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Publisher's Summary

A master class in strategic thinking, distilled from the legendary program the author has co-taught at Yale for decades.

For over 20 years, a select group of Yale undergraduates has been admitted into the year-long "Grand Strategy" seminar team-taught by John Lewis Gaddis and Paul Kennedy. Its purpose: to provide a grounding in strategic decision-making in the face of crisis to prepare future American leaders for important work. Now, John Lewis Gaddis has transposed the experience of that course into a wonderfully succinct, lucid and inspirational book, a view from the commanding heights of statesmanship across the landscape of world history from the ancient Greeks to Lincoln, and beyond. A thrilling experience for history lovers and a necessary one for anyone serious about the art of leadership, On Grand Strategy is the very definition of a master class.

©2018 John Lewis Gaddis (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Interesting, but fails to offer real lessons.

Use your time strategically and listen to something else. It’s not particularly well written and the author doesn’t bother to actually draw out strategic lessons. Instead, he gives a series of historical vignettes — Greeks, Elizabeth, Lincoln, others — that are interesting but not necessarily valuable without further exploration. I can imagine how this might work in the context of a class at Yale, as a starting point for discussion with a professor and classmates, but it makes for a mostly useless audiobook.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jimmy
  • Powell, OH, United States
  • 04-03-18

Master Class in Strategic Thinking

Using examples from across history, Gaddis eloquently outlines key insights into effective strategic planning.

The text and style are engrossing and will be well received by all, whether you are managing a global enterprise or a homemaker.

I will listen to this book many more times. Gaddis prepared a world class consolidation of humanities attempts to effectively plan for specific outcomes.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

you will love it if you are a fox

I will highly recommend this book IF you love long arguments that connect the dots at the end, not good if what you want is a direct and straight explanation.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Two Pounds of Ideas in a 12 Pound Bag

A handful of good ideas and the occasional clever phrase does not justify the hours of rambling.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Promising start

In the beginning it was good, then it turned into a series of lectures without a clear definition of what grand strategy is and what it entails. Last five minutes were good too.

It needs a better structure.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Has some good insights, but low insight density.

Too much story telling, joking around, and getting confused about what the word "contradiction" means.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great lesson on strategies that changed the world

As a former masters student within the field of geopolitics, this book was 1) a great refresher of the grand strategies that pass between time and 2) a great history from the mindset of the actions taken by those famous figures in history.

The book drives you to consider what type of person you are, a fox or a hedgehog while giving examples between the two differing approaches to historical scenarios.

All in all, this book is probably most relevant today as you can apply your knowledge found within Gaddis’s book to the real world problems arising in the world today.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 09-19-18

A piecemeal history lesson

There were some interesting tidbits, but there isn’t much new here. The title is the most intriguing part.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Strategy it isn’t, history lesson it is

I love this book but, by no means is it about strategy (let alone grand strategy). It is however, a grand walk through history.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 09-11-18

4+

This is a strong 4 for its convincing frame for recognizing greatness in history (and by extension in present day). Yet I found the material semi dry. It’s a worthwhile read but a bit closer to 4 than 5.