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David Plouffe not only led the effort that put Barack Obama in the White House, but he also changed the face of politics forever and reenergized the idea of democracy itself. The Audacity to Win is his story of that groundbreaking achievement, taking readers inside the remarkable campaign that led to the election of the first African American president. For two years Plouff David Plouffe not only led the effort that put Barack Obama in the White House, but he also changed the face of politics forever and reenergized the idea of democracy itself. The Audacity to Win is his story of that groundbreaking achievement, taking readers inside the remarkable campaign that led to the election of the first African American president. For two years Plouffe worked side by side with Obama, charting the course of the campaign. His is the ultimate insider’s tale, revealing both the strategies that delivered Obama to office and how the candidate and campaign handled moments of great challenge and opportunity. Moving from the deliberations about whether to run at all, through the epic primary battle with Hillary Clinton and the general election against John McCain, Plouffe showcases the high-wire gamesmanship that fascinated pundits and the drama and intrigue that captivated a nation. The Audacity to Win chronicles the arrival of a new moment in American life at the convergence of digital technology and grassroots organization, and the exciting possibilities revealed by a campaign that in many ways functioned as a $1 billion start-up with laser-like focus and discipline. In this extraordinary book, David Plouffe unfolds one of the most important political stories of our time, one whose lessons are not limited to politics, but reach to the greatest heights of what we dream about for our country and ourselves.


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David Plouffe not only led the effort that put Barack Obama in the White House, but he also changed the face of politics forever and reenergized the idea of democracy itself. The Audacity to Win is his story of that groundbreaking achievement, taking readers inside the remarkable campaign that led to the election of the first African American president. For two years Plouff David Plouffe not only led the effort that put Barack Obama in the White House, but he also changed the face of politics forever and reenergized the idea of democracy itself. The Audacity to Win is his story of that groundbreaking achievement, taking readers inside the remarkable campaign that led to the election of the first African American president. For two years Plouffe worked side by side with Obama, charting the course of the campaign. His is the ultimate insider’s tale, revealing both the strategies that delivered Obama to office and how the candidate and campaign handled moments of great challenge and opportunity. Moving from the deliberations about whether to run at all, through the epic primary battle with Hillary Clinton and the general election against John McCain, Plouffe showcases the high-wire gamesmanship that fascinated pundits and the drama and intrigue that captivated a nation. The Audacity to Win chronicles the arrival of a new moment in American life at the convergence of digital technology and grassroots organization, and the exciting possibilities revealed by a campaign that in many ways functioned as a $1 billion start-up with laser-like focus and discipline. In this extraordinary book, David Plouffe unfolds one of the most important political stories of our time, one whose lessons are not limited to politics, but reach to the greatest heights of what we dream about for our country and ourselves.

