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The Measure of a Nation: How to Regain America's Competitive Edge and Boost Our Global Standing Paperback – June 26, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616145692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145699
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Friedman presents a thorough, unbiased analysis of how America compares with the rest of the developed world in health, safety, education, democracy, and other quality-of-life indicators. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in seeing their country achieve greatness."
-Steven Hill, Author of Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way Is the Best Way in an Insecure Age

"An eye-opening and revealing analysis of what America needs to do to remain great. This fact-based examination is grounded in unbiased data."
-Rom Brafman, Coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

"This book is a wake-up call to anyone who wishes our country to prosper."
-Paul Pierson, Professor of political science, University of California, Berkeley, and coauthor of Winner-Take-All Politics

"A thorough assessment of how the United States stacks up in comparison with other affluent democracies, Measure of a Nation provides a sober picture of today and a wealth of evidence and ideas to contribute to a brighter tomorrow. Studying the successes, as well as the failures, of America’s ‘peer nations’ can give us fresh ideas for the social and economic challenges of the twenty-first century."
-Sarah Burd-Sharps, Coauthor of the Measure of America series and codirector of the American Human Development Project

"A persuasive and pointed analysis that holds up a mirror to America’s entrenched interests and capacity for self-deception. It exposes directly how much error and plain falsehood is found in current political and media discourse on matters of fundamental importance."
-Ambassador Richard Butler, Distinguished Scholar of International Peace and Security, Pennsylvania State University

"Friedman has assembled a provocative set of data that will help policy makers, business leaders, and others interested in America’s future better understand America’s relative strengths and weaknesses. I hope Friedman’s analysis will spark a clear-eyed, less ideological conversation about the many policy choices that lay ahead."
-Peter Schnall, Chief risk officer, Capital One

"[T]his book is not just another one of hundreds of books making recommendations about what the U.S. should be doing. … Friedman explains clearly and convincingly, writes engagingly and laces his text with personal examples. … Friedman’s recommendations are specific and feasible. …it’s thought-provoking, and good reading.” --Jared Diamond, author of The World Until Yesterday; Guns, Germs, and Steel; and Collapse

About the Author

Howard Steven Friedman is a leading statistician and health economist for the United Nations. He has worked with major organizations including UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNDP, and UNESCO. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and he formerly directed data analysis teams in the corporate world. He is the author of more than thirty-five scientific articles and book chapters in areas of applied statistics and health economics.

More About the Author

Howard Steven Friedman works as a statistician and health economist for the United Nations and teaches at Columbia University.

He has been a lead modeler on a number of key United Nations projects including the ICPD @ 15 Costing, High Level Task Force on Innovative Financing, and the Adding It Up reports. He is credited with being the lead developer of the tool used for costing the health-related Millennium Development Goals. He is also an adjunct professor at School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Howard ran Analytic Solutions LLC, which provides consulting services in designing, developing and modeling data. This work also included teaching data mining and modeling techniques for major international corporations and foreign governments. Prior to that, he was a Director at Capital One, where he led teams of statisticians, analysts and programmers in operations and marketing.

Howard is the author of over 35 scientific articles and book chapters in areas of applied statistics, health economics with recent publications in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Current Medical Research & Opinion, Clinical Therapeutics, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, Clinical Drug Investigation and Value in Health.

Howard Friedman received his BS from Binghamton University in Applied Physics and a Masters in Statistics, along with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Please note that all publications reflect the opinions of the author and not those of the United Nations or Columbia University

Customer Reviews

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This book was just finished in early 2012 so very up to date.
Robert Nuttmann
His book has applied his quantitative capabilities to the subject of comparisons across nations.
Dave Blake
Read this book and you will find out exactly what it is that needs to be changed.
L. Craig

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Nuttmann on July 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Measure of a Nation was a quick read for me. This book was just finished in early 2012 so very up to date. I have to say that the author nailed our significant national problems in the order of significance I would have put them in if I were writing the book. The beauty of this is that the author is a statistical person and if he has an political axe to grind he did not do it in this book. His major subjects from my memory are.

1. Health care. The best overall view of this subject I have read. He points out where we are falling down in comparison to our closest competitor countries and addresses both the delivery of services but also the costs. I had not thought of several of his major points and conclusions and I have to say I was very enlightened by it.

2.Education (again this is from memory - I have already sent the book to a friend to read) . Great statistical analysis and comparison. He again points out how we compare with other similar nations and how we need to make improvements. I did think he gave a bit too little thought to how free market solutions might work, but no book is perfect. The author is no libertarian. If I had written the book I would have talked at length about possible free market solutions. This was not done here. But he did point out the biggest issue we have with our current public schools.

3. Crime and punishment. I have had a very close family member murdered by a handgun. The author points out the absurd situation in the United States where we have assault weapons and vast amounts of handguns in the hands of virtually anyone. His solution is well thought out and would be my solution of the possible ones. He also discusses at length our population of incarcerated citizens compared to the other nations closest to us.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Constantinidis on July 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a highly insightful book taking a rigorous, scientific approach on topics often debated on political, philosophical, or metaphysical terms. Friedman has come up with a brilliant approach of analyzing a small sample of developed nations, reducing the clutter of data and allowing the reader to see where the US truly stands on a number of important areas. The book is revealing and thought provoking. Such complex issues do leave room for debate but even when one disagrees with the interpretation, the data presented in the book are extremely valuable and speak for themselves.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave Blake on July 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
The debates of the day are often captured by sound bites and appeals to moral concepts, and these are often at odds with scientific reality. Howard Friedman has graduate level training in probabilistic and statistical theory en route to his PhD, and has spent the majority of the last decade doing economic statistical analysis for the UN. His book has applied his quantitative capabilities to the subject of comparisons across nations. Specifically, what is the rank of the USA compared to other countries in things like health care, income inequality, and other measures relevant to national well being? It is no secret to anyone who has looked in these fields that the USA is not ranked highly in many different areas. Dr. Friedman enumerates the rankings, and provides insight into the rationales behind why the USA is slipping, in terms of ranking, relative to other nations. The book is a must read for anyone that wants to be informed on the great issues of today, and what we can learn about them by comparing the approaches different nations take to them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heather Coyne on August 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book takes the debate on America's future away from talking (or
rather, bickering) heads and gives it back to reasoning (and
reasonable) people. It presents a data and fact-based--but still
passionate--argument for fundamental change in America's approach to
our most precious rights and responsibilities.

From my work in conflict and post-conflict zones, I know that one of
our biggest weaknesses is measuring effectiveness. Finding the right
metrics to indicate whether our policies and programs are working or
not is just as much a problem at home as it is in international
development work. "Measure of a Nation" offers an answer to this
challenge, pulling together a collection of measurements that can help
us not only evaluate our system, but also improve it.

Friedman describes the book as "an inexpensive trip abroad." That
image perfectly captures the sense of this study. Reading the
comparisons between the education, health, and governance approaches
of our major competitor nations gave me the same feeling that I get
from traveling, or from sitting down to dinner with a group of people
from different countries. There is a feeling of excitement and of
possiblity when confronted with a new option or approach that I had
never considered, but that people in other countries take for granted.

My work regularly brings me into contact with people from around the
world who are equally surprised by the choices Americans have made on
our most important issues. What they do not know is that often we are
not making a conscious choice between all the options, because of our
lack of awareness of the alternatives that other nations have used.
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