books

Book Review: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, by Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?I’m teetering between three and three and a half stars for this book. I think that when I picked it up I expected more light, witty commentary and humorous anecdotes about life in the White House. There are some humorous stories, but there are also a lot of amazing, frustrating, and sad stories. It’s less of a humorous book and more of a general memoir/self-help tome, which I discovered partway through (and which reminded me to read book jackets more carefully whilst still at the library to avoid false expectations!).

I’m trying to sprinkle more nonfiction books into my reading list, and Who Thought…? was a pretty good addition. Covering the author’s years working in the Obama administration, it’s a mixture of stories about her White House life and honest advice to young women looking to navigate the professional world, whether in government or the private sector. The book is divided into chapters focusing on the traits she feels are required for success, such as being prepared and showing kindness, and I felt like she had a lot of very down-to-earth experience packed into those chapters to back them up. It’s also a lot less condescending than a lot of the “self-help” books I’ve picked up in the past.

I didn’t rate the book higher solely because I was expecting more chuckles than I got, but I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to young women (or anyone, really) entering the adult professional world and looking for some advice before they spread their wings.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler (256 pages, 2017). Three stars out of five. Memoir, humor, self-help, nonfiction, politics. Find it on Goodreads and remember to follow me while you’re there!

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