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From Obama's former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America comes a colorful account of how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era. On November 9th, 2016, Dan Pfeiffer woke up like most of the world wondering WTF just happened. How had Donald Trump won the White From Obama's former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America comes a colorful account of how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era. On November 9th, 2016, Dan Pfeiffer woke up like most of the world wondering WTF just happened. How had Donald Trump won the White House? How was it that a decent and thoughtful president had been succeeded by a buffoonish reality star, and what do we do now? Instead of throwing away his phone and moving to another country (which were his first and second thoughts), Pfeiffer decided to tell this surreal story, recounting how Barack Obama navigated the insane political forces that created Trump, explaining why everyone got 2016 wrong, and offering a path for where Democrats go from here. Pfeiffer was one of Obama's first hires when he decided to run for president, and was at his side through two presidential campaigns and six years in the White House. Using never-before-heard stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Yes We (Still) Can examines how Obama succeeded despite Twitter trolls, Fox News (and their fake news), and a Republican Party that lost its collective mind. An irreverent, no-B.S. take on the crazy politics of our time, Yes We (Still) Can is a must-read for everyone who is disturbed by Trump, misses Obama, and is marching, calling, and hoping for a better future for the country.


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From Obama's former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America comes a colorful account of how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era. On November 9th, 2016, Dan Pfeiffer woke up like most of the world wondering WTF just happened. How had Donald Trump won the White From Obama's former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America comes a colorful account of how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era. On November 9th, 2016, Dan Pfeiffer woke up like most of the world wondering WTF just happened. How had Donald Trump won the White House? How was it that a decent and thoughtful president had been succeeded by a buffoonish reality star, and what do we do now? Instead of throwing away his phone and moving to another country (which were his first and second thoughts), Pfeiffer decided to tell this surreal story, recounting how Barack Obama navigated the insane political forces that created Trump, explaining why everyone got 2016 wrong, and offering a path for where Democrats go from here. Pfeiffer was one of Obama's first hires when he decided to run for president, and was at his side through two presidential campaigns and six years in the White House. Using never-before-heard stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Yes We (Still) Can examines how Obama succeeded despite Twitter trolls, Fox News (and their fake news), and a Republican Party that lost its collective mind. An irreverent, no-B.S. take on the crazy politics of our time, Yes We (Still) Can is a must-read for everyone who is disturbed by Trump, misses Obama, and is marching, calling, and hoping for a better future for the country.