30 review for The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory

  1. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    In The Audacity to Win, David Plouffe says of the boss he got to know so well during two years of campaigning together, "He is a chess player in a town full of checkers players." An idealist, a courageous man with a brilliant and innovative mind, Barack Obama tends to surround himself with people of like attitudes and aptitudes. That Plouffe himself is such a man is evident in this book, which is analytical but clear, high-minded but very human. Himself a chess player, Plouffe provides a fascinat In The Audacity to Win, David Plouffe says of the boss he got to know so well during two years of campaigning together, "He is a chess player in a town full of checkers players." An idealist, a courageous man with a brilliant and innovative mind, Barack Obama tends to surround himself with people of like attitudes and aptitudes. That Plouffe himself is such a man is evident in this book, which is analytical but clear, high-minded but very human. Himself a chess player, Plouffe provides a fascinating insider's look at how the the two historic matches against Hillary Clinton and John McCain played out the way they did. Those who followed the campaign closely may find Plouffe's book both enlightening and nostalgic. For those still unfamiliar with the principles and goals of our current president, the book should provide a reassuring look into the heart of the man and the kind of organizations he builds. For anyone sick and tired of the constant media chatter about Palin, Beck, and the hysteria surrounding the Tea Party movement, the book offers a calm, intelligent respite. "The president believes deeply that the American people want to have an honest and complex dialogue about the direction of the country," says Plouffe. I hope the president is right. If so, this book is a valuable contribution to the national discourse.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Erm.... there are people who are really outstanding at running a groundbreaking, thrilling, smart, and decent campaign that ends up bringing to power a history-making, thoughtful, effective, and supercute candidate (and for these people I for one am so so thankful). However, the skill set needed to run a campaign, a task which sounds almost legendarily complicated and boring, is not the skill set needed to talk about it in an interesting manner. Plouffe's writing is exceptionally dull (as many l Erm.... there are people who are really outstanding at running a groundbreaking, thrilling, smart, and decent campaign that ends up bringing to power a history-making, thoughtful, effective, and supercute candidate (and for these people I for one am so so thankful). However, the skill set needed to run a campaign, a task which sounds almost legendarily complicated and boring, is not the skill set needed to talk about it in an interesting manner. Plouffe's writing is exceptionally dull (as many loyal Dems may remember from his bazillion emails), even when he's giving us dirt, which is rarely. If he'd recruited one of Obama's speechwriters (or better yet Obama, in his copious spare time) to do the actual writing, this might actually have been an interesting account of how a new kind of campaign was built from scratch and on the fly. However, the liveliest moments of the first 50-odd pages came from Plouffe's habit of using the shorthand "MyBO" for my.barackobama.com, the campaign's social networking site, leading to some AMAZING sentences, a la "My BO affected countless numbers of potential volunteers."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A good book to read if you are starting a company and trying to create a culture. Started with nothing and built an organization that broke all records in participation and fund raising. But they couldn't have done it without the candidate. For a guy who lived and breathed metrics there is only one chart or matrix in the whole book!! However, there are nice color pics of the "campaign family." A little long and could have used some editing. It was ok until it got past the win over Hilary and the A good book to read if you are starting a company and trying to create a culture. Started with nothing and built an organization that broke all records in participation and fund raising. But they couldn't have done it without the candidate. For a guy who lived and breathed metrics there is only one chart or matrix in the whole book!! However, there are nice color pics of the "campaign family." A little long and could have used some editing. It was ok until it got past the win over Hilary and then it became quite enthralling when he discussed Palin, the debates, and the economic crisis. I was always curious why Plouffe didn't have a job with the administration. It turns out he was basically "at war" for over two years with no family life-his dog died, his wife had a baby, and he was always on the road or not sleeping. A behind the scenes guy who made it happen, Plouffe, is to be admired for his dedication, discipline, and judgment. He, Ax, and Obama seemed to mesh quite well as a team. They seemed to know when to follow the plan and when to depart from it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brigitte

    If Josh Lyman was a real person who wrote a book without the help of Aaron Sorkin, this is what he would write. A little dull, but strangely fascinating, I have a whole new perspective on the political process now: it is the ultimate chess game. With enough money, man power, and information, you can swing things in your direction. Sure it doesn't hurt to have a once in a generation candidate who sweeps the whole world off its feet, but Plouffe's strategy is really about the smallest of moves. He If Josh Lyman was a real person who wrote a book without the help of Aaron Sorkin, this is what he would write. A little dull, but strangely fascinating, I have a whole new perspective on the political process now: it is the ultimate chess game. With enough money, man power, and information, you can swing things in your direction. Sure it doesn't hurt to have a once in a generation candidate who sweeps the whole world off its feet, but Plouffe's strategy is really about the smallest of moves. He argues, and probably rightfully so, that if Hillary Clinton had made some of those moves in the primaries she would have won. That's all it would have taken. Just a few hundred people knocking on doors and history is different. There's something both comforting and terrifying about that idea, and it probably says a lot more about us than who we ultimately elect.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I don't care what side of the aisle you're sitting on, this is a must-read. Admittedly, if you're anti-Obama, parts might be a little nauseating (Plouffe is, as one might suspect given his position, "in the tank" for Obama), but Plouffe opens up the inner workings of a presidential campaign in a way that few others have done, and the result is fascinating. Even if you're not a politico, "The Audacity to Win" provides fantastic insight into organizational systems and leadership strategies, and ma I don't care what side of the aisle you're sitting on, this is a must-read. Admittedly, if you're anti-Obama, parts might be a little nauseating (Plouffe is, as one might suspect given his position, "in the tank" for Obama), but Plouffe opens up the inner workings of a presidential campaign in a way that few others have done, and the result is fascinating. Even if you're not a politico, "The Audacity to Win" provides fantastic insight into organizational systems and leadership strategies, and many a boss, executive, or anyone else in a leadership position would benefit many times over again from reading this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rick Wilson

