But as the historian Joseph Crespino demonstrates in Strom Thurmond's America, the late South Carolina senator followed only part of his father's counsel. Political skill was the key to Thurmond's many successes; a consummate opportunist, he had less use for integrity. He was a thoroughgoing racist—he is best remembered today for his twenty-four-hour filibuster in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957—but he fathered an illegitimate black daughter whose existence he did not publicly acknowledge during his lifetime. A onetime Democrat and labor supporter, he switched parties in 1964 and helped to dismantle New Deal protections for working Americans.
If Thurmond was a great hypocrite, though, he was also an innovator who saw the future of conservative politics before just about anyone else. As early as the 1950s, he began to forge alliances with Christian Right activists, and he eagerly took up the causes of big business, military spending, and anticommunism. Crespino's adroit, lucid portrait reveals that Thurmond was, in fact, both a segregationist and a Sunbelt conservative. The implications of this insight are vast. Thurmond was not a curiosity from a bygone era, but rather one of the first conservative Republicans we would recognize as such today. Strom Thurmond's America is about how he made his brand of politics central to American life.
Joseph Crespino is a professor of history at Emory University. He is the author of In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution and the co-editor of The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism.
Executive Intelligence is about the substance behind great leadership. Inspired by the work of Peter Drucker and Jim Collins, Justin Menkes set out to isolate the qualities that make for the 'right' people. Drawing on his background in psychology and bolstered by interviews with accomplished CEOs, Menkes paints the portrait of the ideal executive.
In a sense, Menkes's work reveals an executive IQ—the cognitive skills necessary in order to excel in senior management positions. Star leaders readily differentiate primary priorities from secondary concerns; they identify flawed assumptions; they anticipate the different needs of various stakeholders and how they might conflict with one another; and they recognise the underlying agendas of individuals in complex exchanges.
Weaving together research, interviews and the results of his own proprietary testing, Menkes exposes one of the great fallacies of corporate life, that hiring and promotion are conducted on a systematic or scientific basis that allows the most accomplished to rise to their levels of optimal responsibility.
Finally, Menkes is a passionate advocate for finding and employing the most talented people, especially those who may have been held back by external assumptions.