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The Audacity Of Hope Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream By Barack Obama

2741 words - 11 pages

Book Review: The Audacity of Hope-Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
Prashant Malyala

This book authored by Barack Obama directly grows out the author’s campaign trail relating back into the larger context of politics, civic life, and fundamental decency of the American people. The text reflects the author’s beliefs such as the free market, competition and entrepreneurship. It also reflects his phenomenal leadership traits such as humility, vision, intellectual power and many more. An analysis of the leadership style of the author is made with respect to the Kouzes and Posner model towards the end of the report along with what I personally take back from this book and apply it in the ...view middle of the document...

Barack and Michelle Obama toured through Illinois in 1997 visiting different counties to meet different people and gain an insight into the values and beliefs of common hardworking people across the state. The author mentions that through is experiences in meeting diverse people like immigrants from Africa, India, Latino workers migrating across in search for better paying jobs and so on the various racial, religious, regional and economic differences appeared trivial. He mentions that across America, there is a constant cross-pollination and a peaceful collision among people and cultures which plays a strong part in determining ‘American’ values. The Republican strongholds are 40 percent Democratic, and vice versa. The political labels of liberal and conservative rarely track people’s personal attributes. Values are deeply rooted to a personal individual which are universal. Obama says that examining the values across the country he is constantly reminded by his grandfather’s openness, grandmother’s matter-of-factness and the golden rule of approach to any situation “How do you think that would make you feel?” which his mother imbibed in him. Although values are subject to challenge and can be turned inside out by cultural critics, they have proven to be surprisingly durable and constant across classes, races and faiths.
From a leadership perspective it is extremely important to balance the interests of the people represented while maintaining the necessary order and regulations of the society. The author talks about an event where the Democrats were involved in a decision involving a nuclear option. With the successful passing of the deal, Obama meets with Senator Byrd who was a person lobbying for this initiative for a long time. He gives the author a piece of advice saying that, in power one must learn not just the rules, but the precedents of those rules and be aware before implementation in the society.

The author moves on to talk about politics, by examining some of the institutional forces which have shaped American politics. The institutional forces are namely, campaign events, interest groups and to a large part- the media. These forces can play a strong role in determining results in political races and Obama says that in the political arena, there may be second acts, but there is no second place. On losing to Bobby Rush for a congressional seat by more than 30 percent, Obama in retrospect says that unlike others, the defeat of a politician is on public display owing to these strong institutional forces. According to Obama, “without money, and the television ads that consume all that money, you are pretty much guaranteed to lose.” On the subject of money for campaign trails and donor bases Obama mentions that special interests are the next biggest ‘corrupter’ in politics after institutional forces. These have outsized influence, and he claims that organized people with intellectual connection can be just as important as cash, and...

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