    What actually goes on inside a presidential campaign? Why is Iowa so important? Where does money actually go on a presidential campaign? How many pitbulls has Sarah Palin accosted with lipstick? Should I ask my doctor if superdelegates are right for me? Why do all these godforsaken email goblins keep asking me for money? I donated $3 one time! Now it’s like a Sarah McLaughlin with mafia ties is in my inbox every 3-6 hours. “Give us the money Rick, we know you have it. Give us 3 more dollars or w What actually goes on inside a presidential campaign? Why is Iowa so important? Where does money actually go on a presidential campaign? How many pitbulls has Sarah Palin accosted with lipstick? Should I ask my doctor if superdelegates are right for me? Why do all these godforsaken email goblins keep asking me for money? I donated $3 one time! Now it’s like a Sarah McLaughlin with mafia ties is in my inbox every 3-6 hours. “Give us the money Rick, we know you have it. Give us 3 more dollars or we kill the intern.” Getting off these email lists is harder than getting rid of a splinter buried in your ass. And both give me about as much enjoyment. When god saw he had created mass email marketing, he wept, for he now know mild annoyance had a name. Anywhooo, This book will answer some of those questions. What it doesn't answer is probably best left unanswered. Inside is a play by play of each stop along the 2008 Obama Campaign. David Plouffe, or as I’ve been referring to him in my head, Floofy, leads us from cradle to grave along the Obama campaign trail. From their Iowa caucus strategy to finagling for superdelegates, this book is a great primer in how the sausage is made in modern elections. If you don’t want to know how each state polled and then subsequently voted, the important speeches and press events in the campaign, each political punch and counterpunch, and all sorts of other minutiae. I probably wouldn’t recommend reading this book. It’s a bit dry and at times feels like a journal that was expanded into a book. “Dear Diary, That mean ol John McCain ran another set of attack ads. I can’t believe it. Barack said I should just let it go, but I realllly wanted to throw my yogurt cup at him during the debate. He is totes uninvited from my birthday party. XOXO FLOOFY” There was also disappointingly no speculation about what I’m assuming is a beauty of a tramp stamp that Sarah Palin has. All signs point to yes. I’m guessing kind of a barbed wire/tribal deal mixed into angel wings. But I’d also be willing to go with either a moose wearing a leather jacket or her high school boyfriends name. Don’t worry about what his name actually is, no one‘s ever vetted her enough to find out. However, if you want to hear about the Floofster (alternatively, Floofernutter, Floofenstein, Floofasaurus, and Flooferdoodle) getting mean mugged at a hotel in Florida by Clinton campaigners trying to weasel their way into some extra delegates, or every little detail about electoral strategy in 2008. Then oh boy this is the book for you. Tips such as “your two most important things in politics are your message and electoral strategy,” “have multiple paths to victory,” and “you’re gonna have a lot of 2 AM phone calls, so if you have a significant other, make sure you rent an apartment with two bedrooms so that you don’t have to take all your midnight calls in the bathroom." Lots of good strategerie here. For, you know, when I get that call up to run a presidential campaign in 20-Never. I’m pretty sure this review alone probably disqualifies me from ever setting foot near either of the parties National Convention. All in all I thought it was a riveting book written by someone who’s actually been there and done that. I think if it wasn’t an election year I probably wouldn’t have found this book as interesting, but it is and I did.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cwelshhans

