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Techniques of Systems Analysis (1957) [pdf] (rand.org)
54 points by gwern 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

One of the co-authors here is Herman Kahn, the nuclear strategist. He wrote On Thermonuclear War in 1960, which made him one of the models for Dr. Strangelove - some of the lines in the movie are direct quotes from that book. Later he became a utopian (or dystopian) futurist - when he wrote a book called The Coming Boom (which title provoked ironic comment, given his earlier book).

A biography appeared several years ago, The Worlds of Herman Kahn by Sharon Ghamari Tabrizi. She concludes that Kahn was a sort of performer, a monologist working in a then-popular genre called "sick comedy".

"... But one source was Kahn. Strangelove’s rhapsodic monologue about preserving specimens of the race in deep mineshafts is an only slightly parodic version of Kahn. There were so many lines from “On Thermonuclear War” in the movie, in fact, that Kahn complained that he should get royalties. (“It doesn’t work that way,” Kubrick told him.)"


pg. 33-34: "There is usually no point in using a Cadillac as a pickup truck. (In practice it depends a little on what commodity is being «picked up.»)"


Bottom of page 52 is hilarious.

Page 52 in the PDF or page 52 in the document?

The latter.

The tone is surprisingly light-hearted given the audience.

Was the larger book that they reference in the introduction ever published?

I believe On Thermonuclear War, 1960, by Kahn alone, must be that book.

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