I’m taking a break from economics by reading Revolutionaries: Inventing an American Nation by Jack Rakove, a history of the American revolution told through the debates among its leaders. The gaps in my knowledge on this subject are large, and it’s a beautifully written book, so I’m enjoying it. It has made me realise, once again, how few people think strategically at all – that is, think about how their interlocutor is going to react in his (or her) next move – never mind what their end-game might be. The American victory over Britain could almost be summed up as the result of having a few more strategists.
This is just as true in modern life. The best business book on strategy is, at least in my reading, Nalebuff and Dixit, Thinking Strategically. It uses game theory but isn’t all that difficult. Still, just as Daniel Kahneman points out in Thinking, Fast and Slow, how hard it is to calculate anything, I’m sure it must also be hard to strategise.