    I generally stay away from books about current politics because they get me agitated. This one, however, is focused pretty heavily on the hows and whys of the campaign and not so much on the ideology. I found the degree of organization required to be staggering, and the nuts and bolts of use of the internet, advertising, debate prep, location scouting, etc. to be really interesting. I'll definitely look at and judge future campaigns with a higher degree of insight. It was straight forward, well I generally stay away from books about current politics because they get me agitated. This one, however, is focused pretty heavily on the hows and whys of the campaign and not so much on the ideology. I found the degree of organization required to be staggering, and the nuts and bolts of use of the internet, advertising, debate prep, location scouting, etc. to be really interesting. I'll definitely look at and judge future campaigns with a higher degree of insight. It was straight forward, well written, and worth reading, unless you don't like Obama, in which case it's probably not worth spiking your blood pressure over it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rick Nonsense

    Thorough, well paced and with good detail. I was concerned at the outset that Plouffe might be stanning Obama too hard and, yes, he is as expected fairly in the tank for Obama and the democratic party. However his obvious rigour and qualities as a campaign manager come through. He (and therefore the campaign) repeatedly show the rare trait of being able to filter out noise and focus on that which is actually important while cultivating discipline and focus internally in the organisation. The con Thorough, well paced and with good detail. I was concerned at the outset that Plouffe might be stanning Obama too hard and, yes, he is as expected fairly in the tank for Obama and the democratic party. However his obvious rigour and qualities as a campaign manager come through. He (and therefore the campaign) repeatedly show the rare trait of being able to filter out noise and focus on that which is actually important while cultivating discipline and focus internally in the organisation. The contrast grows more strong as the focus shifts from the primary to the general election. Overall worth reading for anyone interested in politics/strategy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Weinberg

    This book opens up my eyes to every nuance of a presidential campaign and all that comes with it. David Plouffe told the story in a way that was reminiscent of a thriller, the book was realistic but also hopeful towards the future. The book was for sure a page-turner that I did not want to put down!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Interesting insider account of the 2008 Obama campaign from its beginning through the election. If you enjoyed following the 2008 presidential election, then you'll enjoy this book; if not, you probably won't (unless your lack of enjoyment was primarily due to the crappy news media). Plouffe tells a great story from a perspective he's uniquely qualified to present. As such, it is full of fairly intimate details and anecdotes about Obama and other figures within the campaign, which help to make th Interesting insider account of the 2008 Obama campaign from its beginning through the election. If you enjoyed following the 2008 presidential election, then you'll enjoy this book; if not, you probably won't (unless your lack of enjoyment was primarily due to the crappy news media). Plouffe tells a great story from a perspective he's uniquely qualified to present. As such, it is full of fairly intimate details and anecdotes about Obama and other figures within the campaign, which help to make the story come alive, and give a sense of what our president is like on a personal level. This might go without saying, but it's a very biased, Obama-centric view of the election (it's the winners who get to write the history books)--if you're looking for insight on the Clinton campaign, or the McCain campaign, choose another book because Plouffe and the Obama people weren't privy to that information (or, to put it more bluntly, half the time they didn't know what the heck their opponents were up to). The writing style I would characterize as "good enough." It's clearly not Plouffe's forte, but it gets the job done for his purposes, and doesn't drag the story down. As a portrayal of an innovative and successful venture, this book can also be read as almost a how-to guide, sort of an "Art of War" for the contemporary campaign manager. It may also be relevant to businesspeople, especially those involved in marketing and PR. On the other hand, things are changing so quickly in politics and technology that any lessons gleaned from the last campaign may be obsolete by next year. In time, it may become valuable from a historical perspective (this is what good campaigns were like in the early 21st century).

