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On Think Tanks was founded in mid 2010. It has evolved from a blog into a global platform dedicated to study and support policy research and policy research centres, or think tanks. The members of the On Think Tanks Team and its Advisory Board are spread out across 6 continents!

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The On Think Tanks review of books

From time to time, On Think Tanks reviews books and papers on think tanks submitted by their authors or publishers -or that we come across online. If you would like to submit a book or paper review please get in touch.
  1. 1

    Book Review: How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies, edited by James McGann, Jillian Rafferty, and Anna Viden

    In this post, Marcos Gonzales Hernando provides a critical review of "How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies", edited by James McGann, Jillian Rafferty, and Anna Viden. He challenges the notion put forward by the editors, that think tanks can, in its own right, become a powerful force for social development and the strengthening of civil society; but welcomes the comparative literature and cases offered by the volume. Read full article
  2. 2

    Book Review: What Should Think Tanks Do? Read this book to find out

    Lawrence MacDonald has written a post reflecting on Andrew Selee's new book, "What Should Think Tanks Do? A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact". He argues that having a strategy can be useful but is not always necessary. CGD offers an interesting alternative. Read full article
  3. 3

    Book Review: ‘Think tanks in America’ by Thomas Medvetz

    Thomas Medvetz 2013 book, Think Tanks in America, describes think tanks as political operators and provides a great account of how they go about claiming and gaining political power for themselves and their sector. The book provides a critical history of think tanks in the US that shines a new light on them; from technocratic and neutral knights to ideological and partisan knaves (not all of course). Read the book. Read full article
  4. 4

    Bourdieu and the literature on think tanks

    Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) is, without a doubt, amongst the most influential sociologists of the 20th century. His work spanned topics as diverse as education, academia, marginality, the formation of taste, media, television, masculine domination and economics. Marcos Gonzalez Hernando explains how his work has influenced the study of think tanks. Read full article
  5. 5

    Gramsci and the literature on think tanks

    In this post, Marcos Gonzalez explores how Gramsci's ideas have influenced the literature on think tanks and how we understand and work with them. He offers an explanation to why we tend to focus on the confrontational aspects of think tanks' roles. Read full article
  6. 6

    Report Review: Democracy Think Tanks in Action

    The Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) has just launched its latest report, “Democracy Think Tanks in Action: Translating Research into Policy in Young and Emerging Democracies” with a panel that brought together thinktankers from several countries. The report compiles nine... Read full article
  7. 7

    What makes a successful policy research organisation in a developing country? Review of Ray Struyk’s latest paper

    Ray Struyk has worked on think tanks for quite some time -and has great insights into what makes them work. But I wonder if these insights can (or should) be quantified. Following RAPID's work on the factors affecting the uptake of research (context, evidence and links) he and Sammuel... Read full article