30 review for Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump

  1. 5 out of 5

    Agatha Lund

    I miss President Obama.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    As a fan of Dan Pfeiffer on the podcast Pod Save America, I knew I wanted to read his book as soon as I heard about it. It offers an insightful look at the author's time in the Obama administration, the difficulties faced and the pleasure to work for a man he so respected. The book is cynical at times, but left me with a message of hope that things can and hopefully will get better. Recommended! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    If you listen to the pod, you're already getting this book and you know what to expect. I really can't say what this book would be like to read if you aren't already a Friend of the Pod. It's good. Not great, but good. There are some funny anecdotes. It doesn't get into the weeds, it's not that kind of book. It was interesting hearing his back story a little bit, but it's not really too gossipy either. It's more of an extended tweet of his. Which, if you follow him on twitter, you might If you listen to the pod, you're already getting this book and you know what to expect. I really can't say what this book would be like to read if you aren't already a Friend of the Pod. It's good. Not great, but good. There are some funny anecdotes. It doesn't get into the weeds, it's not that kind of book. It was interesting hearing his back story a little bit, but it's not really too gossipy either. It's more of an extended tweet of his. Which, if you follow him on twitter, you might recognize a few takes. It's also like an extended rant that he could be having with Favs at some points. But that's okay. You probably expected that going in. It can be cathartic. Sometimes it's nice to spend a few hours in an echo chamber. Last note, I say this for most of my reviews but I really, really mean it this time. Pick this one up on Audible, especially if you listen to the pod. Pfeiffer narrates it himself, so the experience is basically like one long, extended, solo episode of Pod Save America. I'm not sure if it was just for pre-orders, but a portion of the proceeds are being donated to Swing Left. So another reason to get it if that's your thing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I love Dan Pfeiffer and I'm definitely a friend of the pod "Pod Save America." This book was enjoyable as long as you know what you're in for. It's not: - an Obama biography. - a complete rehash of the 2016 election. - a hatchet job on Clinton and/or Sanders. It is: - A memoir of Dan Pfeiffer's time in politics. - Snapshot's of Obama's White House. - A prescription (in broad strokes) for how to proceed politically in these dark Trumpian days. - An honest, neurotic, silly look inside Dan's head. If that I love Dan Pfeiffer and I'm definitely a friend of the pod "Pod Save America." This book was enjoyable as long as you know what you're in for. It's not: - an Obama biography. - a complete rehash of the 2016 election. - a hatchet job on Clinton and/or Sanders. It is: - A memoir of Dan Pfeiffer's time in politics. - Snapshot's of Obama's White House. - A prescription (in broad strokes) for how to proceed politically in these dark Trumpian days. - An honest, neurotic, silly look inside Dan's head. If that sounds good to you, read it. If not, how'd you even find this book?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Solid and substantive. It's really interesting to see how someone got to such a high level at such a young age, and Pfeiffer's work ethic and intellect certainly comes through. My only criticism is that it's more of a prescriptive politics and campaigning book than a book of anecdotes about life at the White House and as a top level Obama staffer. I think there's a lot of value in laying out what went right with Obama, what has gone wrong to get us to Trump, and how our relationship to the media Solid and substantive. It's really interesting to see how someone got to such a high level at such a young age, and Pfeiffer's work ethic and intellect certainly comes through. My only criticism is that it's more of a prescriptive politics and campaigning book than a book of anecdotes about life at the White House and as a top level Obama staffer. I think there's a lot of value in laying out what went right with Obama, what has gone wrong to get us to Trump, and how our relationship to the media and Twitter has permanently changed the way the game is played. But for those of us die hard Crooked Media and other progressive news outlet fanatics, that part of the book is a little less than necessary, except to say it's nice to see the ideas all laid out in print. Also, I am well aware that this book is subject to change (I would love to see a last minute addition about the Parkland kids with regards to Twitter and organizing) but I'm thrilled to have gotten it so early for my plane reading the past few days.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City

    “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — President Barack Obama . . How the **ck do we ended up here, and what do we do now? are the core questions Dan Pfeiffer answers, examines, and illuminates in his memoir, “Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump” as he share & recount behind-the-scene stories from his time in politics, working for President Barack Obama “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — President Barack Obama . . How the **ck do we ended up here, and what do we do now? are the core questions Dan Pfeiffer answers, examines, and illuminates in his memoir, “Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump” as he share & recount behind-the-scene stories from his time in politics, working for President Barack Obama and dissect the current state of affairs & political landscape. . This book was so hard to read, not because the writing was bad, but because you’re having to re-live the nightmare of the 2016 presidential election & read about 🍊🤡. And especially the chapter on Fox “news” was so hard to digest, so cringeworthy. You’re going to go through a rollercoaster of emotions — you’re going to laugh, cry, and punch the wall once or twice from anger & frustration. However, this isn’t your typical political book, it’s a part memoir, part prescription, and part snapshot of Obama’s White House, written conversational-like, humorous, entertaining, educational, approachable, readable, and Dan’s personality really shines throughout the book. . As Obama's former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America, Pfeiffer has a good grasp of politics, political landscape, campaigning, and changing landscape of internet & internet, having been one of Obama's first hires when he decided to run for president and was at his side through two presidential campaigns and six years in the White House, along with other childhood experiences & various campaigning experiences for other politicians. . I’ve read complains about the book from other readers that it struggled to be either memoir or a political commentary book, but I thought Pfeiffer has done a great job of balancing his own personal life story, time in politics, Obama’s White House, current state of affairs & political landscape, trump, and internet & media. He had lot to cover, but he kept it high-level, informative, and entertaining, not overwhelming at all. And one of Pfeiffer’s goals was to explain how recent changes in the media of communication have altered the political landscape for good & the bad, and he’s done a great job of explaining that. I find reading Pfeiffer’s analysis about the changing internet & media landscape during President Obama presidency & Trump’s rise really fascinating and on point. . As awesome as President Barack Obama is and leader he is, we cannot forget the hundreds of his staff members, thousands of volunteers, millions of his voters & fans, and his loving family & friend who all have helped become who he is today. And you’ll get to meet many of them in this book. You’ll also get a broader look at how amazing, genuine, intelligent, and caring President Obama is as a person. Not that we already didn’t know. There are one or two chapters I thought it was unnecessary and areas I would’ve liked more depth, but overall fantastic & entertaining book. Highly recommend it! 🤓✌️📖

