I've read quite a number of books about Obama, from the ones that were available during the 2008 campaign like David Mendell's "Obama: from Promise to Power" to the ones covering his first year in office like Richard Wolffe's "Revival", Bob Woodward's "Obama's Wars" and Jonathon Alter's "The Promise", not to mention Obama's two books. I list these books to brag but rather to show how David Remnick's book "The Bridge" is different.
Even though Remnick's book goes through all the events of Obama's life like any biography would, it offers an analytical look into those events. It reviews Obama's first book and tries to look into the author's intentions sometimes. It's a little skeptic on some aspects of the author memories of certain events. Maybe my focus on this analytical look is because I've read an Obama biography before, but I think it's also because it's the intention of Remnick who chooses to cover the 2008 campaign in its relation to Race rather than cover the day to day events or uncover new secrets like "Game Change" does for example.
However, the book does shed some light on events that weren't covered in other biographies of Obama like this time in Hawaii, the story of his mother, the process of selecting him as president of the Harvard Law Review, and other.
One thing I like about "The Bridge" is the dive into the history of other characters that affects Obama's life even in indirect ways. The election of Harold Washington as Mayor of Chicago is a good example. Also, I liked the review of Obama's performance as a Law Professor, it's a good indication of how thinks.
I listened to the audio version of the book and the narrator does a good job at changing voices to reflect the different characters participating in any dialog. He's at good pace and made following a 20+ hours books easy.
"The Bridge" is a good biography of Obama whether you already read another biography or not. Hope you enjoy it too.
Nice overview on the political history of Europe in the Medieval time. Highlights the important turning points, and the events that lead to shape Europe as we know it today. It's a bit difficult to keep up with all the names and people if you're not already familiar with them.
Promising idea. I wasn't sure you can actually get a whole book out of it, but apparently you can. It's really just as the summary suggests, guy reads the Encyclopedia Britannica, gives all kinds of interesting facts that he reads about, along with personal stories, and his journey to become smarter.
Interesting read. I've listened to the audio version of the book on Audible, and the narrator is the best narrator I've listened to. he made the book a joy to listen to.
I thought this book is about finding new friends, but actually it's about a woman finding new girlfriends. That's its biggest flaw for me, I'm not the target audience.
However, I really enjoyed the author's easy style of writing, how she moves from one story to another with ease and how she switches from stories to facts, statistics, and quotes from psychological studies about friendship.
The book can get too 'girly' at times, not just for me but I think for most people but that's understandable given the author's fascination with pop culture in general, Harry Potter, Glee and Entertainment Weekly which she reads cover to cover.
On the other hand, the author offers great information on friendship, making friends, and relationships in general. She uses number of books as a source (The Lonely American, Bowling Alone, and others) but also meets with a Professor who is an expert on the issue.
The book doesn't offer any grand conclusion on the experience, it chronicles the author's experience throughout her quest to make friends in a new city. Sometimes it can get a little bit repetitive, but you can enjoy the progress she makes in approaching new "friend date" as she calls them.
Don't try to keep up with all the people that she meets, there's way too many of them. You can use the author's husband way of remembering them; "the one with the ...". You can enjoy how the author come up with all those different ways to meet new people. This falls into a "tip and tricks" type of information, it can be very helpful. There's plenty of those tips regarding how to approach people without scaring them away.
You can see throughout the book how trying to make friends can make you more social, even if you don't end up with a new BFF, you can still enjoy the benefits of being more open to new relationships, more adventurous, and more at ease when talking to strangers.
I've listened to the audio version of this book. I've found the narrator to be very good. Her normal tone matches the spirit of the book; happy, discovering and uplifting. She does an excellent job of switching between all the different characters (and there's a lot of them).
In general, I found the book to be a fun read. I'm not really the target audience but it was a nice break from all the serious (and mostly depressing) books I normally read. The book can be too happy at times, but most of the time it will just make you laugh.
In the tsunami of the economic crisis of 2008, there's a million story. I've read many books on the topic and they cover it very well. "All the Devils are Here" covers the history. "Too Big To Fail" covers the top guys on Wall Street and Government during the crisis. "The Big Short" tells the story of few people, who are not connected at all, saw it coming. Not only did they see it coming but also made ton of money off of it.
