are revealed, exposed and corrected as soon as possible.

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  4. Why I Do Not Want Everyone To Agree With Me

    Why I Do Not Want Everyone To Agree With Me

    I do not want everyone to have the same opinion I have on, basically, anything: from gay marriage to drugs. 

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