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    I am an avid Pod Save America fan, and I am always happy to invest in safe advice from the funniest political commentators around. This book had some really good advice for Dems moving into 2018 and 2020 that I hope is heeded, and some even better stories of life in Obama's White House. I think this book struggles some in knowing whether it wants to be a memoir or a manifesto and so never quite pulls off either. I'm also not sure if 12 is a new publishing house, but I struggled to understand I am an avid Pod Save America fan, and I am always happy to invest in safe advice from the funniest political commentators around. This book had some really good advice for Dems moving into 2018 and 2020 that I hope is heeded, and some even better stories of life in Obama's White House. I think this book struggles some in knowing whether it wants to be a memoir or a manifesto and so never quite pulls off either. I'm also not sure if 12 is a new publishing house, but I struggled to understand some of the formatting choices in the book. But any book by a PSA host will always get my buy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Really enjoyed reading this one by Pod Save America host, Dan Pfeiffer. He writes just like he talks on the podcast, so I could "hear" everything the way he says it. I liked how he told stories about his time in the Obama White House, including his own missteps, and I also liked how he could talk about the pros and cons and the way forward for communication in the Twitter/Facebook age.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sean Tenaglia

    “If we play their game, we lose. We have to change the game.”- Barack People like Dan give me hope that there’s so much that (still) can be done to move our nation toward a more equitable and democratic society.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Why? Why do I torture myself by reading books written by President Obama's staff? I actually burst into tears when I read the last lines of this book. Because I never realized how much I could miss a President. I read them because it reminds me of what we are capable of. I read them because I have hope (which never dies!) that we can and will elect another smart President who staffs his or her administration with smart people. I read them because I love my country and want it to succeed, but not Why? Why do I torture myself by reading books written by President Obama's staff? I actually burst into tears when I read the last lines of this book. Because I never realized how much I could miss a President. I read them because it reminds me of what we are capable of. I read them because I have hope (which never dies!) that we can and will elect another smart President who staffs his or her administration with smart people. I read them because I love my country and want it to succeed, but not at the expense of those who need a hand. We've done it before and we'll do it again. To that end, Pfeiffer includes some smart advice about how to move forward. I plan on reviewing this in the coming months and years. I also read these books because these staffers are genuinely funny. Pfeiffer may have made me cry at the end but he made me laugh multiple times throughout the book. This was great fun with plenty of great anecdotes and advice. Recommended!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    This probably wasn’t the right book for me to read right now, but it was both easily accessible and a book I could at least get myself through. I enjoyed Dan’s voice a lot, as always, and I gave this book some extra credit for the stellar event at the 92nd Street Y. Hey, I finished a book. At this point, I’ll take anything.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I have a hard time putting a rating on this, because Dan is my favorite and this is really good, but this was absolutely the wrong time for me to read this book. Three stars it is.

  13. 4 out of 5

    John

    Since the election it has been hard to be positive about the state of our country. I read as much as I can stomach and listen to as many podcasts as my ears will tolerate and have been to more marches in my life, but this book does offer a sense of hope and lays out some steps on how to regain our country. Dan Pfeiffer has always been a fave of mine, he always states some straight forward advice without sugar coating the bad parts and I have always appreciated that. This book shows what he did in Since the election it has been hard to be positive about the state of our country. I read as much as I can stomach and listen to as many podcasts as my ears will tolerate and have been to more marches in my life, but this book does offer a sense of hope and lays out some steps on how to regain our country. Dan Pfeiffer has always been a fave of mine, he always states some straight forward advice without sugar coating the bad parts and I have always appreciated that. This book shows what he did in the Obama White House and why is sounds the way he does, he has lived a life. Please read this book and realize there are still things we can do and that the Democratic party can do to reclaim our country. Get out and VOTE that is how we change things, stand up for those things you care about. Keep HOPE alive!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cathy D

