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« Director's Commentary: Front Matter | Main | I am the proud owner of a completed manuscript! »
Monday
Sep262005

BFA Director's Commentary: Title and Cover

The storyline's symmetry on the title is somewhat neat.

The originally proposed title for PNM was, The Pentagon's New Map: A Future Worth Creating. The main title came from Mark Warren and the original article in Esquire, while the proposed sub-title was drawn from the brief I had long given inside the Pentagon, going all the way back to early 2002.

Neil Nyren, Editor-in-Chief at G.P. Putnam's Sons, wanted to keep the main title on PNM, but ditched the sub-title, instead coming up with War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, which--at first--I admittedly hated but then grew to really like.

So the subtitle A Future Worth Creating simply hung out there, eventually mutating into an informal tag line to the consultancy I created following my departure from the Naval War College in early 2005 (The New Rule Sets Project LLC).

But I still liked the title, and continued to use it as a section title in the brief. Plus, I worked it into PNM as the name for the third section of Chapter 1 ("New Rule Sets," where I intro'd my grand global scenarios for Globalization IV and the section which came closest to an academic treatment of other authors' works), and in various places in the text (the "X worth X-ing" becoming a bit of a mantra). Perhaps most telling, I titled my concluding future projections in the Conclusion ("Hope Without Guarantees"), "ten steps toward this future worth creating."

When I began discussing the "volume II" with Mark Warren and my agent Jennifer Gates, both thought that leveraging the "ten steps" as the starting point for the sequel made most sense, so the original title for this book was "A Future Worth Creating: And Some Fabulous Subtitle Ginned Up by Neil Nyren," figuring, as I was, that Neil would work the subtitle vice the main one, knowing, as I'm sure he did, how wedded I was to that main title!

Well, Neil didn't want that as a main title. His first choice was The Pentagon's New Map "Blueprint for Action," possibly with no subtitle beyond the implied one. Neil was hot to keep the association with "PNM," believing it had become a bit of a brand name for me (as it had). Since I still wanted to keep AFWC in there somewhere, he agreed to let it stand as the subtitle, but then the whole package (TPNMBFA: AFWC) was getting to be a nasty mouthful.

Mark and I weren't particularly happy with that rendition. I mean, I liked the linking to PNM as brand, but I was intimidated by BFA, believing that what I was creating wasn't exactly up to that promise. Yet, I remembered how the WAPI21C subtitle on PNM had pushed me to write more expansively, so I figured Neil was doing the same on this book ("He gave you the map in Vol. I, now he gives you the blueprint for action!"), and thus I took in that spirit (i.e., as a real push on the material and tone). Plus, Mark feared confusion with the first title ("Is it a map? Is it a blueprint? What?"). Plus, I feared that AFWC would get pushed right off the title eventually, because it made it too long.

Well, the cover design solves this problem. Neil pushes to get the cover done plenty early so it can be featured in the back of PNM the paperback that comes out in May 2005. When the marketing people see the cover, with PNM on top and BFA big in the middle and AFWC in the bar down below (mimicking the PNM cover in overall layout), they started complaining that abbreviated listings on the web would simply say "PNM --" and thus Vol. II would be grossly confused with Vol. I.

So the decision is made by Neil to keep PNM on the cover (different color from the title) but kill it from the official title. At that point it just becomes BFA: AFWC.

Again, starting out with BFA was awfully intimidating for me, and coupling it with AFWC meant there'd be no Pentagon, no war--just action! I wasn't happy with that title going into the writing, and yet, just like the "war and peace" subtitle pushed me mightily in the writing of PNM, the BFA main title here really forced me to hone the material down to what was essential and purely forward looking.

In the end, I'm very happy with the title as is, along with the PNM brand remaining on the cover. I think it gave me a lot of good focus on what I wrote, plus I think the main title does logically follow from the first one.

Yes, Neil was driving this throughout and yes, his marketing sensibilities held sway, but all that says is that both he and I (eventually) made the decision that Vol. II needed to fulfill the promise of Vol. I, or the map-to-blueprint dynamic.

As for the cover itself, I love it.

