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Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline Hardcover – 3 Apr 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (3 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408702754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408702758
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.7 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Edward Luce paints a highly disturbing picture of the state of American society, and of the total failure of American elites to come to grips with the real problems facing the country. It rises far above the current political rhetoric by its measured reliance on facts rather than canned ideological posturing to reach its conclusions (Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and The Origins of Political Order)

Time To Start Thinking is not only a wonderful tapestry of the current state of America, it provides a deeply insightful narrative of the origins of our current economic and political malaise. Ed Luce is a brilliant reporter who has spoken to everyone: CEOs and members of the cabinet, lobbyists and small town mayors, recent MBAs and unemployed teachers. In his acutely observed, often witty and very humane portraits he succeeds in converting the abstractions of economics and bringing them to life. This is is a book that will transform the way you think of America (Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression and the Bankers Who Broke the World)

'This book should be read by anyone who has an interest in the future of America, from perplexed bystanders in Europe to panicking policy makers in the White House. It is an eye opening account of a great nation grappling with the probability but not the inevitability of decline, beautifully and clearly written by a veteran observer who dissects his complicated subject with a mixture of insight, empathy and wit. Luce avoids the twin traps of adulation or revulsion that stunt so many books about America. Time to Start Thinking is a welcome and timely invitation to do just that (Matt Frei, Washington Correspondent for Channel 4)

Book Description

The age of American global dominance is over. This brilliant new book from one of the FT's most senior writers shows how it ended and where the US needs to turn to prevent the crisis from deepening further

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Luce has written a very interesting and convincing case about America's decline. He examines differents themes that are associated with this situation :
- the vanishing middle class
- education
- Innovation
- Government and politics covers the last three chapters (almost half of the book)

To me, the most alarming issue was innovation, nevertheless the situation is not better with respect to the other topics.

Many books have been written about america's decline - most have been written before it was even a possibility - nevertheless, I feel the topics covered was right on the spot and very well documented. The analysis of the "tea party" movement and washington bureacracy are also very interesting - I believe especially for europeans.

If america's decline is a "lieu commun" for many people, its impacts threaten to be much more significant than the emergence of china, as The Kagan recent - and advised - "the World America Made" makes obvious.

The "olsonian nightmare" is the key explanation that Luce provides : Mancur Olson, the brilliant swedish economist that analysed the effect of vested interests on the economy (in his case, vested interests, were trade-unions in the UK). For Luce, Vested interests are dominating the politics and its inertia seem to be the dominant force ...

The book is not perfect :
- luce point repeatedly to the fact that Chinan invest huge amounts in infrastructure and america is not, as an example of decline but who said they need to invest the same % of GDP. America's infrastructure are far from perfect but China starts from a much lower point
- Also one might have the feeling that when interviewing people, the only question is "what"s bad in here ?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just as elegantly written and easily readable as his book on India, Luce provides here a cohesive, well researched analysis of the key factors that have resulted in the U.S. losing power, influence and prosperity. Luce is both well and broadly connected and open- minded, seemingly without the burden of political agenda that so often makes the lens of other writers within the same realm less incisive.
A must-read also for U.K. citizens, as so many detrimental aspects of poltical/social/financial/educational issues raised in this book equally apply to what is increasingly evident here.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Financial Times always features an enormous article called “the Big Read” that focuses on an important topic in the news. The FT’s writers interview absolutely all the relevant players, tease out of them juicy quotes, present all sides of the argument, explain a fair bit of the detail and, generally speaking, set a tone, but leave the conclusions to the reader.

Edward Luce has done just that with this book. His topic (my prose) is “Seven things that are going wrong in America: Manufacturing, Education, Healthcare, the Federal Government, Polarization, the Permanent Election Campaign and the Death of the Entrepreneurial Spirit” to which he also adds “the missing middle.”

What makes the FT Big Read my favorite read of the day is pretty much what makes this book a mess: a format that works well for a one-page article begins to sag by the time you’re on page 50 and becomes downright annoying by page 280. Edward Luce has INCREDIBLE access and interviews a good 500 of the most important 1,000 Americans, but you, the reader, cannot possibly hope to remember what they all said. And you lose count of the many arguments that are made.

Also, this being a book, the author tends to sympathize a bit extra with what all his important interviewees have to tell him. The result is a 280 page long rant. Everything sucks in America, apparently. And everything was absolutely awesome a generation ago.

When I finished the book, I was fuming, basically. I was angry I’d spent my time reading this dense concatenation of quotes and comments and aghast at the paltry effort made to weave them all into a theme or story. Yes, I want to start thinking, but what are your thoughts, Mr. Luce?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After I heard the author speak on the radio, I ordered this fascinating book immediately, and it lived up to my expectations in every way. The author has used his many insider contacts to create a brilliant insight into the state of the USA today - and it is a depressing, not to say worrying one at that.If you suspect that the USA is in decline it will confirm your fears, and if you know little about their system it will open your eyes. The book is written in a very accessible style - thoroughly recommended as an absorbing read.
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Format: Paperback
interesting well researched book,took me a while to get into it but well worth it. america is declining its economics are a mishmash of historic,self serving and big business.one main indicator of wealth the middle class are working for less in houses that are not paid for and are falling in value.big business is over rewarded two thirds of subsidies go to the wealthiest 40 per cent of americans.poor pay for many whilst the ceo of walmart earns more in a month than one of his employees will in a lifetime.american industry is stagnating or is overseas. education especially science and engineering is failing whilst magnificent billionaires try to impose business solutions.and to top it all china is the next new kid on the block.
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