    I’m a fan of Pod Save America, so I’m familiar with Dan’s delivery of information. I like a book that, when I’m reading, I can hear the author speaking - and that’s what this does. I needed to read this; a nice bit of looking back on the Obama years, and some great advice for moving forward now. I especially liked the parts of discussion about the changing media and its effect on politics, distributing a candidate’s message, and influence on the elections. (Note: if you’re with the GOP, you may I’m a fan of Pod Save America, so I’m familiar with Dan’s delivery of information. I like a book that, when I’m reading, I can hear the author speaking - and that’s what this does. I needed to read this; a nice bit of looking back on the Obama years, and some great advice for moving forward now. I especially liked the parts of discussion about the changing media and its effect on politics, distributing a candidate’s message, and influence on the elections. (Note: if you’re with the GOP, you may not rate it as highly as I.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Barry

    Just finished this book. As a supporter of President Obama and a huge fan of Pod Save America, I was very excited to read Mr. Pfeiffer’s book. I enjoyed the personal anecdotes woven into the background on what was going on behind the scenes during the Obama campaigns and presidential terms. If you are looking for an objective non-left leaning book, this is not it. Pfeiffer clearly makes this statement and lays out exactly what this book is and is not in the first pages. One who finishes this Just finished this book. As a supporter of President Obama and a huge fan of Pod Save America, I was very excited to read Mr. Pfeiffer’s book. I enjoyed the personal anecdotes woven into the background on what was going on behind the scenes during the Obama campaigns and presidential terms. If you are looking for an objective non-left leaning book, this is not it. Pfeiffer clearly makes this statement and lays out exactly what this book is and is not in the first pages. One who finishes this book and walks away angry that it was not a more objective view of the overall political system either did not read the first chapter or knows nothing about Dan Pfeiffer and his career. The author does not claim it to be anything other than what it is, a subjective presentation of his views on what was happening during his time at the White House and on the campaign trail and how the Democratic Party can move forward and change the current narrative and succeed in upcoming elections. The anecdotes are good. And Mr. Pfeiffer takes the time to humanize President Obama with stories of their interactions on professional and personal levels. Very enjoyable read! If you liked the book you can hear Dan Pfeiffer on his podcast with Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Ive said it before, but Goodreads really needs the ability to add a DNF rating. Former Obama White House Communications Director (and current host of Pod Save America) Dan PFeiffer's book Yes We (Still) Can is part memoir and part political road map for the future. While I quite enjoy Dan's brand of humor and his politics, I didnt feel the need to finish this one. Im ready to move on to a more substantial book. Still, it did make me very much miss having an intelligent, thoughtful, well read Ive said it before, but Goodreads really needs the ability to add a DNF rating. Former Obama White House Communications Director (and current host of Pod Save America) Dan PFeiffer's book Yes We (Still) Can is part memoir and part political road map for the future. While I quite enjoy Dan's brand of humor and his politics, I didnt feel the need to finish this one. Im ready to move on to a more substantial book. Still, it did make me very much miss having an intelligent, thoughtful, well read President.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This one is hard for me to review. I love Pfeiffer (Friend of the Pod) and was happy that this is not another Obama White House memoir but it was a bit too polemical for me. It’s a really nice deconstruction of WTF just happened and what can we do going forward.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    There’s been a glut of Obama WH memoirs hitting publishing lately and I’m here for them. A few weeks back, I blazed through Dan Pfeiffer’s “Yes We Still Can” enthralled with his recounting of his years as Obama’s communications director. If you’re a friend of Pod Save America, you already know Dan’s style—sarcastic and entertaining, scathing and super intelligent. Dan didn’t set out to write this book … until Trump won. So if you pick this up, you’ll read a LOT about his frustrations with the There’s been a glut of Obama WH memoirs hitting publishing lately and I’m here for them. A few weeks back, I blazed through Dan Pfeiffer’s “Yes We Still Can” enthralled with his recounting of his years as Obama’s communications director. If you’re a friend of Pod Save America, you already know Dan’s style—sarcastic and entertaining, scathing and super intelligent. Dan didn’t set out to write this book … until Trump won. So if you pick this up, you’ll read a LOT about his frustrations with the current state of politics. But you’ll also discover great gems about what it was like to work for a decent man and brilliant leader. Some gems are funny (when Dan tried Tweeting from the hospital on pain meds, or when he was there for Barack’s take on a Hollywood fund-raiser with Kayne), and others might leave you teary. I ended this feeling hopeful, too. Hopeful that, in the words of our former President, this current administration is “the clarifying event that will show the public the two different visions for the country.” I know which vision I still believe in.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Book

    Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer “Yes We (Still) Can” is a surprisingly good and insightful account on the Obama campaigns and in the White House and the current state of politics. Former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America, Dan Pfeifer tells his story and provides readers some interesting and candid observations. This perceptive 305-page book includes the following eleven chapters: 1. Started from the Bottom, 2. How Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer “Yes We (Still) Can” is a surprisingly good and insightful account on the Obama campaigns and in the White House and the current state of politics. Former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America, Dan Pfeifer tells his story and provides readers some interesting and candid observations. This perceptive 305-page book includes the following eleven chapters: 1. Started from the Bottom, 2. How Not to Lose a Campaign, 3. Telling the Country and Other Tales of Presidential Communications, 4. The New Media Wasteland, 5. Fighting Fake News, 6. Fox (and Friends) Is Destroying America, 7. The Republicans Go off the Deep End, 8. Tweeting While Rome Burns, 9. From 1600 Penn to Keepin’ it 1600, 10. The 2016 Campaign Cluster…, and 11. Thanks, Obama (Seriously). Positives: 1. A well-written book in the form a political conversation. A touch of humor. 2. An interesting topic, Pfeiffer’s account on the Obama campaigns and his time in the White House as communications director. Also, the current state of politics. 3. Pfeiffer provides insights into his character and lessons learned from early on his life. Consider this lesson from a debate he lost in seventh grade. “It didn’t matter that I was right on the facts; her message was much more compelling than my policy details. This is a lesson that I would need to relearn many times in my career.” 4. Pfeiffer recounts his first meeting with Obama and how he ended up in his campaign and administration. “At the end of the conversation, Obama looked me right in the eye and asked, ‘How often do you get to put your shoulder against the wheel of history and push?’” 5. Describes the main players of Obama’s inner circle as he goes around the table at a strategy meeting. “David Axelrod: Axe was Obama’s longest-serving political advisor and one of the best-known and well-respected political consultants in the party. Unlike most of his colleagues in the mercenary-like profession, Axe had never lost his soul in the pursuit of power or money. He was the rare true believer in politics, and his idealism would fuel our campaign. In addition to his strategic acumen, Axe was equally well known for being a bit of a mess. He once famously broke his BlackBerry by getting donut glaze in the trackball, and in the White House on the back of his office door hung dozens of neckties that had not survived his breakfast.” 6. Provides the five building blocks of a successful campaign. “Attitude, Scaling, Culture, Strategy, and Branding.” “The only way to seize your moment is to take care of the things you can control. We did so in 2008, and that was the difference.” 7. Describes his role as a communication director. “This is the nature of the beast—the White House wants to get its chosen message out on any given day, and the press wants to report on the things it believes its readers and viewers are most interested in.” “Few will admit this, but political strategists spend an undue amount of time trying to create moments that may go viral. I know I certainly did.” 8. Find out Obama’s self-proclaimed biggest failure. 9. Describes the Republican Party. “The Republican Party and the right-wing media had been running a decades-long effort to convince their voters that the media was their enemy and to create an alternative version of reality. Fox News, the Republican propaganda outlet, which marketed itself under the banner of being “Fair and Balanced,”9 was the embodiment of the effort to nullify news that ran counter to the political wishes of the Republican Party and conservative activists.” 10. A look into gaffes. “The media’s obsession with gaffes was a perpetual challenge and frustration that symbolized much of the dumbing down of political discourse.” 11. The fight against fake news. “In the months before the 2016 election, the following stories went viral: Pope Francis shocks the world, endorses Donald Trump for president. Wikileaks confirms that Hillary sent weapons to ISIS. FBI director received millions from the Clinton Foundation. ISIS leader calls for American Muslims to support Hillary Clinton.” All fake! 12. Obama’s philosophy and why he pursued the Affordable Care Act. “Obama’s response was pretty simple: ‘What’s the point of amassing political capital if you aren’t willing to use it to help people?’” 13. The Republican way. “Ultimately the Right’s strategy is to nullify the idea of objective truth. On issues such as climate change, health care, and tax policy, Republicans simply can’t win an argument on the facts. So instead of changing their policy, they try to change the facts.” 14. Find out what Obama thought of Kanye West. 15. Describes Fox News. “Fox News is one of the most insidious and dangerous forces in American politics, and much of what ails our civil discourse today can be traced back to Fox and its successors.” “Simply put, Fox News is not a news outlet. It is a Republican propaganda machine masquerading as a news outlet that exists to elect Republican politicians and promote their positions—whatever they are at the time.” 16. Trump. “During his first year in the White House, Trump falsely accused Barack Obama of wiretapping him with the assistance of Great Britain—causing a massive political and diplomatic crisis—because of something that a random pundit appearing on Fox News said.” “Trump is a symptom of the plague that has infected the Grand Old Party, but he is not the disease itself. Trump didn’t take over the party; he is the end result of a party that weaponized racial anxiety to motivate their base during the Obama era.” 17. The power of Twitter in the age of Trump. “Twitter doesn’t make Trump act like a fool; he is a fool who has Twitter on his phone.” 