Learning from Experience

Learning from Experience

Author: George P. Shultz
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1984-9
Publication Date: 10/1/2016

George P. Shultz recounts a lifetime of experiences in government, business, and academia and describes how those experiences have shaped the way he thinks about the world. In his plainspoken manner, he provides the reader with keys to understanding how he helped bring the nuclear disarmament movement into the mainstream of American policy discussions, why he urges his Republican Party colleagues to adopt measures to address climate change as an insurance policy for the future, why leaders must learn to govern over diversity, and more.

Far more than a simple biography, Learning from Experience makes a unique contribution to political-social-economic thought, offering the author’s reflections on experiences that have influenced his worldview. Ranging far beyond the realm of diplomacy, Shultz’s account illuminates America’s race relations, defines a down-to-earth economic philosophy built on free markets and fair treatment of labor, and identifies the strengths and weaknesses of presidential leadership as observed during his government service, including four cabinet posts, in the Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan administrations.

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George P. Shultz

George Pratt Shultz has had a distinguished career in government, academia, and the world of business. He is one of two individuals to have held four different federal cabinet posts; has taught at three of this country’s great universities; and for eight years was president of a major engineering and construction company. Shultz was sworn in on July 16, 1982, as the sixtieth US secretary of state, serving until January 20, 1989.


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Foreword by Jim Hoagland
PART ONE: Durable Lessons
• The Market Has an Answer
• Everyone Learns, Including the Leader
• Challenge the Numbers
• No Empty Threats (or Reckless Ones)
PART TWO: Laboring in the Fields
• Everybody Has a Job to Do
• Argue About the Problem, not the Principle
• Seize the Moral High Ground
• Let People Own Their Agreement
PART THREE: In the Arena: The Nixon Cabinet
• Competence Counts
• Tell the Truth, Stand Firm, Follow Through
• The Invisible Hand Is Strong
• Sometimes It Takes a Crisis
• A Word from the Pope
• Steer by Your Compass
• You Can’t Want the Job Too Much
PART FOUR:Schooled in Business at Bechtel
PART FIVE:Back in the Arena: The Reagan Years
• Accept the Short-Term Cost
• Unstable Systems Crumble
• Respect Your Adversaries
• Don’t Rush to Take Credit
• Grow a Backbone
• Support the Change You Want to See
• Don’t Give In When You’re Right
• Be a Team Player
PART SIX: Transitions
• Bring It All Together
• Progress Can Slip Away
• Never Lose Sight of the Bottom Line
• Prepare for the Worst, Aim for the Best
• Strength and Diplomacy Harmonize
• Diversity Demands Transparency
• At Home in the United States of Diversity
• History Repeats
• Governance: Family, Community, and Beyond
• A Time to Trust, to Lead, and to Hope
Appendix: “Terrorism and the Modern World,” an address by Secretary of State George P. Shultz, October 25, 1984
About the Author

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