A Promised Land, by Barack Obama

I spent most of my free time this week reading Obama's new book. His memoirs on his journey to the White House and the key issues he faced during his first term as President. I share some thoughts and why I think it's recommended reading for everyone!

A Promised Land, by Barack Obama

Happy Sunday!

I spent most of my free time this week reading A Promised Land, Barack Obama's most recent book. It's a super long book and it felt like I was reading it forever, but it was well worth the time.

The book is effectively his memoirs as he recounts stories from being badly beaten in the local elections to ultimately becoming the President of the US. He also reflects on key issues and decisions he had to make during his first term in the White House; dealing with the financial crisis, passing of Obamacare through the house and the senate, military intervention in Lybia, the raid that ultimately killed Bin Laden in Pakistan, Trump and his "birtherism" claims and many more.

"To read Barack Obama’s autobiography in the last, snarling days of Donald Trump is to stare into an abyss between two opposite ends of humanity, and wonder once again at how the same country came to choose two such disparate men."

– Julian Borger, The Guardian

I don't think I've ever read a more open, honest and insightful piece of work from a politician. It was captivating and I found it difficult to put the book down. "One more chapter" I would say, despite the fact that it's 1 in the morning and I needed to be up at 6am.

The book gave great insight into the life of the POTUS and the gravity of the decisions that had to be made. For example:

  • Committing more troops to war is never going to be easy, after spending time with injured veterans and their families
  • Balancing looking after children of illegal immigrants, without encouraging more illegal immigrants into the country
  • Giving orders to begin an airstrike in Lybia to protect civilians, during a lunch that was being hosted in Rio by the Brazilian President

Another thing that jumped out is the division within US politics. I always knew the party politics thing in the US isn't productive, and probably does more harm than good.

However, I wasn't aware of the extent that the two-party US political system harms progress for the very people they are supposed to serve. You have Republicans not wanting to do what's best for the country because they only wanted Obama to be a 1-term president. They put their political interests far above what's best for the country. The Democrats are often just as bad!

Aside from politics, the book was also a great lesson on leadership. Building a team, keeping them motivated through the highs and the low and orchestrating team dynamics to ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn book.

I won't spend too much more time on this to avoid this getting too long, like the book. But I will end on this – this book is recommended reading for everyone, whether you're into politics or not. It details how decisions are being made by political leaders, which have ramifications on the rest of the population.

If you do end up reading the book, let me know what you think.

Fired up, ready to go!

Have an awesome week ahead,

This Week's Wisdom

"The truth is, I’ve never been a big believer in destiny. I worry that it encourages resignation in the down-and-out and complacency among the powerful. I suspect that God’s plan, whatever it is, works on a scale too large to admit our mortal tribulations; that in a single lifetime, accidents and happenstance determine more than we care to admit; and that the best we can do is to try to align ourselves with what we feel is right and construct some meaning out of our confusion, and with grace and nerve play at each moment the hand that we’re dealt."

– A Promised Land, by Barack Obama

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