18. Leaving the White House and Pfeiffer’s new relationship. “The other argument for leaving was Howli. A lot of relationships blossomed among White House staffers because only another White House staffer understood the pressures and commitments of the job.” 19. Explaining the unexplainable. The five things I missed and why I think I missed them. “For all of Trump’s offensive statements and absurd tweets, he had a clear and consistent message that broke through. And the candidate with the more clear and consistent message always wins.” 20. Provides three stories that show why Obama was politically successful. 21. Links to notes. Negatives: 1. As is the case with most books of this ilk, the cure doesn’t match the description of the disease. 2. No supplemental material to complement the excellent narrative. Not even photos of his time at the White House. 3. No formal bibliography. 4. Comes off as pretentious at times. In summary, this book is a surprisingly good memoir. Having read similar-styled first-person accounts of the Obama campaign and presidency I was hesitant to read this one but I’m so glad I did. The more books I read from Obama insiders the clearer picture I get from his underrated presidency. That said, this is Pfeiffer’s experiences of the Obama campaigns and presidency and his keen observations of current events. I really enjoyed it, I recommend it! Further suggestions: “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?” by Alyssa Mastromonaco, “The World as It Is” by Ben Rhodes, “Thanks, Obama” by David Litt, “Facts and Fears” by James R. Clapper, “The Audacity to Win” by David Plouffe, “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama, “Believer” by David Axelrod, and “Power Forward” by Reggie Love.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Dan Pfeiffer is coming soon to a bookstore near me, promoting his new book, Un-Trumping America: A Plan to Make America a Democracy Again. Since I’m attending that event, I decided it was high time I read his first book. And I think I’ll be glad I read them closer together. Pfeiffer is a former Obama campaign and White House communications professional. In 2016, he also started podcasting with the Pod Save America crew. Right away, you know which side of the aisle he stands on. And that’s okay by Dan Pfeiffer is coming soon to a bookstore near me, promoting his new book, Un-Trumping America: A Plan to Make America a Democracy Again. Since I’m attending that event, I decided it was high time I read his first book. And I think I’ll be glad I read them closer together. Pfeiffer is a former Obama campaign and White House communications professional. In 2016, he also started podcasting with the Pod Save America crew. Right away, you know which side of the aisle he stands on. And that’s okay by me. I also listened to the audiobook, which he narrates like you’re chatting with him over a beer or a cup of coffee. I’m always intrigued by stories of people’s career path, and Pfeiffer shares plenty. Reading political memoirs has also taught me that anyone in politics has a unique trajectory. That alone is interesting enough to keep me reading (or listening). But in this case, Pfeiffer adds a mix of policy discussion and analysis. Despite being a few years old, I still found his points to be relevant. And, as I said, likely to connect to his 2020 book. Since I’m a former marketing and advertising professional, I’m all in when Pfeiffer discusses communication strategies. There are two reasons why I loved his stories about the White House team starting to use Twitter. First, I was an early Twitter adopter. It was my first social media, long before many of my friends. I treasure my memories of those days. And, second, because back then I doubt we expected it to become a vital force in politics and culture. And that’s both a good thing and a bad thing, right? My conclusions Is this a wonky policy book? No. Does it include a few dating stories about the author and his wife meeting in the White House? Yes. You get the picture. Pfeiffer strikes a pleasing balance between professional, political, and personal. He lets us in, without compromising his integrity or the content of his story. He’s whip smart and definitely funny. I, for one, need that right now. Reading a group of Obama-era White House memoirs over the course of the last three years has helped me manage my liberal political fears and frustrations. I need reminders of that time, not in the least because they show me what a Chief Executive can (and perhaps should) be. They provide balance for Trump-era books that are chock-full of anger and nefarious dealings. Give this memoir a read if you like politically relevant discussions, with a side helping of irony. Pair with Who Thought this Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein, and Thanks, Obama by David Litt. Or use it balance a book like Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff or Proof of Collusion by Seth Abramson. Originally posted on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    This was more like a memoir than I expected. I think in the intro he even said it wasn't a memoir, but I think it was. There are some practical ideas for coming elections, but it's more descriptive than prescriptive.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Verity W

