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Bill Gates (CEO/Microsoft)

One of the shorter, fun books I read this summer is A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. It’s by Ed Rendell, who was district attorney, mayor of Philadelphia and then two-term governor of Pennsylvania. If you’ve heard him speak or seen him on TV, you know he’s a colorful and outspoken observer of political life in the U.S. No surprise, then, that this book is colorful too,with lots of great stories. His theme is that leaders shouldn’t just tell people what they want to hear. But because politics has become so intensely partisan, too often our political leaders seem to be afraid to tell us the truth and to actually lead us in making the hard choices we need to face up to, on issues like education reform and the federal deficit. As a mayor and governor, Rendell faced up to some very messed-up budget situations and made some smart trade-offs. I thought his point of view was really refreshing. He makes a good point about how politics has changed in ways that make it harder for leaders to emerge and to truly lead.

Amazon description

Governor Ed Rendell explains why America's leaders rarely call for sacrifice for the greater good—to avoid making any sacrifices themselves!

Rendell has seen job security become the primary consideration of any person with power in America—their own job security! Most politicians and bureaucrats can see no further ahead than the next election, sometimes no further than the next press conference. Americans are rarely afraid of sacrifice and hard work when they mean building a better future, but when was the last time you heard of a leader of anything making a sacrifice for the greater good? The people can only win when they make it clear to the powers that be that making the right choices, even the hard ones, is the key to winning the next election.

  • Explains in rollicking stories ranging from the profane to the profound that most hard choices are only ""hard"" because the polls conflict with your principles
  • Ed Rendell rose to the top of Philadelphia, then Pennsylvania, then national politics, by doing what he thought was right, and there were plenty of times that looked like it would be his downfall as well
  • This book revisits the high points of Ed Rendell's career and current landscape to define the political fights his peers seem just as afraid of winning as losing
  • Rendell is a former head of the Democratic National Committee, a current MSNBC Senior Political Analyst, and a Partner at Ballard Spahr LLP

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