Easy read, very impressive. He's not just a great talker, he's a great thinker. This book lays out his thinking and hopes on all the issues and shows you where he's coming from. Those who want to know him in depth should read this book. It's not only enjoyable, it's full of facts. Only ignorance of his ideas can lead people to say hateful things about a man who cares so much about the world.
This was a wonderful book and I enjoyed it tremendously. His thoughts on improvments for our country in the areas of poverty, defense, health care and family were poignant and believable. He truly loves our country and now that he is running for President, you will be able to discern what his beliefs are in many areas by reading this book.
I felt it was important to read this book in order to learn a little bit more about the man who is now president of our country. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised! Barack Obama has a very captivating way of writing. He makes it pretty accessible to every reader and not just those interested in politics (though there were a few parts, at least in the first 2 chapters in my opinion where a working political knowledge would be helpful to make sense of names for instance). He starts each chapter with a personal story...encounters with the people he represented in Illinois, a family story, something related to the theme of the chapter. Then he goes into his beliefs or ideology on that issue...race, faith, difference between Democrats and Republicans, etc. Other personal stories are sprinkled throughout the chapter, and the end of the chapter usually wraps up the story he mentioned in the start of the chapter.
Obviously Obama is going to favor the Democrat side of things, but he avoids Republican bashing for the most part (Bush-bashing, yes, but even that is done pretty respectfully). He states that a lot of what he learned from his mother (treating people with decency & how you would want to be treated, seeing both sides of an issue in order to understand the other guy's point of view even if you don't agree with them) has served him well in his political career. As someone mentioned to him in one of the stories, they did not always agree with Obama, but they felt he would at least listen to them. That is how I feel, that at least he would be willing to consider both sides, rather than just enforce his POV without considering the other side. That is probably a really important trait in a politician, one which many seem to lack. I also got a feeling for Obama as a person, not just as a politician. It was interesting to learn about his childhood and how various life circumstances influenced decisions later in life. Hopefully he can remain as honest and as genuine as he seems in this book because the next few years will be trying for him.
I found it interesting that in one anecdote he asks an experienced politician for advice and the man tells him to enjoy his time in the Senate & that too many Senators are racing to get to the White House. So much for that one! :-P Obama does put out the outline for some policies, nothing in great detail, but a few ideas that he feels America would benefit from. I agreed with most of his plans, but not all. Hopefully he does find a way to put some of these plans out there as president, especially the ones he mentions about health care and our social responsibility to take care of all citizens. All in all, I'm glad I took the time to get to know our President a bit better, and I'm interested in reading his first book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.
I am not a huge fan of political books but my book club was reading this book. With the new presidential election looming in the near future, this is an excellent book to aquaint yourself with a potential presidential candidate.
Although Barack Obama does get a bit preachy and political in spots for my taste, I found the book very interesting and feel I have a better understanding of what this President is about and what his goals are for this country.
This is overall a great book. Though Obama is somewhat longwinded at times, it provides a very interesting insight into his life and his values, ideals, and goals for the country as an important political player. This book is a good way to become more familiar with Obama, especially in light of the 2008 election.
If you like his speeches you will love this book. It shows the same gift for language, even if you don't agree on each of his opinions, this book is not pressing a certain aspect, rather it is leading you through his personal experiences.
I enjoyed listening to the author's reading of the book. Especially fascinating are his family relationships, his commentary about race and politics, and his insightful viewpoints on how our country can be turned around--with everyone's willingness to pitch in and to sacrifice a little. Quite an intelligent, fascinating, and inspiring person with a unique background.
I actually read this book right after it came out a couple of years ago which I believe was around the time Obama announced his plans to run for President. The only previous introduction I'd had to Obama was that famous speech he had given at the Democratic Convention a few years earlier. I found the book to be a good read. It clearly explained his ideas, his influences both personally and politically, and his plans for the future. One of the most intriguing parts of the book was learning how very "common sense" and in some ways middle-of-the-road Obama is in many areas of political thought. He's not someone who has just accepted the ideology of his party without taking into account his own life experiences. I really liked that in several areas of the book he was able to look at both sides of an issue, give credence and value to both positions of an argument, and then provide you with his own opinion. This book really crystalized for me the reasons why I'd be voting for Obama many months later. I'd recommend this to book to every American who wants to understand more about our new President.
Whether or not you are a fan of our President, this book is insightful into his way of thinking and gives a glimpse into why he holds some beliefs. I felt it necessary to get to know the leader of the Free World a little better which was why I read this in the first place. It is a decent book, and he is a very capable writer. Probably more enjoyable if you are one of his supporters, probably less so if you are not.
I have mixed feelings regarding this book. On one hand it was interesting, gave a "regular guy" aspect to a rather famous person (certainly very famous now!) although at the time of writing he was minimally famous! It was a good picture of a family man doing regular things that we all do, however other parts were egotistical, the sunday school lessons in later chapters I found pretentious as if to say his upbringing in the religious world was the best and most appropriate giving him worldly views that others could not have. As well his discussions of race were somewhat overpowering and I felt drew away from the everyday guy feel of the book. I am glad I listened to it, I was interested in the book, I felt that it would have been better suited to have a more politically viewed book and then one that allowed the reader to discover the ragular guy Obama. But as it is, I read it, I would suggest you read it if you are interested in finding out more about our president, but understand that the views are very Democratic in some areas and could cause you to be unhappy with the book.
I read this book to help me understand our president and his motivations, from the perspective of someone who doesn't often find herself agreeing with him. I was surprised to find how likable and willing to compromise I found him to be in this book. He was often gracious even in disagreeing sharply with his opponents. If I had read this book before his first term in office, I think I may have enjoyed it more. But from where I'm sitting now, I can see how so many of the things he presented in this book (willingness to compromise, to present a more honest, open dialogue, etc) got left behind long ago, which makes me think this book was merely the start of a campaign, full of promises soon to be broken. Being someone who heartily disagrees with most of his policies, I wish the more gracious man who wrote this book were the one who won four years ago.
I two years ago I bought this and Dreams from My Father. At the time I was commuting 42 minutes each way (on a good day) from rural Illinois into Chicago. They were spectacular picks. Hearing Barack read the books was incredibly moving. I would frequently repeat the last chapter over lunch or on the way home. I highly recommend listening to both audio books.
This book was inspired and based upon a sermon that was given by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen Obama's longtime friend and spiritual advisor. Sen Obama dropped Rev. Wright like a hot potato as soon as he realized that the average American did not approve of Rev. Wright's message. He realized that his association with this pastor would be an impediment to his quest to become President of the United States. So now we have a best selling book that was inspired by someone with whom Sen. Obama is now disassociated. What does that tell you about this book, and more importantly, what does that tell you about Barack Obama?
In my opinion, I see a lot of audacity here, but unfortunately, very little hope.
I am writing this post script several months after I wrote the above original review. Although my impression and opinion about this book have not changed, now that Sen. Obama has become our President-elect, I feel compelled to urge others to read this book and make their own opinions. I still disagree with President-elect Obama's views on reclaiming the American dream. I fear that they could actually destroy the American dream. However, I believe in America. I believe in supporting the President-elect of the USA, the greatest country in the world. God bless America, and may God bless our new President-elect.
I actually hope that at some point in time, I am posting another post-script with the realization that I was wrong in my original criticism and that we do have the American dream restored for all of us. See, in the midst of "audacity", I still can't give up on "hope"!