Ben Rhodes is a former White House staff member who – at the age of 30 – served as the Deputy National Security Advisor and speechwriter for Barack Obama.
I consumed the 500+ page book in under 7 days, and here are three reasons why I recommend it:
1) Ben joined the Obama presidential campaign in 2007 at the age of 30. He very soon worked himself up to becoming his speechwriter and National Security Advisor – basically spending all of his 30s with Obama in the White House. His very young age allowed him to bring a fresh perspective to the table – one that often challenged status-quo thinking. He earned Obama's trust over the years and was eventually appointed to being the key negotiator of the successful Cuba thaw in 2014.
2) The Obama presidency of 2008-2016, and the political decisions that were made during that time, has truly shaped the world as we know it today. Ben's memoir is a very candid recap of the inner workings of the Obama White House, one that helps understand the "whys" behind the "whats" that we witnessed from the outside. From the successful take down of Bin Laden to the inaction towards Syria. The book helps put all these events into context of the values that the White House applied to its decision-making.
3) Last but not least, reading the memoir in the context of today's administration, only makes you appreciate more the integrity, candor, and thoughtfulness that Obama brought to the job as president. The book evokes nostalgia, reminiscence, and a sense of gratitude towards the White House as we knew it.
There were two lines/quotes in this book that really helped me zoom out and see things in perspective. One was a quote by MLK which was "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," the other was a statement by Obama in which he highlighted that progress is not a linear line, but it zigs and zags.