"Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking."
— Sir Ernest Rutherford, winner of the Nobel Prize in Nuclear Physics
Time to Start Thinking is a book destined to spark debate among liberals and conservatives alike. Drawing on his decades of exceptional journalism and his connections within Washington and around the world, Luce advances a carefully constructed and controversial argument, backed up by interviews with many of the key players in politics and business, that America is losing its pragmatism — and that the consequences of this may soon leave the country high and dry.
Luce turns his attention to a number of different key issues that are set to affect America's position in the world order: the changing structure of the US economy, the continued polarization of American politics; the debilitating effect of the "permanent election campaign"; the challenges involved in the overhaul of the country's public education system; and the health-or sickliness-of American innovation in technology and business. His conclusion, "An Exceptional Challenge" looks at America's dwindling options in a world where the pace is increasingly being set elsewhere. While many Americans believe that their country can and should retain its status as a global superpower, Luce sees this as an increasingly unlikely scenario, unless Americans themselves can stand up against the country's increasingly plutocratic character. America has bounced back successfully from the shocks of The Great Depression and the Soviet launch of Sputnik, but Luce wonders if the next crisis in American confidence may knock it off the top-dog position for good.
As distressing as it is important, Time to Start Thinking presents an America in economic, social, and political crisis, in danger of losing its most defining and vital characteristic: its pragmatism.