This is an exceptional biography by a man who is an inspiring leader; regardless of your political background as Democrat or Republican, American or from a different country. He stands out among all politicians at someone who is thoughtful, reflective, takes a global perspective and also cares. I listened to the audio version and found it totally absorbing.
Some of my key take aways are as follows:
- Only the strong can be vulnerable and he was prepared to be vulnerable in the talk about his background, his uncertainties and doubts and the times he found things tough.
- Fighting and standing up for causes he believes in. He is very driven by righting wrongs, correcting injustice and fighting for causes.
- Accepting the point above, he is also a pragmatist and especially being so strongly blocked by the Republican opposition who opposed everything he tried to put forward, he sought compromise where ever possible to get through some of his policies.
- An incisive view of human behaviour and a razor sharp ability to comment on other political leaders around the world. Sometimes not massively complimentary, but normally correct.
- The way he stands head and shoulders above so many other politicians as an inspiring leader with dignity and gravitas who dignifies the position of President of the United States of America and gains respect for the way he shows up.
- The human side to him -clearly he is deeply in love with Michelle and Sasha and Malia. He thinks about them often and while he knows he gets distracted with being a workaholic, their lives and his lives are intertwined throughout this biography in a very human way.
- Inspiring leadership = humanity + humility + humour. That is Barack Obama.
- Quite a stoical philosophy towards the setbacks, disappointments and challenges that life throws at any of us. The breadth and depth of the challenges as president of the United States of America during his first term were significant from the deep recession he inherited from George Bush in 2008 onwards to wars..
- Living with paradox. While at heart he is a man who seeks peace and indeed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he also realised the times when he needed to use war as an extension of politics and had the courage to do so.
- A very engaging style and lovely how he can poke fun at himself and yet be very engaging. I can’t wait for his second half biography.