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Victims of Groupthink: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0395140444
ISBN-10: 0395140447
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company (July 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395140447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395140444
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This text covers the Bay of Pigs invasion as well as several other whitehouse decisions by cabinet and select committee members with all the right information, yet make the wrong decisions. The answer is based upon the dynamics of the group and the power it has in swaying opinions, even if the group member knows that it is wrong. As group members, each if in fear of group rejection or not going along with the flow. It demonstrates why some group member should always be devil's advocate if proper decisions are to be subjective. A super read for those interested in international politics and the U.S. Governments' ability to see or not see the obvious.
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Format: Paperback
A fantastic book that discusses the theory of "GroupThink" and employs, as case study, two of the most significant failures in US military history, i..e The Bay of Pigs and Pearl Harbor. While a Professor friend of mine recommended it with caveats that it had some factual biases, it is an excellent piece that explicates some of the problems in bureaucratic structures. This book could easily be updated with the recent problems experienced in the Middle East.

Without giving away too much of the plot lines of the book, I would highlight a few concepts that I personally think sell the book.

1) "Secrecy of Information" - Need to know attitudes and the potential downfall associated with it.
2) "The effectiveness trap" - Picking your battles can often result in a lot of stalemates
3) "Newness" - the value of trust, when back-peddling becomes the main mode of operation
4) "Political Calculations" - backing yourself into a corner as a function of the verbiage

Janis has structured the framework of this concept brilliantly. It is applicable for pretty much anyone who must work with others.

A fascinating must read for those that are interested in dynamic group interaction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The idea that sane, knowledgable and other-wise independent thinkers would or could be talked into ignorant or dangerous ideas scares me. This is a well written book.
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