  11. 4 out of 5

    E

    The definitive diary on the Obama campaign President Barack Obama’s historic political campaign deserves to be studied for its innovative organization, volunteer effort, fundraising and use of technology. But it is also a compelling story about an unlikely candidate and the highly motivated expert team that pulled off one of the greatest game-changing upsets in U.S. political history. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe (rhymes with “bluff”) has written a diary-like firsthand account that deliv The definitive diary on the Obama campaign President Barack Obama’s historic political campaign deserves to be studied for its innovative organization, volunteer effort, fundraising and use of technology. But it is also a compelling story about an unlikely candidate and the highly motivated expert team that pulled off one of the greatest game-changing upsets in U.S. political history. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe (rhymes with “bluff”) has written a diary-like firsthand account that delivers insights and perspectives previously known only to insiders. While he tells his story chronologically, the suspense builds as internal and external opponents battle and fall by the wayside. getAbstract recommends this engrossing David-and-Goliath story to leaders, political aficionados, technology and media buffs, and anyone interested in overcoming huge odds to become a winner. To learn more about this book, go to the following Web page: http://www.getabstract.com/summary/12...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Williams

    A terrific outline of the campaign-- but a little on the long and self serving side for Plouffe -- and although it gave some brief behind the scenes looks --it was shy on this element and I think a disappointment to most readers because of it-- where is the insight into the Obama family -- the discussions between staff on hard decisions -- the technical discussion on the e-mail phenomenally successful application and history making political tool --etc-- this fell short--of fulfilling what most A terrific outline of the campaign-- but a little on the long and self serving side for Plouffe -- and although it gave some brief behind the scenes looks --it was shy on this element and I think a disappointment to most readers because of it-- where is the insight into the Obama family -- the discussions between staff on hard decisions -- the technical discussion on the e-mail phenomenally successful application and history making political tool --etc-- this fell short--of fulfilling what most of us wanted to know--

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    A brilliant analysis of Obama's 2008 victory by the brilliant politician who managed it. It's time to re-read this to get a preview of the 2012 campaign. A brilliant analysis of Obama's 2008 victory by the brilliant politician who managed it. It's time to re-read this to get a preview of the 2012 campaign.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Myra Khan

    Now I understand the complex and essentially undemocratic process that is U.S. presidential elections.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Kelley

    I continued on the Obama theme and read David Plouffe’s account of the two campaigns that carried Obama to the White House. Partnered with his business associate, David Axelrod, Plouffe takes us from the first discussions about a possible entry into the Democratic primaries, and challenging the powerful front runner, Hillary Clinton. Plouffe explains how the focus was on new ways of doing politics, using social media to reach out and grow the electorate, especially minority and young voters. The I continued on the Obama theme and read David Plouffe’s account of the two campaigns that carried Obama to the White House. Partnered with his business associate, David Axelrod, Plouffe takes us from the first discussions about a possible entry into the Democratic primaries, and challenging the powerful front runner, Hillary Clinton. Plouffe explains how the focus was on new ways of doing politics, using social media to reach out and grow the electorate, especially minority and young voters. The strategy was also based on the need to win the Iowa caucuses. So the campaign blended new technologies with basic retail politics— finding an army of dedicated volunteers willing to telephone and go door-to-door to promote their candidate. This all leads to the triumphant acceptance speech in Denver, Colorado, and the Democratic Convention that confirmed Obama’s victory. The final third of the book deals with the presidential campaign against John McCain, which is somewhat anti-climactic after the epic battle against Hillary Clinton. After the last four years of angry rhetoric from the White House, it was refreshing to be reminded of Obama’s hopeful campaign to capture the White House.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jason Young

