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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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"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.
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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. Again I think he is on the right track.
4. The state of our political system. I have to say here that he makes brilliant points. He talks about just how free we are and what we have done to update our system in the last 200 years. Not much.
5. Corporations. Here he discusses the differences between out corporations and the ones in competitor nations. Very eye opening.
6. How do we compare with other nations with regard to who earns what. No shock here. Our money has gone to the top people in the last 50 years. Far more so than our close competitors. And his comments on personal mobility in economic status is very illuminating.
I recommend this book highly.
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.
"Measure of a Nation" takes the ideas and excitement of those travels
and conversations and distills them into 267 pages, and gives us the
power to make more informed choices in the future.
In his conclusions, Friedman does not underestimate the political will
and mobilization that would be required to change our system, but I am
not sure that I share his faith that we can or will make that change.
If this book is not used as a guide for fundamental change, his
warning of an increasingly unstable and inpoverished future for our
country will be realized.
This book shows clearly where that leads America. We're spending more than twice what other countries spend on health care but have the lowest life expectancy, the highest rate of infant mortality rate, the highest rate of maternal mortality rate, the highest amenable mortality rate, the highest rate of non-communicable disease-related deaths, the highest rate of injury-related deaths. I've worked in France and Canada (though briefly), and like the book shows, they handle health better. They eat less, don't take as much drugs, don't run around shooting themselves (as much!) but much more importantly they let the doctors practice medicine not practice "the business of medicine". They don't have pharmaceutical companies breathing down their throats, insurers trying to deny coverage, or patients running into their office saying "I saw this on TV, can you give me a few pills". That's right, Canada and France don't have those ads, they are illegal - for a reason, because they are bad for medicine. Obamacare isn't going to solve everything (though it might be a step in a good direction) so I'm glad this book has suggestions that work in other countries, countries where doctors can actually be doctors.
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The introduction makes three points. 1. The US is different from other countries. 2.Read more