I like the color scheme of the dark, green-leaning gold plating that dominates the dust jacket. It has a wonderfully metallic feel that reminds me of Jules Verne--kind of retro-futuristic. The picture of the entire world is quite appropriate, giving clear meaning--I think--to the combination of the main and sub titles (I'm talking bout the entire future of the planet here!). Plus, it has that sort of classic vibe to it, like the intro logo for Universal films. This one is for the entire marble!

Naturally, it's pretty cool to have "New York Times-bestselling author" above my name on the cover. Again, one remembers how crucial it was that we were able to attract Brian Lamb's attention to the first book, because my appearance on "Book Notes" pretty much made that happen all on its own Memorial Day weekend of 2004.

Pretty sure Neil writes the summary on the inside front flap himself, because it's basically the sales pitch he used within Penguin to sell the proposal. I like it a lot, especially since I kept his promise that the volume would be "at once pragmatic, thought-provoking, and optimistic." The quote on top from Chicago Sun-Times columnist Thomas Roeser is a killer: "The Pentagon's New Map is easily the most influential book of our time."

The back flap I'm just as happy with. Prefer this author's photo to the last one (which became my basic logo thanks to the "dimpling" by the Wall Street Journal. I had this one done, like last time, on the island. But this time we went with our family photographer, Chuck Labit of ProPhoto. Not a fancy shop, but he's a steady hand. When I had the original photos taken, I brought it Tom Junod's head shot from Esquire and the covers of various Kraftwerk albums, telling Chuck I wanted something classic looking, to match the retro-futuristic feel of the cover artwork. So hair is short and slicked back and I wear just the black mock turtle-neck (no jacket, as per Neil's orders).

Well, Neil didn't like the original shots, because I wasn’t looking head on into the camera in any of them, and he said I should be inviting the reader into the book, not staring solemnly into the future. So he made me take some more shots, and this time I looked into the camera and had Chuck tell me jokes so I would laugh and smile. At first Neil thought those photos were an improvement, but he later went back to the original shots and picked the one I (and Chuck) had liked best. Neil, in effect, admitted that I wasn't a great smiler--at least in posed settings--and that the book called for something a bit more serious. As Mark likes to say, "You're only talking about the future of the entire world here!").

I went back and forth on the little bio on the back inside flap. At one point I had me advising Central Command too, along with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Special Operations Command, and Joint Forces Command. But as the date for finalizing the text approached, I deleted CENTCOM, feeling like I hadn't been down there in a long time, and I hate stretching things like that. Funny thing is, I've been invited to go down to CENTCOM just before the book comes out to meet with the Commander and his senior long-range planners, so now I wish I had left it back in!

I did get the new Enterra position in just before it went to print. At first I wrote "senior managing director" of Enterra Labs (Steve DeAngelis's original offer), but then it switched over to "managing director" of Enterra Solutions and I went with that. Later still, Steve made it "senior managing director," but I decided to let that sleeping dog lie at that point.

I also made a change on the location identifier just before it went to print, switching both me and my family from Rhode Island to Indiana.

As before, I was big on getting my website listed on the inside cover.

The "remarkable acclaim" for PNM blurbs on the back cover as half-repeats from PNM and half new ones from various reviews. The repeats are from John Petersen of the Arlington Institute, Sherri Goodman of CAN, Paul Davis of NDU (though we still call him just a "national security expert" due to conflict of interests concerns), Art Cebrowski and Esquire (actually, Editor in Chief David Granger himself). They are all excellent ones worth repeating.

The new quotes are all doozies, coming from Roeser, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, and Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report (actually, the online version USNews.com).

All in all, I end up being very pleased with the look and feel of the second book, including the two-toned (blue and green--very globe-like) hard cover (green spine, blue covers). You put the two volumes together, either wearing their jackets or buck naked, and they line up together quite nicely.

I would like to see them sold as a set someday, perhaps even as trilogy, as I still think of an "individual-level" third "handbook" that would complete the journey from "system-level map" to "state-level blueprint" to ...

But who knows what the future holds on that one.

Here's the dust-jacket text in full:

[cover]

THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP

 

 

BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION

 

A FUTURE WORTH CREATING

 

New York Times-bestselling author

 

THOMAS P.M. BARNETT

 

 

[inside front flap]

U.S.A. $26.95

Canada $38.00

"The Pentagon's New Map is easily the most influential book of our time."

