Power and Policy
Lessons for Leaders in Government and Business
by Wesley B. Truitt
July 2010, 242pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38240-6
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38241-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The recent events that showcased abuses of power and greed by leaders in the corporate world—not to mention the questionable, short-sighted strategies of an entire financing industry—have made Americans deeply suspicious of powerful CEOs, boards of directors, and government institutions. What steps need to be taken to prevent similar missteps in the future?

A qualified expert provides leaders in government and business a much-needed primer for accomplishing their most vital task: transforming a purpose into policy through the appropriate acquisition and use of power.

At a time when corporations are reeling from mismanagement, a large proportion of homeowners are being forced to default on mortgages and the federal government is rapidly extending its formidable reach into the private sector, it is understandable that many Americans no longer trust big business and government institutions. To get the United States back on track and to preclude the same kinds of disasters in the future, it is imperative for corporate and government leaders as well as private citizens to understand the commonality in all of these events—the use and abuse of power.

This text examines these critical events within a framework of power to explain what motivated our leaders in business and government to make the policies that resulted in these outcomes, providing valuable insights on the nature and use of power. It then draws lessons today’s leaders can use to improve their use of power. Examples from current affairs and modern business are discussed in a lively, compelling way.


  • Cites examples and case studies from current affairs, modern business, and recent history
  • Explains how and why some corporate leaders abused their power and erased the wealth of their companies and the savings of private individuals
  • Provides tables, charts, and other figures for supporting documentation
Wesley B. Truitt, PhD, is adjunct professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, where he teaches business-government relations. He has taught MBA courses at the Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA, and at Loyola Marymount's College of Business Administration. He was an executive at Northrop Grumman Corportion for 25 years; his positions there included executive assistant to the CEO and vice president-Europe. His published works include Business Planning, The Corporation, and Praeger's What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about Business. He is series editor of the ten book series, the Greenwood Guides to Business and Economics.


"Compelling, insightful, thoroughly researched, and exceedingly well documented, Power and Policy is a book that needed to be written."—Don DePamphilis, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Finance, Loyola Marymount University

"Truitt provides an astute analysis on the exercise of power, along with a highly readable explanation of the causes of America's recent financial crisis and numerous examples of poor judgement exercised by leaders throughout history. It's a book that should be read by leaders, would-be leaders and all those affected by them."—Stuart Anderson, executive director, National Foundation for American Policy and former staff director of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee

"Power and Policy skillfully tackles the colossal topic of power in all dimensions -- from powers of personal persuasion to the sources, uses and abuses of corporate and political power. Clever concepts are enlivened by the author's sweeping grasp of world history, including U.S. corporate history. Numerous highly instructive biographies of major leaders in business and government are particularly fascinating. This is an enormously informative and entertaining book. A rewarding read indeed."—Alan Reynolds, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

"Professor Truitt has artfully weaved together history, economics, political science, psychology and sociology into a holistic story of power and its use by both governmental and business leaders. Even if you don’t agree with some of his views of historical or contemporary figures, you will find his arguments interesting and informative. In this day of narrowly focused scholarship it is pleasant to read a book that shows how a broad range disciplines can be tied together to address an important topic. He shows, how taken together, these various approaches to understanding human behavior provide lessons and insights into the uses and abuses of power as well as when one fails to use power. This book challenges the reader to think, a rarity in this day of mindless sound bites, political pundits, and reality television."—Alan L. Carsrud, Ph.D., Loretta Rogers Chair of Entrepreneurship, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario

"As control becomes increasingly concentrated in Washington, Power and Policy is a highly researched book on a vitally important topic. Professor Truitt has done yeoman’s work in teasing out the issues surrounding public and private power and has fitted his discussion within a historical framework going back to our War of 1812 to our newest president and the nation’s economic and political response to the 2008 market meltdown. Professor Truitt’s analysis will complement a range of academic classes from government and political science to history and economics.—Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University

"In normal times, Wesley Truitt's book Power and Policy would be interesting and valuable reading for anyone who wants to understand the source, use, and abuse of power. Future business and political leaders would benefit from the case studies alone that show how historical figures like FDR, JFK, Winston Churchill, or Abraham Lincoln made used power to make things happen. But these are not normal times. Today we are witnessing the greatest concentration of political, economic, and military power ever seen in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Today, Power and Policy should be on the required reading list for every college freshman and every voter. Power and Policy is a roadmap that will help you navigate this disturbing new world."—Dr. John Rutledge, Chairman, Rutledge Capital; Senior Research Professor, Claremont Graduate University
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