Michael Lewis have a talent for adding a human touch on a tough cold subject like economics and trading on Wall Street. He dives in the background of the characters deep enough to make us understand why they do what they do but not too deep to make us bored with characters that are not known to the general public.
I don't really have much comments on the book itself other than the story is well told. I have lots of comments on the content of the story but I don't want to spoil it. All I can say is, this is probably the closest an economic story comes to a horror story.
Even though the authors of this book don't provide evidence on many of their stories, the reason for that is understandable and the stories are reasonable on many aspects (except for stories about the Edwards who are very surprising, but now seem to be not surprising at all).
One thing the book does is (unintentionally?) compare the three candidates (Obama, The Clintons, and McCain) and their attitude towards the different events they faced throughout the campaign and you can draw your own conclusions on how attitude - not just plans and strategies - greatly affected their campaigns.
Something I really love about the book is its story-like way of stating what happened. It sound like a novel rather than actual events. Of course, the drama of events itself helped with that but the writing style also did.
"Game Change" is a great read and really good look into the insides of American politics as it played out on the 2008 presidential campaign.
The fairly liberal author really likes Obama and his accomplishments in the first year, which is not surprising but it becomes very obvious sometimes (even for me, someone who favors Obama) which is not good for a book that is supposed to be a very early draft of history of the first year of the Obama presidency.
However, the book is full of details about what happened in the first year (even though they mostly favor Obama) and more importantly it offers details on Obama's management style and his attitude towards the commander-in-cheif and top executive job.
Enjoy the details of the book (especially, if you're interested in politics like I'm) but remember that it's a first somehow biased draft of history.
22 hours of personal stories and minute-by-minute account of what happened from the collapse of bear stern to the TARP program. Lots of background stories about the participants and there's a loooot of them.
Let me list some issues and observations I have on the book:
- There's way too many characters and way too many details to a level that cast doubt on the author's ability to collect all that information. To his credit, he puts a disclaimer that some of the stories are sourced by only one source with no way to prove them. This makes the book a way to understand the circumstances of the crisis not to make a historical account of what actually happened.
- If you're new to characters, try to find pictures of them (which is available in the hard cover and the paperback)It helps remembering who is who.
- The book mentions nothing about what caused the crisis. This was a disappointment for me as I was looking forward for that part.
- The book gives a kind look at the heads of financial institutions that participated in the crisis, their history, their families, their short comings in their careers and lives. Sometimes it make them look like the people who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the middle of a perfect storm and not the ones who caused it. Though at the very end, the book describes the executives insistence on avoiding limit on bounces and reveal that the true intension of quickly paying back the TARP money is actually their desire to access their bounces, it generally gives executives a favorable treatment as people who are racing to save the financial system.
- One of the things that struck me is the ease with which people on such high level managing huge financial institutions deal with important decisions. The number of possible merges between huge companies is big. Meetings over the weekend, phone calls to ask "Do you want to buy JP Morgan/Lehman Brothers/etc.?". It just amazes me.
Read the book but don't count it as the only account on what happened, it's only one version of the story. The story of what happened, not what caused the crisis and who's to blame.
Not as good as America the Book. Not great as an Audiobook. Hard cover version is much better.
America the book was more of a single story with some related stories around it. This is more of a collection of stories bound together with one story.
I liked that it made some serious points on few occasions.
Not for children at all. Way too many sexual references.
The stuff about religion is just not funny.
Still think The Daily Show is great.
I don't disagree with the theme of this book. Obama is a revivalist who wants good for America. Republicans are bad. Yet I don't like the way the case for those conclusions has been made.
Richard Wolffe is not one of those partisans who are biased to one side over the other. He present himself (or at least I see him) as a journalist whose opinions are based on facts and grounded into reason. And in making the case for any of those conclusions, he would demonstrates the facts and reasons for those conclusions. Unfortunately, this is not the case here.
While the book is full of analysis to the transformation of the Obama campaign as it moved to the White House and faced the realities of governing, it's light on reporting. There are no new insights into the White House as you find 'Game Change' does to the 2008 campaigns.
One thing I really didn't like is making assertions about people and policies without explaining how did you jump to those assertions. One example is the description of Larry Summers.
The book maybe right about conclusions but that is not what you look for in a book. You can get that in a short TV segment. Maybe my expectations were wrong.
The book makes a good case for Obama. It's a good chance to see things how Obama sees them. It reflects the authors knowledge of the president.
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