Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Review

If you are interested in how your national government works, and in the effect individuals can have on history, here is a book you must read.

I just finished reading The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, by Chris Whipple, and it's excellent.

This book looks behind the scenes of the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama through the lens of the men (no women, yet) who have been their chiefs of staff. Mr Whipple carefully analyzes why the president needs a strong chief of staff, and what makes a person a good fit for that job.

Chiefs of staff bring focus and organization to a White House that is bombarded by crises and conflicting agendas 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. They keep the president's staff on target and on message, keep the paper flowing, and - most important - protect the president - from his enemies, his friends, and often from himself.

The men who have been in the job all agree that the most important part of the title is staff, not chief. The chiefs of staff who were least successful were those who emphasized their own importance, while those who were acknowledged the best (James Baker for Ronald Reagan and Leon Panetta for Bill Clinton, for instance) were those who worked tirelessly and quietly in the background to protect the president and manage his staff for maximum efficiency and output.

This is a book full of interesting anecdotes and analysis of what went on in the background of historical events. If you are interested in how your government functions at the highest levels (and you should be), this is a book you need to read. If you do, let me know what you thought.

And consider how badly Mr Trump needs a good chief of staff, and whether Reince Priebus is the right one.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Grand Crapaud said...

This book is definitely one I'll look into. Thank you!

Chuck Bear said...

This should be read by White House Chiefs of Staff and others.

Mike said...

Maybe trump will read the book. Or not.

Anemone said...

I hope Trump reads it.

allenwoodhaven said...

I heard an interview with the author. A great topic, and very timely for this particular time...