Ronald Reagan as master of framing

Gardner, Extraordinary Minds, 150

I have been struck by how, at every phase of his unusual career, Ronald Reagan was underestimated by most observers.  Doubtless this was due to his easygoing personality, his tendency to engage in self-deprecation, and, perhaps, his lack of the analytic skills that one expects in top-flight Influencers.

Reagan was a Master at framing.  Not only was he able to see the bright side of an apparent failure (indeed, he was perhaps a bit too prone to accentuate the positive); more important, he drew lessons from every one of his professional experiences, successful or not, and wove it into his experiences at the next post.  The distance from the college sportscaster to the man in the Oval Office is enormous; but if one traces the steps from radio announcer to B-movie actor to president of The Screen Actors’ Guild to pitchmaster for General Electric to candidate for high office in California, the seemingly enormous gap quickly becomes negotiable.


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