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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming…
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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

by Barack Obama

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,835156758 (3.8)243
The junior senator from Illinois discusses how to transform U.S. politics, calling for a return to America's original ideals and revealing how they can address such issues as globalization and the function of religion in public life.
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» See also 243 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
I didn't like it because it was fiction parading as non-fiction, from the story to the author. William Ayers wrote this book, not Obama. And it's filled from the first page to the last with evasions, omissions, obfuscations, skirtings of the truth, and outright lies. ( )
  rodweston | Apr 23, 2020 |
This was a surprisingly interesting book. It was an odd combination of personal anecdotes and policy proposals. Odd, for me, because, when I read about politics, I am used to more abstract, academic fare. The anecdotes lend a certain weight to the proposals. You don't just learn what Obama's political positions are, but also why he holds those positions. It's also quite well written.

This adds a similar weight to his (better-known) speeches as well. For example, when Obama talks about bipartisanship, he really means it. Having read this book, I can see how they are those lines in his speeches are not just (for him) empty platitudes. He seems to really mean them, because in the book, he gives not just the position but an argument for the position and specific, concrete reasons for it, on both a policy level and a personal level. The time and effort he puts into his arguments here (and, in my opinion, their effectiveness) strongly suggest that he's completely sincere.

His sincerity (on the issue of bipartisanship) is further supported by a recent news story I read where he asked Congressional Democrats to make further compromises on a stimulus bill, in order to get more Republican votes, even though the Democrats already had enough votes to win. I get the impression that a lot of people have heard him speak, but few have yet taken what he's said seriously. Had Democrats on the Hill complaining bothered to read his book, they might not have been surprised.

I was struck by how often he used variations on the phrase 'a new consensus'. If you take his arguments seriously, then this would mean that, for Obama, compromise is not a means, it's an end. That is, he's not a centrist is the mold of Bill Clinton, willing to compromise in order to achieve and stay in power and maybe do some good in the meantime. Obama, on the other hand, presents compromise as a goal with value in itself.

Compromise is itself a virtue in two senses. First, more generally, compromise is what democracy is all about, the very process itself. To dismiss it as merely a means to an end is to dismiss democracy itself in the same way. Second, compromise is a virtue for the sake of progressive causes as well. Changes and improvements achieved by compromise--a compromise that takes the form of a 'new consensus'--have the capacity to have vastly more impact and staying power. Why simply change a law (when the next time the other guys are in power they'll just change it back), when you can change peoples minds (the common consensus) instead. This isn't just pie-in-the-sky naivete, but a political strategy for lasting, effective change. By way of precedent, FDR didn't just enact the reforms of the New Deal, he was able to forge a common consensus between Democrats and moderate Republicans that lasted (at least) 50 years. Johnson did the same thing with the Voting Rights Act. The point isn't that everyone has to agree and sing songs around the campfire, but only that enough people agree for long enough that the reform in question becomes a basic assumption for future political discourse.

It will be fascinating to see if he will be able to get it to work.

Anyone interested in American politics would benefit from this book. Whether you agree with his goals or not, this book goes a long way to explaining his strategies and motives. ( )
  ralphpalm | Nov 11, 2019 |
In The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, then-Senator Barack Obama offers “personal reflections on those values and ideals that have led [him] to public life, some thoughts on the ways that our current political discourse unnecessarily divides us, and [his] own best assessment – based on [his] experience as a senator and lawyer, husband and father, Christian and skeptic – of the ways we can ground our politics in the notion of a common good” (pg. 9). The 2006 book outlined the Senator’s beliefs, growing out of his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and served as his introduction to the electorate prior to the 2008 presidential election. Though the book is now thirteen years old, much of President Obama’s discussion of partisan gridlock and his desire to find ways to better serve his constituents seems all too prescient. For those looking for hope or something to believe in in these troubling times, The Audacity of Hope continues to offer wisdom. ( )
1 vote DarthDeverell | Aug 13, 2019 |
"Better isn't good enough."
P. 233: the key is to see the world as it should (which a former co-worker accused me of living by, rather than reality), AND to see it as it is, Obama says, without giving in to hate or despair. (paraphrasing...)

He is a very good writer, well organized sentence placement. i must learn this.


P. 240 Yes, we need to help each other "onto shore" after crossing the currents of habit and fear. -What a wonderful metaphor!!

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
22 February, 12016 HE
( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
"Better isn't good enough."
P. 233: the key is to see the world as it should (which a former co-worker accused me of living by, rather than reality), AND to see it as it is, Obama says, without giving in to hate or despair. (paraphrasing...)

He is a very good writer, well organized sentence placement. i must learn this.


P. 240 Yes, we need to help each other "onto shore" after crossing the currents of habit and fear. -What a wonderful metaphor!!

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
22 February, 12016 HE
( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois and the Democratic Party’s new rock star, is that rare politician who can actually write — and write movingly and genuinely about himself.
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barack Obamaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dierlamm, HelmutTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schäfer, UrselTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the women who raised me - my maternal grandmother, Tutu, who's been a rock of stability throughout my life, and my mother, whose loving spirit sustains me still.
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On most days, I enter the Capitol through the basement.
It's been almost ten years since I first ran for political office.
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