His anecdotes and the situations he describes are drawn from over fifty years of experience in the policy arena. They are not intended to represent either a rounded theory about public administration or a comprehensive treatment of important components of political science. Like most people in the policy arena, Fein came to that work from another discipline-in his case economics. His experience of "finding his own way" through action and experience rather than through application of theory might appear quaint. But his successes, failures, and the lessons he learned, illuminate the process and may prove useful, even inspirational.
Fein is sensitive to the need to move beyond statistics and to present the real world and the faces of real people behind the data. He believes that an effective adviser should bring knowledge and interests that extend beyond the confines of a single discipline, even one as methodologically powerful as economics. Unless the adviser presents a range of choices that have been developed with contributions from many fields of knowledge, the proposed policies are likely to be far too constrained and, at worst, unworkable. His perspective, articulated in this book, is easily summarized: there is more to life and to our nation's welfare than economics. We live in a society, not in an economy.