    I am coming up this summer on 18 years experience in my chosen career profession - starting humbly by inventorying cabinets of RS-232 cables and BNC connectors and all kinds of leftover watchamacallits from my employer's years of government contracting - to today where I do, um, er, I do, well, "computing things" You know, I have the hardest time describing what I do. I say that I do "systems administration" and "software development" and "project management" or sometimes "cat herding" - but all I am coming up this summer on 18 years experience in my chosen career profession - starting humbly by inventorying cabinets of RS-232 cables and BNC connectors and all kinds of leftover watchamacallits from my employer's years of government contracting - to today where I do, um, er, I do, well, "computing things" You know, I have the hardest time describing what I do. I say that I do "systems administration" and "software development" and "project management" or sometimes "cat herding" - but all of those are 10,000ft views of my job. It gets even worse when I try to tell people what I know. One of my colleagues asked recently "How did you know that?" - and about the best I could say was well, "I just knew". Sure, I could rattle off a whole list of technologies, but I'd forget to list more than I'd remember to list - and for anyone outside my profession - and likely for mst of the people in my profession, it would sound like some mishmash of buzzword bingo. I'm a problem solver. I'm good at it, as you would hope to be after 18 years in multiple computing platforms and roles and tens of thousands of little computing problems, tens of thousands of little failures and hopefully a few successes day in and day out that burn in neural pathways so that you just know. I get the feeling that David Plouffe is a bit in the the same boat. The man clearly just knows how to run a campaign. He helped engineer the successful presidential campaign of Barack Obama - where words like "breathtaking" "amazing" "historical" even themselves can't capture the event. I'm not sure that it's all that possible to use hyperbole to describe the win. No matter your politics - even those with crazy conspiratorial theories - could really counter just how much of an watershed event that win was, particularly as a "professional" endeavor. With that win, Plouffe has likely cemented his place in the history books as one of the best, perhaps the best, campaign managers ever. The environment conditions were right for an Obama win, and David just knew how to build and manage an organization that worked within those conditions. But he has the hardest time telling you how. The Audacity To Win does highlight some of the tactics used in the campaign, and it provides some mention of the strategy - but with a few exceptions - it all feels incredibly generic. I guess I was expecting more details, more stories, more insight into the day to day decision making. It all feels like a 10,000ft view "We met our metrics, our supporters got nervous, we stuck to our guns, we laughed, we cried, we won." I'm being a bit hyperbolic - the book is better and more detailed than that - but most of the time it feels like that. You just know that David is the best at what he does, but you don't get enough information as to why or how. I don't think that's a flaw - it's really, really hard, at least in my own experience, to do that. The only way I know how to do it is to tell stories and weave them together in illustrative ways. And I guess that is what I was looking for - I was looking for more stories like this (Chapter 5, "Win or Go Home" - in the run up to the Iowa Caucuses): "In early December on a Saturday night..., all thoughts turned to the Des Moines Register poll, which was scheduled for release in the next day’s paper... Generally, polls are a dime a dozen in a presidential race, and the sheer number of them makes each one seem less important. But the release of the Register poll is considered an event. Time stops and waits for the results. My first experience with the poll was in 1990 when I was working on Tom Harkin’s Senate race. This was before the Internet, so if you wanted the scoop on the poll you had to go down to the Register’s loading docks around midnight and persuade one of the truck drivers to give you a copy before he left on his route. Harkin’s campaign manager called me into his office on a Saturday afternoon and told me to stay out of the bars that night and instead to go down to the Register building at midnight, get a copy of the paper, and then call him at home (cell phones were just large, toaster-sized oddities in those days) to give him the results and read him the story—then he would call the senator. Sounds pretty pro forma and uneventful, but to a wet-eared twenty-three-year-old kid it was a high honor; it made me believe I must be doing a good job to be trusted with such an important task. Since then I have never seen a Register poll without thinking of that night and of how seemingly insignificant moments like that can have an outsized impact on your professional trajectory. Now I got to play the old hand: I told our mostly under-thirty staff about how we used to get the Register poll down at the docks because there was no Internet, and they would roll their eyes and look at me like I had escaped from the set of Cocoon." More of those would have made the book a five star book. You certainly don't walk away from this book empty handed, I've bookmarked a number of pages in my Nook - because I think there are some tactics that the campaign employed that highlight strategies for the ways in which you successfully engage people these days. Hints to the answers to questions about how you take an organization, use technology and communication - and engage people "on the ground where they are" - and what you choose to focus on and what not to focus, even in the face of the conventional wisdom. By all measures, the Obama campaign was an incredible success - and one that seems to be built on more bedrock principles than normal - and there are things to learn from that. I just wished there had been more insight into the day to day execution. More stories, more 10ft views rather than the 10,000ft views.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lezlie Gits