--Thomas Roeser, Chicago Sun-Times

The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes his cutting-edge analysis to the next level.

In civilian and military circles alike, The Pentagon's New Map became one of the most talked-about books of the year. "A combination of Tom Friedman on globalization and Karl von Clausewitz on war, [it is] the red-hot book among the nations' admirals and generals," wrote David Ignatius in The Washington Post. "Barnett is the most influential defense intellectual writing these days."

The Pentagon's New Map combined security, economic, political, and cultural factors to provide a fundamental reexamination of war and peace in the post-9/11 world, and a compelling vision of the future. Now, senior adviser and military analyst Barnett tells us how we get to that future. In a book at once pragmatic, thought-provoking, and optimistic, he explores both the long- and short-term pathways for governments, institutions, and individuals alike. Paying particular attention to such nations and regions as Iran, Iraq, and the Middle East; China and North Korea; Latin America, and Africa, he outlines the strategies to pursue, the entities to create, the pitfalls to overcome.

If the first book was "a compelling framework for confronting twenty-first-century problems" (BusinessWeek), Barnett's new book is something more--a powerful road map through a chaotic and uncertain world to "a future worth creating."

[back inside flap]

(author's photo)



THOMAS P.M. BARNETT regularly advises the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Special Operations Command, and the Joint Forces Command, and routinely offers briefings to senior members of the four military services, the intelligence community, and Congress. Dr. Barnett is now a Managing Director of Enterra Solutions which provides advanced information integration, security, and compliance solutions to clients in the private and federal sectors. He formerly served as Senior Strategic Researcher at the Naval War College and as Assistant for Strategic Futures in OSD's Office of Force Transformation. While at the War College, he directed a series of senior-level wargames, in partnership with Cantor Fitzgerald, to plot out long-term scenarios for globalization, and led a multiyear study of the Y2K event.

In December 2002, in a special edition titled "The Best and the Brightest," Esquire names Barnett "The Strategist" and followed that with his article "The Pentagon's New Map." He has since written numerous articles for the magazine and has been named a contributing editor. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and Wired, among other publications. A Harvard Ph.D. in political science, Barnett lives in Indiana with his wife and children.

Jacket design by Elizabeth Connor

Photograph of the author -- Roy (Chuck) Labit/ProPhoto& Video

Visit our website at:

www.penguin.com

Visit the author's website at:

www.thomaspmbarnett.com

G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS
a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

[back cover]

REMARKABLE ACCLAIM FOR THOMAS P.M. BARNETT'S

THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP

"Easily the most influential book of our time. I never dreamed that a single book would change my outlook on the United States's role in world affairs, but one has."

--THOMAS ROESER, Chicago Sun-Times

"A combination of Tom Friedman on globalization and Karl von Clausewitz on war, [it is] the red-hot book among the nations' admirals and generals. His book tries to rethink strategy for a post-Cold War, post-September 11 world caught between order and anarchy, self-satisfaction and rage, prosperity and ruin. . . . Reading Barnett's book gave me a rare moment of hope that perhaps we can still think ourselves our of these problems, rather than just shoot our way out."

--DAVID IGNATIUS, The Washington Post

"Thomas Barnett may turn out to be one of the most important strategic thinkers of our time."

--MICHAEL BARONE, USNews.com

"Thomas Barnett is one of the most thoughtful and original thinkers that this generation of national security analysts has produced."

        --JOHN PETERSEN, President, The Arlington Institute

"His work should be read not only by policymakers and pundits, but by anyone who wants to understand how the world works in the Age of Terror."

--SHERRI GOODMAN, Senior Fellow, The CNA Corporation, and former Undersecretary of Defense

"His book should be as instrumental for executive leaders as Tom Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree." --DR. PAUL B. DAVIS, JR., national security expert, Washington D.C.

"Dr. Barnett's work puts him in the same class as the great and powerful minds that crafted America's post-World War II strategy and created the institutions that brought stability and prosperity to the free world."

--VICE-ADMIRAL ARTHUR K. CEBROWSKI (ret.)

"Barnett puts the world into context."

--Esquire

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