BARBARA TUCHMAN MARCH OF FOLLY PDF

Barbara W. Tuchman, Folly and the Stream of History Credit Erik Carter By Jon Meacham March 14, The passage, from a book read three decades back, came to mind not long ago. A tweet-driven tumult was, as usual, roiling Washington. Shifting between cable news and my own Twitter feed, I recalled the historian Barbara W. How did the Renaissance papacy so badly misjudge the moment, accelerating the Protestant Reformation?

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Turned out to be a great hunch. Do I need to mention the Yes-Men that surround them? Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us how much Folly it took to make these disastrous calls. Surely common-sense would not have allowed these? But we can extrapolate them into any number of follies that we are familiar with in our own countries and see how leaders make the stupid mistakes over and over again, and incomprehensible mistakes at that.

It is quite a powerful argument and one we would dearly love to embrace - it gives us the possibility of a future where we can side-step such follies, by avoiding these very decision making practices.

And that is very very important too. However, I think there is one more angle to be considered here. But there are times in history when this normal course of action fails. There are times when the circumstances are too inter-dependent or too much at the edge-of-the-cliff that no-one, not even common-sense, could have anticipated the fall that was coming by taking the steps that should have been matter-of-course at any other point.

These are the points when good practices suddenly seem like Follies. So the March of Folly could well be as unstoppable as it sounds to those leaders as well, especially in the short term when history rushed in on them.

This is not of course! That sort of thinking only allows us to make the same mistakes again, precisely because common-sense would allow it!

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Turned out to be a great hunch. Do I need to mention the Yes-Men that surround them? Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us how much Folly it took to make these disastrous calls. Surely common-sense would not have allowed these? But we can extrapolate them into any number of follies that we are familiar with in our own countries and see how leaders make the stupid mistakes over and over again, and incomprehensible mistakes at that. It is quite a powerful argument and one we would dearly love to embrace - it gives us the possibility of a future where we can side-step such follies, by avoiding these very decision making practices. And that is very very important too.

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The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Engaging, informative and wonderfully delivered. It must have been perceived as counter-productive in its own time, not merely by hindsight. From Troy to Vietnam. I appreciate your dedication to keeping it real.

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