Dan Pfeiffer is coming soon to a bookstore near me, promoting his new book, Un-Trumping America: A Plan to Make America a Democracy Again. Since I’m attending that event, I decided it was high time I read his first book. And I think I’ll be glad I read them closer together.
Pfeiffer is a former Obama campaign and White House communications professional. In 2016, he also started podcasting with the Pod Save America crew. Right away, you know which side of the aisle he stands on. And that’s okay by me. I also listened to the audiobook, which he narrates like you’re chatting with him over a beer or a cup of coffee.
I’m always intrigued by stories of people’s career path, and Pfeiffer shares plenty. Reading political memoirs has also taught me that anyone in politics has a unique trajectory. That alone is interesting enough to keep me reading (or listening).
But in this case, Pfeiffer adds a mix of policy discussion and analysis. Despite being a few years old, I still found his points to be relevant. And, as I said, likely to connect to his 2020 book.
Since I’m a former marketing and advertising professional, I’m all in when Pfeiffer discusses communication strategies. There are two reasons why I loved his stories about the White House team starting to use Twitter. First, I was an early Twitter adopter. It was my first social media, long before many of my friends. I treasure my memories of those days. And, second, because back then I doubt we expected it to become a vital force in politics and culture. And that’s both a good thing and a bad thing, right?
Is this a wonky policy book? No. Does it include a few dating stories about the author and his wife meeting in the White House? Yes. You get the picture. Pfeiffer strikes a pleasing balance between professional, political, and personal. He lets us in, without compromising his integrity or the content of his story. He’s whip smart and definitely funny. I, for one, need that right now.
Reading a group of Obama-era White House memoirs over the course of the last three years has helped me manage my liberal political fears and frustrations. I need reminders of that time, not in the least because they show me what a Chief Executive can (and perhaps should) be. They provide balance for Trump-era books that are chock-full of anger and nefarious dealings.
Give this memoir a read if you like politically relevant discussions, with a side helping of irony.
Pair with Who Thought this Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein, and Thanks, Obama by David Litt. Or use it balance a book like Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff or Proof of Collusion by Seth Abramson.