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Publisher's Summary

President Bill Clinton gives us his views on the challenges facing the United States today and why government matters—presenting his ideas on restoring economic growth, energy, job creation, resolving the mortgage crisis, and financial responsibility, and offering a plan to get us "back in the future business". He explains how we got into the current economic crisis, and lays down a plan for long-term prosperity. He also offers specific recommendations on how we can put people back to work, increase bank lending and corporate investment, double our exports, restore our manufacturing base, and create new businesses. He supports President Obama's emphasis on green technology, saying that changing the way we produce and consume energy is the strategy most likely to spark a fast-growing economy while enhancing our national security.

Clinton also stresses that we need a strong private sector and a smart government working together to restore prosperity and progress, demonstrating that whenever we've given in to the temptation to blame government for all of our problems, we've lost our ability to produce sustained economic growth and shared prosperity. He believes our ability to compete in the 21st century is dependent on our willingness to invest in infrastructure: we need faster broadband, a state-of-the-art national electrical grid, modernized water and sewer systems, and the best airports, trains, roads, and bridges.

"There is simply no evidence that we can succeed in the 21st century with an anti-government strategy," writes Clinton, based on "a philosophy grounded in 'you're on your own' rather than 'we're all in this together.'" He believes that conflict between government and the private sector has proved to be good politics but has produced bad policies, giving us a weak economy with not enough jobs, growing income inequality and poverty, and a decline in our competitive position. In the real world, cooperation works much better than conflict, and "Americans need victories in real life."

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2011 Bill Clinton (P)2011 Random House

What members say

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Worth the read!

If you could sum up Back to Work in three words, what would they be?

While this book clearly has a bias there is a great deal solid information about the current economic environment. Much is about the importance of FUTURE thinking if we want future generations to have better opportunities then we have enjoyed. There is no one right answer and moving out of the current situation will not be easy, but we must open our minds and start to listen to each others and get to the table and start debating the options rather then remaining stagnant in political rhetoric.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Chapter 5, company behavior after 9/11 - ethical leadership in business!

Any additional comments?

"This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins."

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

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  • Candace
  • Georgetown, KY, United States
  • 04-02-12

Good book

Would you consider the audio edition of Back to Work to be better than the print version?

This was a really good book and Clinton is a good reader but there is a lot of information and facts that you may want to write down because you won't be able to remember all of them. I was in the car and bookmarked a lot of places but is probably better in print.

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  • M.
  • Cromwell, CT, United States
  • 03-05-12

Makes Sense

Listening to Bill Clinton read his book "Back To Work", reminded me how bright this man is. The book makes great sense if only the congress could work together. This is a good book and extremely informative. I would and have recommended it.

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  • Patrick
  • Rogers, AR, United States
  • 03-01-12

A refreshing break from Info-Tainment TV

What did you love best about Back to Work?

Left wing, right, or moderate, you should have a listen. An honest, no-axe-to-grind assessment of what's worked for our country and policies that have failed. Clinton quickly cuts through the politics of our time to the core of what's wrong with our economy, and offers painfully obvious remedies.

With politicians and TV news pandering to our baser instincts and emotions, Clinton lays out the facts (for the most part). Most won't give it a listen, because the facts don't comfort the way ideals do...a lesson that, as Clinton points out, is one that is directly and negatively impacting our country's prospects.

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Well done

Some very compelling ideas are introduced. The information is greatly enhanced by President Clinton's voice and delivery. Some may find some of the ideas partisan, and some definitely are, but there is much to think about.

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  • JK
  • Los Olivos, CA, United States
  • 02-20-12

No, It's Not Recycled Ideas

There is something refreshing about views from one who has held a position of extreme power and no longer has to tow the party line. Past presidents (regardless of which side of the aisle you sit) have always had more reflective, insightful things to say after they've exited from their political career and Bill Clinton is no exception. If one can park his or her political leanings, there is good critical thinking and analysis in Mr. Clinton's book. And his ideas for how we can regain some of our economic footing is neither liberal or conservative, just good sense. But alas, many will reject these well-crafted and detailed strategies before even reading or listening to this book.

