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about Thomas Christ
Tom Christ grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. His higher education consists of an AB With Honors from The College of William and Mary, MS in Organizational Behavior from Cornell University, and Ph. D. in Sociology from Cornell University. He returned to teach sociology at his alma mater, William and Mary. Subsequently he turned his career to the development of technology for the Intelligence Community in both executive and Subject Matter Expert capacities. He served as Vice President, President and Chairman of HDS, Inc., a developer of Radio Frequency and digital devices for use by the Intelligence and Law Enforcement Communities. He served with U. S. Army Intelligence G-2 at Fort Detrick reviewing defensive biological technologies and concluded his career developing behavioral science-based technologies at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).
The ideas upon which Thinking About Thinking are based began to form in 1965 when Tom—then a Junior at the College of William and Mary—enrolled in a class taught by the late David Gray called “Industrial Society.” Dave Gray—a good thinker and superb teacher—introduced Tom to the writings of David Riesman (to whom the book is dedicated), C. Wright Mills’ White Collar and William H. White’s The Organization Man. The thinking of these men—and particularly Riesman—stimulated Tom’s own thinking about the impact of specifically social experience upon the individual.
At Cornell Tom got his MS in Organizational Behavior from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations which provided an intensive experience in studying formal organizations, and formal organization is a key theoretical object in Thinking About Thinking. His MS thesis dealt with ideology and was published in the American Journal of Sociology.
After his MS Tom transferred to the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences for his Ph. D. work. He began to read in the Sociology of Knowledge and did his dissertation on the Sociology of Science.
At William and Mary, in addition to teaching courses which had traditionally been on the course roster of the Department of Sociology, Tom developed courses entitled Political Sociology and The Sociology of Knowledge and Science which had not hitherto been taught by the Department.
It was from there to the very real world of intelligence technology. This provided an intensive and extensive opportunity to test the ideas learned in academe in a series of settings which were full of the politics, courage, venality, humor and puzzlement which real life provides. Critically, too, it was a life experience which was free from the very particular pressures experienced by most academics.
And it was from that life-long story of ideas brought from the academy into the real world in which Tom spent the bulk of his career that Thinking About Thinking emerged. It is unlikely that this book could have been birthed from any other cradle.
Now retired, he resides in Loudoun County, Virginia.