    If you're at all curious about what it's like to run a presidential campaign, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory is your book. David Plouffe walks the reader through the entire campaign, from the uncertain beginnings through election night. You'll hear enormous amounts of detail on political polls, funding, Obama's team's unprecedented use of "new media" in organizing and informing his supporters, the primary battles with Hillary Clinton and the If you're at all curious about what it's like to run a presidential campaign, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory is your book. David Plouffe walks the reader through the entire campaign, from the uncertain beginnings through election night. You'll hear enormous amounts of detail on political polls, funding, Obama's team's unprecedented use of "new media" in organizing and informing his supporters, the primary battles with Hillary Clinton and the final showdown with John McCain. Plouffe's book shows the best and the worst of the election process and its players. I'm not a political animal, but I was completely absorbed in this book from beginning to end. It is a fascinating behind-the-curtain look at the 2008 election from the perspective of the winner.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christina Lear

    I wanted to read about an inspiring campaign during this ugly one, and this fit the bill. The presidential election strategy is super nerdy and interesting but there are tons of leadership lessons that can be extrapolated like: be true to your mission/philosophy/values when making decisions and deciding on matters of tone; don’t play by the traditional rules when you’re trying to do something that’s never been done; use data to inform your strategy and use your strategy to make decisions; and st I wanted to read about an inspiring campaign during this ugly one, and this fit the bill. The presidential election strategy is super nerdy and interesting but there are tons of leadership lessons that can be extrapolated like: be true to your mission/philosophy/values when making decisions and deciding on matters of tone; don’t play by the traditional rules when you’re trying to do something that’s never been done; use data to inform your strategy and use your strategy to make decisions; and stay calm and keep the long view when crisis hits. Obama and Plouffe both have tremendous leadership moments on display in this book. I’m saddened that our country today does not yet reflect the long term changes in political culture Plouffe hoped the Obama era would bring.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pandit

    The story of Barak Obama's election battle with Hilary Clinton, and then John McCain. It is interesting to see just how manufactured Obama was - as almost any candidate would have to be in order to compete. Every aspect of the stage play is nuanced, tested, and pitched for. For example - the playbook says the lead candidate should always remain positive, but the party can put out negative attacks (until Trump of course). How a cringeworthy and cheesy speech from Michelle tipped the balance. And The story of Barak Obama's election battle with Hilary Clinton, and then John McCain. It is interesting to see just how manufactured Obama was - as almost any candidate would have to be in order to compete. Every aspect of the stage play is nuanced, tested, and pitched for. For example - the playbook says the lead candidate should always remain positive, but the party can put out negative attacks (until Trump of course). How a cringeworthy and cheesy speech from Michelle tipped the balance. And how Obama's team did not allow him to mention race, except for one speech. The book's probably a bit long, but does give a good inside view of how the political scene operates in the US.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

