Chess, not Poker, is Now the Ultimate Analogy for the Presidency
Harry S. Truman once said that being president was like riding a tiger. Of course, that's not exactly a comparison that applies to the real world. In the more modern age, that all-American of pastimes, poker, has become the game most likened to the presidency, mostly because countless presidents have enjoyed cards. But that fascinating presidential comparison could soon be usurped by the thinking-man's game, chess.
Ulysses S. Grant played cash games in the White House while vaunted tiger rider Truman hosted weekly games on the presidential yacht. More recently, George W Bush played a little poker during his MBA at Harvard. A favorite among presidents, cards became the ultimate analogy for effective diplomacy. But the blue-collar presidential analogy of cards and reading tells is being replaced by kings, queens, and pawns.
Before becoming governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted that he had toned down his workout regimen in favor of chess. "I play chess. If I read I fall asleep, so I use chess to keep my mind awake," Schwarzenegger told a Spanish journalist in 2003. "Every game is a stimulation of my brain cells. it feeds my mind." More recently, both President and Mrs. Obama are said to be avid chess players. In fact, while on the campaign trail, Michelle Obama was known to pass her downtime by playing chess with her brother while, as an Illinois senator, Barack Obama supported the International Scholastic Chess Convention. In a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger even compared President Obama to a chess player. "Obama is like a chess player who is playing simultaneous chess and has opened his game with an unusual opening," said Kissinger. "Now he's got to play his hand as he plays his various counterparts."
These comments from Kissinger come on the heels of President Obama's meeting with Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster who has parlayed his chess board success into a prominent place at Russia's political opposition, a controversial place that resulted in his being imprisoned in 2007. So what exactly does this shift mean?
On the surface, it seems to imply a great capacity for much longer-term strategic thinking, as explained by Nation columnist Bruce Shapiro, who in March said “I certainly think that Obama plays the longest chess game and most complex chess game of anyone in living memory in American politics.”
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.