    I'm reading my way through a lot of books about American politics at the moment and this is probably the one with the clearest perspective on what went wrong for the Democratic Party and sets out the clearest plan for what the author things they should do next. If you listen to Pod Save America, a lot of the ideas won't be new to you but they're set out here in a clear, logical manner along with Pfeiffer's own experiences in the White House and working for President Obama. Very readable as well I'm reading my way through a lot of books about American politics at the moment and this is probably the one with the clearest perspective on what went wrong for the Democratic Party and sets out the clearest plan for what the author things they should do next. If you listen to Pod Save America, a lot of the ideas won't be new to you but they're set out here in a clear, logical manner along with Pfeiffer's own experiences in the White House and working for President Obama. Very readable as well as interesting.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Humphris

    Just the book I needed. Part therapeutic reminiscing of the good old Obama days and part a focused approach for the way forward, Yes We (Still) Can will give you a brief escape from the current insanity but also provide hope that we actually might survive. Will probably need to read again before the midterms...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Soesja Schelling

    I love politics, particularly American politics. I study political science, I follow the news regarding all things Trump religiously, and almost all the podcasts I listen to are about politics (Pod Save America is, of course, one of them). However, there was always one thing that I just could not seem to get into and that is reading actual politics-themed books. I don't know why, maybe because they always feel too much like reading for my studies to enjoy them for casual reading. Nonetheless, I love politics, particularly American politics. I study political science, I follow the news regarding all things Trump religiously, and almost all the podcasts I listen to are about politics (Pod Save America is, of course, one of them). However, there was always one thing that I just could not seem to get into and that is reading actual politics-themed books. I don't know why, maybe because they always feel too much like reading for my studies to enjoy them for casual reading. Nonetheless, even though I have bought numerous books about politics in the last few years, I don't think I've ever read one of them cover to cover. Until this one. Because this was awesome. It had both great descriptions from Pfeiffer's time working for Obama and his amazing analyses about the current condition of the democratic party and America's political system. I'm not gonna say this was in any was unbiased, Pfeiffer's left leaning stance is clear, but I don't actually mind this - I feel like it's a great way to decide what arguments I find convincing and which appeal to me. Most of all, Pfeiffer's writing style made this a real page turner. It was so interesting and not in any way 'dry' as many books about politics tend to be. I truly enjoyed every page.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This was among the better ones of the post-Obama memoirs and believe me, I have read them all. There is a familiar story that runs through them-so much life-changing home, can't believe they win, then surprise at how cool Obama is and so chill, impressed by being in the WH day to day, then growing disappointment with politics, and shock at Trump. Maybe we all feel this way in one form or another--except for the access to Obama. The book is interesting and Dan is funny and approachable. It's This was among the better ones of the post-Obama memoirs and believe me, I have read them all. There is a familiar story that runs through them-so much life-changing home, can't believe they win, then surprise at how cool Obama is and so chill, impressed by being in the WH day to day, then growing disappointment with politics, and shock at Trump. Maybe we all feel this way in one form or another--except for the access to Obama. The book is interesting and Dan is funny and approachable. It's pitched as a book with solutions--and there are some--especially on dealing with twitter and media. These were the parts where the book stands apart from the rest--it offers some needed analysis and ideas for the future. Still, I'm just not sure the hope and change is going to come from the Obama administration anymore. Not because they weren't great, but because they were products of a time and we are beyond that now.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This was a really excellent deconstruction of how we went from Obama to Trump, focusing on messaging and communication both from the White House and the media. I felt like this book, more than any of the political memoirs I've read, really dove into what happened, what the larger societal forces were, and how things went down. It also has an unabashed liberal bias (Pfieffer was Obama's communications director & senior advisor, so he's going to be pro-Obama), but I felt like it was a really This was a really excellent deconstruction of how we went from Obama to Trump, focusing on messaging and communication both from the White House and the media. I felt like this book, more than any of the political memoirs I've read, really dove into what happened, what the larger societal forces were, and how things went down. It also has an unabashed liberal bias (Pfieffer was Obama's communications director & senior advisor, so he's going to be pro-Obama), but I felt like it was a really smart take on how & why the forces arose to bring about somebody like Trump in 2016. I listened to this as an audiobook, and there were a couple of snippets from Obama speeches, which were a delightful add. I really liked this one - binged it in two days.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    I almost didn't want to read this because I miss Obama so much. (Remember when we had a president that read full books? Many of them? And then shared his recommendations?) However, some days the only news I can handle consuming is brought to me by Crooked Media, so I figured I should give the book a shot. Listened to the audiobook, read by Dan, which made me think this was a 7-hour episode of the podcast. It's a pretty quick read, funny, and also with an eye toward the future. If you read this I almost didn't want to read this because I miss Obama so much. (Remember when we had a president that read full books? Many of them? And then shared his recommendations?) However, some days the only news I can handle consuming is brought to me by Crooked Media, so I figured I should give the book a shot. Listened to the audiobook, read by Dan, which made me think this was a 7-hour episode of the podcast. It's a pretty quick read, funny, and also with an eye toward the future. If you read this and aren't a friend of the pod, I would start listening to the podcasts, and vice versa.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Davis

