Essence of Decision (Second Edition) by Graham Allison & Philip Zelikow. pages, New York: Longman, Reviewed by Barton J. Bernstein n Buy Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Alternative Etext Formats) 2 by Graham T. Allison, Philip Zelikow (ISBN: ) from. Graham T. Allison – The Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. Chapter (PDF . Philip!Zelikow,!it!introduces!some!new!insights!based!on!.

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The other historical sections fill in some missing details. Several crisis management frameworks have also been developed that could presumably show the crisis in an entirely different way.

Khrushchev’s capitulation was inevitable. The need for all three lenses is evident when one considers the causal bottom line. The rational actor model assumes that a leader takes in all the information available, prioritizes his preferences, determines which has the most annd, and then, acting rationally, picks the option with the most value most benefit with fewest costs.

It’s really sad how bad he failed in Vietnam — he had potential. Recommend it if you’re interested in the subject. I read this book as part of strategy-studies, and that might have influenced my opinion. Pearson offers special pricing when you package your text with other student resources. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. March and Herbert A.

While quite dry, the book takes a unique approach, mixing day-by-day detailed history with abstract theory. Allison originally published the book in However, Allison also guessed, inthat Khrushchev must have formed his own “EXCOMM,” or his own committee of advisors, to aid him during the crisis, and even named the Russian leaders he believed were with Khrushchev at the time.

Leaders get advice and this model shows how those with access to the decision maker can have significant influence on the outcome of their decisions.


Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2nd Edition

He shares his comments around the 32 minute mark. Articles needing cleanup from June All pages needing cleanup Cleanup tagged articles with a reason field from June Wikipedia pages needing cleanup from June Articles that may contain original research from June All articles that may contain original research Wikipedia articles with style issues from June All articles with style issues Wikipedia articles that are excessively detailed from June All articles that are excessively detailed Articles needing additional references from June All articles needing additional references Articles with multiple maintenance issues.

Kennedy sets his military forces in motion to signal Khrushchev, but the Model II story again sets in motion vast organizational actions that interact with others in frightening ways that the president can barely imagine try as he does, for example, in the case of the Emergency Defense Plan for Turkey. Want to Read saving…. By looking at the events in a new lens, one is able to gather new answers.

I particularly enjoyed the way the book is divided, as it alternates between pure theory and history. Nothing is ever as easy or as simple as is vomited forth on FoxNews or in a Rambo-esque steroid- and testosterone-laden action movie.

Allison & Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2nd Edition | Pearson

His book Remaking Foreign Policy: The primary argument, of course, is that the unitary rational actor model is woefully insufficient, as it neglects the important role that bureaucratic standard operating proced I honestly should have read this book much sooner given how influential it has become within the IR discipline, but better late than never, I guess. The book will be especially illuminating for those who have only ever been exposed to the rational ac “Essence of Decision” is a classic for a reason.

The political process model analyzes the actions of the players of politics. Kennedy School of Governmentand in doing so revolutionized the field of international relations.


If you want to study different theories of strategic decision making, it is a helpful book. Still, this should be applauded as an early work in political psychology and group decision making, and as a fascinating if imperfect example of applying political models to a set of historical facts. In Essence of Decision, Graham Allison leverages the incredible events of the Cuban Missile Crisis to challenge the way people think about foreign and military affairs.

For example, the units were instructed by their commanders that speed took priority over stealth. Sep 29, Dylan Suher rated it liked it. I suggest they read this book.

Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis by Graham T. Allison

Nov 28, Mike Edwards rated it really liked it Shelves: I guess I can take some solace in the newly acquired knowledge that my decision will more likely be the result of set organizational processes or political bargaining by influential parties than rational choice.

It’s pretty scary actually. Aug 27, Seth Benzell rated it liked it Shelves: I’ll leave the details for those interested enough in the subject to read it themselves.

This book analyzes the steps which led to an almost nuclear war inbetween the Soviet Union and USA. Jan 27, Linda rated it it was amazing. The answer, Allison revealed, was not some conspiracybut that what the intelligence community viewed as a “threat of attack,” the commander interpreted as a “threat of sabotage.

Still, kudos to those who work through this every day!