At some point early in the book, Obama mentions that one of his “weaknesses”, when he was campaigning and starting out in politics, was that he tended to go into way too much information when talking about a policy or topic. That was mostly due to him being a person obsessed with information and knowledge himself but could lead to a lot of “get to the point” moments. That quirk was pretty apparent in the way this book is written. I enjoyed the detail and depth of knowledge for the most part, but there were certainly points where it made things feel disjointed or that it could have been more concise.
It’s still hard to believe that at over 700 pages, this book still barely makes it past the first two years of his presidency. A lot of the added detail and content in the book is because of the added benefit of Obama sharing his thought process and emotions at the time along with the first-hand account of major events and plans. I don’t think it was intentional, but there were even times where his thoughts on an even during his presidency felt especially meaningful with the current and recent political landscape.
When starting this book, I was sort of expecting it to be written in a similar style as Michelle’s Becoming, but other than the very early portion of the book, it tends to be more about his detailed account of his political career and less about his life overall. I have not read his other books yet, but I imagine they already cover some of the stuff that I was originally expecting to find in this book.
Despite being very long and detailed, there is still enough personal voice and lighthearted comments throughout the book that make it enjoyable to read and feel like a true window into the mind of Barack Obama.
As someone who was a little too young, and certainly didn’t pay as much attention to politics, during the Obama presidency, especially the early part, this book was a good “refresher” on major events that I either didn’t remember or just remember them happening and didn’t understand the significance at the time. Whether you’re in the same boat or remember these events more clearly, I think the added information coming directly from probably the most pivotal source makes for a good read.
Other than being really long, this book was an enjoyable read. I wish some of the order was a little more sequential, but I understand why some topics were shifted around or mentioned in multiple areas in order to truly tie his thoughts together.