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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If You Haven't Doubted, You Probably Haven't Thought Very Hard", 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: Decision Points (Kindle Edition)
Former president George W. Bush presents the eight years of his presidency in terms of the major decisions he faced. Most he supports and explains; a few he regrets and also explains. The decisions range from his resolve to quit drinking to how he addressed the nation's financial crisis in the closing months of his presidency. Other major decisions involve choosing key personnel, conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, responding to hurricane Katrina, and providing foreign medical aid. There are fourteen such decisions.

It seems that some decisions faced by leaders of countries are qualitatively different from those most of us face. Of course they have greater impact, affecting hundreds of millions of people. Many decisions are made by subordinates--making personnel selection crucially important. The decisions that get to the top aren't easy, and rarely have solutions that everybody supports. They are made under twin pressures of urgency and incomplete information. Pressures not faced by those who later second-guess from the relative safety and clarity of hindsight. It's worth reading the book just to better understand these kinds of decisions.

I also formed a personal impression of George Bush. I wouldn't enjoy his company much. He has that hard achievement drive that I've found wearing in others. I wouldn't enjoy his competitiveness when watching baseball with him--even when he could get great seats because he owned the team. And I wouldn't enjoy the good-old-boy, play-aggressive teasing he is fond of. I believe he means it affectionately and is sometimes clueless when it hurts or offends. It's an interesting blind spot. I admit that these things don't have much to do with his decision-making.

I can see that George Bush loves his family and has great respect for his father and mother. His stories demonstrate that this respect is well-grounded--even though they teased him. ("Run faster George!" Barbara yells during a marathon, "There are fat people ahead of you!") And George Bush loves his country. He is committed to a vision for this country and others that is based on political and economic freedom and individual opportunity. This consistent thread runs through his politics, from building a democracy in Iraq to opposing the "soft racism" of low expectations in minority educational achievement. One can legitimately question this vision, its appropriateness, and whether another is better. I don't doubt his sincerity, though.

Read and decide for yourself.
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