Monday, January 03, 2011


I took the week off between Christmas and New Year and read two books.  Both were depressing but informative.  The first, Just How Stupid Are We?, examines the political ignorance of American voters and blames some of the bad decisions in Washington and our state houses on an uninformed electorate.  I couldn't help but thinking that public affairs and PR practitioners are partly responsible because they have promoted ideas and actions that were clearly not in the long-term public interest.  In other words, they have played on the ignorance of the public rather than trying to lift political conversation.

The second book, All the Devils Are Here, examines the financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008 and traces its roots to the 1980s.  This book shows that even the brightest of individuals can go astray through ignorance, venality, greed, lack of standards and an inability to foresee the long-term effects of short-term decisions.  Here too I found a cautionary note for PR practitioners.  Spinning the media was a part of the sub-prime mortgage bubble that brought the financial house down.   There was a general lack of skepticism and an inability to listen to warnings that were clearly raised.  

Both books are recommended reading.


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