Friday, December 08, 2017

Holiday Shopping II: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, by Alyssa Mastromonaco

I read this early last summer.  Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, and Other Questions You Should Have the Answers to When You Work in the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco (Hachette, 2017) is a good read.  It is definitely not the first campaign / White House staff memoir but it is one of the few by a young woman.  Mastromonaco served as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Obama White House and was the youngest woman to have held that position.

Young men write campaign / public service books and I have read more than a few.  They discusses personal foibles, the craziness of political life, and what they learned along the way.  But such books by young women are rare.  Mastromonaco talks about her personal foibles, the craziness of political life, and what she learned along the way; so basically the same stuff the young men write about.  Hearing it from her perspective is refreshing.  She writes about changing majors in college after her first campaign experience, working on campaigns that lost and those that won, and finding herself in the White House.  Along the way she includes stories about trying to find a bathroom while on a business outing, worrying about how her pants fit, finding time for a boyfriend, and other common to many business women. 

I really enjoyed reading this and thought a lot about buying copies for a couple of young women graduating from high school this past June.  The only thing that stopped me was the references to social drinking.  The venue through which I knew the young graduates and their parents would have made it inappropriate; now that the girls are college students I may re-think that and give them the book for Christmas.

It is definitely a great gift for young adults interested in politics or just life narratives for early professional experiences.  Mastromonaco is very forthright about her experiences, decisions (both those she regrets and those she thinks were good ideas).  It is also an interesting look at life in the White House. 

I plan on re-reading the book over the holidays myself.

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