Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House

Book - 2017
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Now a New York Times bestseller!
If your funny older sister were the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama, her behind-the-scenes political memoir would look something like this...

Alyssa Mastromonaco worked for Barack Obama for almost a decade, and long before his run for president. From the then-senator's early days in Congress to his years in the Oval Office, she made Hope and Change happen through blood, sweat, tears, and lots of briefing binders.

But for every historic occasion-meeting the queen at Buckingham Palace, bursting in on secret climate talks, or nailing a campaign speech in a hailstorm-there were dozens of less-than-perfect moments when it was up to Alyssa to save the day. Like the time she learned the hard way that there aren't nearly enough bathrooms at the Vatican.

Full of hilarious, never-before-told stories, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? is an intimate portrait of a president, a book about how to get stuff done, and the story of how one woman challenged, again and again, what a "White House official" is supposed to look like. Here Alyssa shares the strategies that made her successful in politics and beyond, including the importance of confidence, the value of not being a jerk, and why ultimately everything comes down to hard work (and always carrying a spare tampon).

Told in a smart, original voice and topped off with a couple of really good cat stories, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? is a promising debut from a savvy political star.

Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455588220
Branch Call Number: 352.3 MAS 2017
Characteristics: viii, 248

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StarGladiator
Apr 06, 2019

Imagine how funny this book must be to the living relatives of the victims in Honduras, Ukraine and elsewhere. Especially in Syria, when the Pentagon, at the direction of the Obama Administration, disbursed $500 million to train so-called rebels, and ended up with zero rebels but an incredible amount of weapons landing in the hands of the ISIS cult psychos, who used them to torture, rape, kill, behead, et cetera, et cetera?
Humorous to some, no doubt . . .

m
MplsTA
Jun 03, 2018

Such a good read I finished it in two nights. I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes life of a travel scheduler for Sen. Obama and then when she joined his staff in the WH. I especially liked her descriptions of the trips they took world wide and even the details such as what she packed- and there is an official packing "list" if you are traveling with the president.

k
KBCleaver
Feb 07, 2018

I stopped reading on page 43. I've got better books to read. I was unimpressed by the author's inability to handle her own personal problems like menstruation and digestion.

p
pmaison
Dec 29, 2017

2.5 - 3 stars
Given the list of Alyssa Mastromonaco's weighty White House responsibilities during the Obama admin., the storyline she recounts here devolves into one-too-many 'dear diary' anecdotes. I cut her slack because maybe she's embargoed from revealing details of what it took to execute policy & personnel decisions as a significant WH staffer. Or maybe the truth is she kept it "light" because she didn't want to burn bridges/ruffle feathers. Whatever..but for me there was too much discordance between the heft of her apparent WH responsibilities and the lightweight story she tells of those times.

d
dani_lacey
Oct 23, 2017

A quick read that provided some fun anecdotes, but was at times underwhelming. Alyssa Mastromonaco ran the White House during the Obama years and it's clear that she has a deep passion for what she does. But, while I'd hoped to learn more about the nuts and bolts of what it was like to work in such a busy, high-stakes, high-pressure environment, I instead got a more intimate story, focusing on her own failings and successes.

It's not terrible, but when I'm hoping to read about what it's like working for POTUS during events such as the economic recovery, Hurricane Sandy and the fight to pass ObamaCare, I don't really want to read stories about getting a tampon machine installed in the bathroom, getting diarrhea while meeting the Pope or taking a cat to the hospital.

Also, unlike other memoirs, this book was organized more by themes rather than chronologically. I haven't decided how I feel about that. One the one hand, it did actually do a much better job at keeping me interested in story. It never felt like we were just reading her resume. It was confusing at times, however.

No matter how I felt about the book, it was nice to go back to a time when we had a president who was intelligent, eloquent and compassionate. It was nice to go back to a time when we had a president. Sigh.

ArapahoeBridget Oct 12, 2017

A breezy, interesting story that reads a bit like Mindy Kaling's memoirs mashed up with The West Wing.

l
lulusbook
Aug 30, 2017

Garbage. Totally unworthy of reading.
The writer tricked readers by her former job title, yet pity she has nothing to say in her writing.
Skip it!

PimaLib_NormS Aug 29, 2017

“Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?” by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler, is an amusing read about the author’s life, especially the years she spent as a staffer for John Kerry and Barack Obama. In my opinion, this book does not fall into the category of a “kiss and tell” memoir that so many people write after leaving such a high profile job. Rather, it is more like a collection of the author’s personal feelings and thoughts and experiences as a young woman in a series of stressful, high-impact positions, including working for the President of the United States. She is not shy about telling anecdotes that are personal, or that put her in a less than flattering light. And, I must say, the book seems geared toward female millennials. But, that’s okay. (I just turned and read those parts with my feminine, millennial side.) Mastromonaco writes of her triumphs and failures in an honest, open manner, as if she is speaking with an old friend. She never comes across like, “Hey look at me! I worked for the President!” All-in-all, this was an engaging look at life behind the political scenes, written by someone who worked behind those scenes.

b
bobgrant
Aug 28, 2017

Very interesting and also horrifying at the same time. The author is pretty arrogant but also has no trouble telling stories on herself. But to read this, in this day and age, and discover the breath-taking squandering of money and resources (3 million dollars to paint an airplane????) of which the author seems to have no awareness! It is pretty eye-opening and uncomfortable. If you didn't think we needed more rein on elections and politicians before, you will after reading this.

k
KatG1983
Jul 26, 2017

I really wanted to love this book, and maybe my hopes were set too high - I have to admit that I found it to be fairly sophomoric and lacking depth. While there are some nice moments, the entire books comes off as anecdotal; and I personally did not find the author's life story to be so interesting that it required its own book.

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