The Boat Captain's Conundrum: A Whimsical Tour Through a Policy Wonk's Mind
In The Boat Captain's Conundrum, author Tom Corbett completes an intellectual journey that reflects on his four-plus decades as a scholar and doer of social policy. That journey starts with Ouch, Now I Remember, in which he recounts his early days growing up in a closed, working class, ethnic community from which he underwent several transformative experiences that broadened his worldview. In Browsing through My Candy Store, the author shared his struggles while confronting many of the most vexing poverty and welfare battles of the last half century. This final volume, the Boat Captain's Conundrum, completes the trilogy.
This work takes the reader on quite a different journey, a path that goes deeper into how to think about the big policy issues and social challenges of our times. In the end, Corbett makes a number of compelling points. Becoming a successful policy wonk is more than conquering the technical skills of doing quantitative analysis. It demands that we do more than merely dissect issues with analytical acumen. Rather, doing good policy work requires creativity, imagination, breadth of interests, a nimble and acquisitive mind, historical depth, and just a little rebellious risk-taking. But if you can conjure up such traits, there is no better way to spend your professional life.
Follow the author as he shares his take on how to do policy work well and even make a contribution to the public good. Get inside his head as he struggled to make sense out of the more daunting social challenges of the late twentieth century. Above all, enjoy his wistful and sometimes witty wanderings as seen through a policy wonk's eye where he touches upon mind-numbing conundrums with deft insight. It is a great journey to be enjoyed both by students of policy and all those concerned with public life.
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