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What Should Think Tanks Do?: A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact Paperback – July 31, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Contrary to its title, Andrew Selee's What Should Think Tanks Do? is not a book of prescriptions. Instead, it is a tool for thinking. It offers a set of principles and illustrative cases that, taken together, incite a reader to think clearly and creatively about how an organization might make the most valuable contributions possible to important public issues. Anyone who works in a public policy arena and struggles with questions of how best to spend their time and resources for maximum impact can potentially benefit from a couple of quiet hours' concentration on this short, engaging book . . . [What Should Think Tanks Do?] offers a great deal of ground truth and perspective about what it takes to successfully steer a policy-oriented team or organization in today's challenging public policy environment."—Jacqueline Meszaros, Science and Public Policy


"What Should Think Tanks Do? A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact should be considered mandatory reading for anyone that is a part of a think tank operation, be it governmental, NGO, academic, or corporate."—James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review


"The chasm between good ideas and making policy has confounded Washington for too long. Andrew's concise and informed work builds a bridge to connect these two realms and maps the five steps to successfully walk across it. Whether an academic or a legislator, think tank or government staffer, if you care about turning good ideas into good policy, Andrew's book will guide you down the right path."—Barry Jackson, former Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush


"With its focus on outcome-oriented strategies, What Should Think Tanks Do? is essential for the directors and funders of think tanks, who want their institutions to make a real difference in informing and influencing public policy."—Paul Brest, Stanford University, former president, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and co-author, Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy


"This interesting and thoughtful treatise offers practical advice that will help think tank directors better manage how their organizations engage in research, and how they communicate their findings to multiple target audiences. It should prove enormously helpful both to think tanks and to scholars who study these complex and increasingly visible organizations."—Don Abelson, The University of Western Ontario
"The policy world is filled with voices clamoring to be heard, but few organizations are consistently successful at getting the ear of policymakers and shaping the ideas that become part of public debate. This book shows how organizations that care about influencing policy can take a strategic approach to impact and deliver results."—Jane Harman, Director, President, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center, former Member of Congress
"Selee has produced a highly practical guide to help think thinks improve their strategic planning, performance, and impact. In a highly competitive and information rich world, think tanks and other knowledge-based organizations must make strategic choices regarding staffing, technology, and engagement. What Should Think Tanks Do? provides the tools for effectively managing these complex challenges and choices."—James G. McGann, Director, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

Andrew Selee is Vice President of Programs at the Woodrow Wilson Center and former Director of its Mexico Institute. He has been a congressional staffer and served as staff and on the board of several non-profit organizations. He teaches at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University and writes extensively on international affairs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Briefs; 1 edition (July 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804787980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804787987
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Selee is Executive Vice President of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a non-partisan organization that promotes dialogue, research, and actionable ideas on global issues, and was the Vice President of Programs and the founding Director of the Center's Mexico Institute. He teaches courses in Government at the Johns Hopkins University's Advanced Academic Programs and at George Washington University's Elliott School for International Affairs.

Selee writes frequently about US-Mexico relations, Mexican politics, immigration policy, organized crime, and democracy. He has a regular Sunday column in Mexico's largest newspaper El Universal and has penned op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, and Houston Chronicle. He is quoted widely in the press, including interviews for NPR, PBS, CBS, NBC, Fox News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and many others.

Selee lives in Washington, DC with his wife Alejandra Vallejo and their daughter Lucia, a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very helpful guide to understanding the challenges facing think tanks. Short, comprehensive and solid in its analysis drawn from real
life, it is a wonderful little book for anyone interested in understanding how these operate and their limitations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Focused almost exclusively on government policy think tanks, although the target goals can be modified toward private, corporate or entrepreneurial think tanks with a bit of concentrated effort. Last of the three is where my interests focus so the more politically liberal approach serves to ready me for H. B. Neil's "The Art of Contrary Thinking."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've learned some great ideas from this book.
Like strategic planning, find target audiences, and raise resources for my workplace.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clear and to the point with lots of real-world examples.
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