Friday, June 21, 2013

Five books on groupthink

One title on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of books on groupthink and the danger of conformity:
The Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro, and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs
by Jim Rasenberger

The 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion -- America's clandestine initiative to overthrow Fidel Castro -- was the classic example that led psychologist Irving Janis to originate his theory of groupthink: a phenomenon of otherwise competent people making bad decisions in the name of group harmony -- and in this case, saving face. Using recently declassified CIA documents, Jim Rasenberger reveals that President Kennedy, long viewed as the naïve party in the bungled operation, had huge misgivings regarding its success, yet the mission went forward nonetheless. Relying on the CIA's assurances about the weakness of the Cuban military, Kennedy dispatched over 1,000 troops to Cuba's southern coast -- where they were swiftly defeated, as the Bay of Pigs invasion earned its reputation as one of the most embarrassing foreign policy fiascos in history.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Jim Rasenberger's The Brilliant Disaster.

--Marshal Zeringue