    I absolutely loved this book and am not a democrat nor did I vote in 2008. Aside from the insight into the campaign, there is this amazing insight into what Obama set out to do. Over the course of reading it I found myself agreeing and concuring wholeheartedly with obama and his campaign. But then I recalled what happened and also kept wondering how the most inspired president in recent memory failed to deliver on so much that he wanted. What wall did he run up against that caused it to fail? I I absolutely loved this book and am not a democrat nor did I vote in 2008. Aside from the insight into the campaign, there is this amazing insight into what Obama set out to do. Over the course of reading it I found myself agreeing and concuring wholeheartedly with obama and his campaign. But then I recalled what happened and also kept wondering how the most inspired president in recent memory failed to deliver on so much that he wanted. What wall did he run up against that caused it to fail? I am filled with a greater respect for Obama and a deeper depression for the nation and DC. If Obama cannot achieve those things, who can?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Athar Naser

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book which delves into the strategy that the Obama campaign employed in order to succeed against the odds. Lots of really interesting details on comms strat and political strat. There is (naturally) lots of reference to the US electoral system and as I'm not that familiar with it some of the tactics outlined lost me a little, so if you have some familiarity with that system you will benefit greatly. Otherwise it also served as a real eye opener on what the US democratic pr Thoroughly enjoyed this book which delves into the strategy that the Obama campaign employed in order to succeed against the odds. Lots of really interesting details on comms strat and political strat. There is (naturally) lots of reference to the US electoral system and as I'm not that familiar with it some of the tactics outlined lost me a little, so if you have some familiarity with that system you will benefit greatly. Otherwise it also served as a real eye opener on what the US democratic process looks like under the hood. If you enjoy politics you will enjoy this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mare

    I read Axelrod's book earlier this year and while I enjoyed it, I believe that I am more of a Plouffe kind of nerd. I think that Plouffe and OFA changed the way campaigns are made - Respect. Empower. Include. With hindsight (and tidbits picked up from other books), I think that moving away from the protracted presence in key states is where Robby Mook fucked up. Who knows what the future holds, but it's hard to imagine a better model. I read Axelrod's book earlier this year and while I enjoyed it, I believe that I am more of a Plouffe kind of nerd. I think that Plouffe and OFA changed the way campaigns are made - Respect. Empower. Include. With hindsight (and tidbits picked up from other books), I think that moving away from the protracted presence in key states is where Robby Mook fucked up. Who knows what the future holds, but it's hard to imagine a better model.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lindie

    Horrible last chapter and disappointing at best. I got sweep up in the actual campaign run and thought the Obama team were pioneers in some respects, but putting down all the people who did vote for the team petty. It just reminded me of Hilary and her deplorable statement. Plouffe should have been more gracious and taken the win on the candidate and the strategy and left it for that.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Will Atkins

    Brilliant. I’m not sure how Plouffe could remember the details of 2 years worth of conversations, but this book is a great summary of the entire first presidential campaign by President Obama. By re-telling this story, he also provides plenty of lessons learned and nuggets for future campaign operatives.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Kwok

    I really enjoyed the book which is describes the 2008 Obama campaign from the campaign manager himself (not some low level aide) who knows about the inner workings of the campaign. Great insight into what Candidate Obama was like and his management style. Highly recommended book to those interested in President Obama or politics.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Hannah

    Great reading for any political junkie of the centrist and Democratic persuasion. The book was well written and somewhat visual. The author took me inside the stress, pains and join if campaigning for and with Barack Obama.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Johnathan McDonald

    This book was a tremendous inside account of what can only be described as the meteoric rise of Barack Obama from Senator to President. David Plouffe is a campaign and numbers expert, and his expertise is on full display throughout.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Liang Gang Yu

    Almost 9 years since Obama first election as US president in 2008. This book is still relevant as an example of a successful presidential run - what is right and what could be problems.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arnold

    Liked getting a better understanding how Obamas campaign was done. Not the best writing though

  30. 4 out of 5

    Václav Zoube

    Manual, which should be read not only as a reminder, how Barrack Obama became a president, but also how Donald Trump succeeded him. His staff understood the lesson.

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