February 18

Power and Influence

Monday’s Big Idea

Leader Filtration Theory

Who were America's most impactful presidents? To answer this question one must first ask if events would have unfolded the same way had they not been in office. For instance, would Roosevelt's most likely replacement have led us out of the Great Depression? Would Lincoln's replacement have pushed as hard for the passage of the 13th Amendment?

In today's lesson, Gautam Mukunda demonstrates how Leader Filtration Theory can be used to measure not how good or bad a president was, but how he performed relative to all of the other people who might have gotten the job. This theory can also be used to measure leaders outside of politics -- a CEO, for instance, or even a cancer researcher. 

  1. 1 Can We Measure Presidents Like Ba...
  2. 2 Why Presidents Dress Like Flight ...
  3. 3 The Poker Presidents
  4. 4 We’ve Already Had a Gay President...
   
  1. Can We Measure Presidents Like Baseball Players?

    Can We Measure Presidents Like Baseball Players?

    How do we evaluate leaders? Would the 13th Amendment have passed without Lincoln's leadership? Would the U.S. have joined the League of Nations had it not been for the stubbornness of Wilson?

    Read More…
  2. Why Presidents Dress Like Flight Attendants

    Why Presidents Dress Like Flight Attendants

    That Delphic oracle of style, Simon Doonan, author of the outrageously funny Gay Men Dont Get Fat, says fashion and politics don't mix in a democracy.

    Read More…
  3. The Poker Presidents

    The Poker Presidents

    Grant went bankrupt, Eisenhower could finally afford a date, and Nixon won enough to start a campaign. James McManus chronicles the checkered history of gambling presidents.

    Read More…
  4. We’ve Already Had a Gay President: Abraham Lincoln

    We’ve Already Had a Gay President: Abraham Lincoln

    One great thing about blogging is being able to talk about things that others are afraid to—like the fact that one of our greatest presidents liked to sleep with men.

    Read More…