I think one of the major successes of Mr. Clinton's book is his answer to why we need government and what its role should be. He accomplishes this in a manner not based on ideology as most would assume, but rather practicality; what are the opportunities, our strengths, our weaknesses, our threats - a very business-like approach. With the current debate about this very issue, Mr. Clinton's book is an excellent read for some answers on this issue alone. Being neither Democrat nor Republican, I found his thoughts and examples regarding this issue to be the most compelling of any current political and business leader of our time.

Pros
-excellent information with thorough historical background to enable understanding of how we got to where we are right now
-ideas and strategies are well defined (this isn't surface skimming political jargon you hear so much of today) and could easily be implemented, if our representatives had the will to do anything other than finger pointing and fist waving
-this is not a repackaging of Democratic or Republican ideology nor is it filled with bashing of such, it's largely economically based with plenty of examples of successes and failures that we can learn from
-it's definitely some of the best of Bill Clinton, and regardless of your opinion of him, you will quickly realize why he is the brilliant thinker he is and deserves to be regarded as such
-answers the question of why we need government and what its role should be
There is a lot more I liked about this book (I even listened to it twice), but these are the major highlights for me.

Cons
-a bit dry, you don't get a lot of that same enthusiasm you associate with Bill Clinton the politician but then again, this is a comprehensive strategy for putting our country back to work and back into a position of economic strength and not a political rah-rah speech
-Mr. Clinton toots his own horn a little too much. I think the book would have been much stronger without so much grandstanding. To be fair, there are several (just a few though) where Mr. Clinton gets as close as one can to admitting misstep without actually saying so (IMHO failure is not the big horrible thing our society thinks it is, much can be learned from failure and we shouldn't view it as some sort of weakness).

Overall, an excellent book and gave me a great deal more insight into the problems we are grappling with and how we might solve them. I have much hope for our nation and our people, I just wish I had that same level of hope for our Congress.

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  • Victoria
  • Albuquerque, NM, United States
  • 02-06-12

Great Book

I am so glad that this is narrated by Bill Clinton himself -- might not have bought it otherwise. First audio book I have listened to and will definitely buy more!

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  • Aaron
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • 01-30-12

Interesting arguments well presented

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I wouldn't agree with nearly everything Clinton has to say, but this is a well reasoned and debated set of proposals and arguments. He sets out his stall clearly and there is something for everyone to chew over, even if only to acknowledge the problems that exist rather than agree with all of his proposals to fix them.

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  • J. Jason
  • Modesto, CA, United States
  • 01-23-12

Some Good Ideas Hidden In There

Unfortunately, the first part of this book is burdened with self-promotion and catelogs of Mr. President's accomplishments while in office. This was overdone and not presented with a balance of what worked and what fell short. I found myself saying, "Enough already; get to the point!". I voted for him twice. I was generally okay with his performance of his official duties. But some mistakes were made: most notably the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which contributed to our current meltdown.

The second half of the book is a rapid-fire list of over 40 proposals for Congress to increase employment. Many of these are excellent ideas. The bad news is that Congress will do nothing due to more ideology than patriotism (don't get me started on that bunch of #*$&%'s). But being an ex-president, Bill can make any proposal he wants without actually getting his hands dirty with all the negotiating and warfare required to pass legislation.

It made me pine for the good old days when there was real drama in politics.

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Our smartest politician

I think even people who hate Bill Clinton would admit he is at least one of the smartest politicians in our lifetime (60 years in my case). In this book President Clinton gives a number of ideas (and I mean close to 50) for improving the economy and the nation as a whole. And these are commen sense ideas that would get bipartisan support if some would not regard "bipartisan" as being a synonym for "disloyal".
Having this book read by the author was critically important to me. But if his voice bugs you then you should try the printed version.
You have to be interested in things like "the economy" to enjoy this book but, if you do, I don't see how you can pass this by.