    I enjoyed this, and would recommend it. It's yet another lens on the inner workings of the Obama White House. But my expectations were higher for Pfeiffer, whose contributions on PSA are especially illuminating. I think he might be someone who is better on his feet than with a pen. The title is confusing. I wanted more forward-looking prescriptions, and on that I think it fell a bit short. The book (and a lot of Democratic conversations) is strangely silent as to the overall health of the party, I enjoyed this, and would recommend it. It's yet another lens on the inner workings of the Obama White House. But my expectations were higher for Pfeiffer, whose contributions on PSA are especially illuminating. I think he might be someone who is better on his feet than with a pen. The title is confusing. I wanted more forward-looking prescriptions, and on that I think it fell a bit short. The book (and a lot of Democratic conversations) is strangely silent as to the overall health of the party, the emerging leadership, and the grass roots organizations that would eventually deliver the midterm wins. I also find it puzzling that Pfeiffer considers the Obama administration "progressive," when it was staffed much more at the center, appointed Republican cabinet members, delivered a private sector healthcare solution, and took a fairly middle road on the financial crisis and immigration policy. I think this is the sort of revisionism that doesn't help clarify how the Dems will win in 2020. Another tricky thing is that his expertise is clearly presidential politics, but he is silent as to even the "lanes" that might emerge there. Perhaps publishers felt there was a limited window for Obama era memoirs, but I feel like Pfeiffer's contribution would have been stronger if he had waited another nine months and assessed the new realities more fully. In any event, it was a quick and enjoyable read which made me smarter.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

    This book was a great look into Dan Pfeiffer's time in the Obama campaign and administration, as well as the current media landscape in the US. I love Dan's voice on Pod Save America and I loved his voice in this book. I don't think it's really a 'how to move forward'-guide, apart from the last chapter, and it's not a tell-all memoir of the Obama administration, but it's a really good look behind the scenes and an excellent attempt at an explanation of how we got to where we are now. This was a This book was a great look into Dan Pfeiffer's time in the Obama campaign and administration, as well as the current media landscape in the US. I love Dan's voice on Pod Save America and I loved his voice in this book. I don't think it's really a 'how to move forward'-guide, apart from the last chapter, and it's not a tell-all memoir of the Obama administration, but it's a really good look behind the scenes and an excellent attempt at an explanation of how we got to where we are now. This was a solid 4-to-4.5 read throughout. I'm adding the fifth star for the footnotes, which were amazing, and for the From 1600 Penn to Keepin' It 1600 chapter, which was my absolute favorite part of the book. Also, his wife Howli sounds amazing and I love how much Dan loves her. As a whole, I thought the second half of the book was stronger than the first (not that the first half was bad, not at all, but the second half cemented the 5-star rating).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian Jacobson

    It’s refreshing to see a book that’s like 50% memoir and 50% lessons the Democrats can use to comeback as a stronger party. Great read. It’s also inspiring and to see a guy write so personally about a boss he admires. Especially when the current President’s staff thinks the West Wing is “crazy town” and believe the President only understands the world at a 5th or 6th grade level.

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