What Happened

December 06, 2017


We’ve all heard about Hillary Clinton’s book titled What Happened, published by Simon & Shuster and launched in NYC on Tuesday, September 12th.

The front of Hillary’s book

I started reading the book on Saturday, October 28th at 8:00 pm and finished at 1:00 am on Sunday (five hours later fueled by strong coffee). Full disclosure: I skipped one chapter titled, Those Damn Emails, pages 289 to 323 and a second titled, Trolls, Bots, Fake News and Real Russians from pages 325 to 375 because I felt this was simply a rehash of news that I’d been reading for weeks (the FBI, Bernie Sanders, etc.).


I was absolutely stunned when I read a piece in the New York Post, 9/13/17 by Maureen Callahan who wrote “thousands of people lined up outside Barnes & Noble at Union Square in Manhattan in hopes of meeting their idol.” Callahan talked to 24-year-old Brandon Echevarria who said, “I’m excited for her book release because it’s something I’ve never seen from a candidate dealing with defeat.” He told her he was at the front of the line, having arrived outside at 10 pm on Monday.

Inside Barnes & Noble for Hillary’s book signing


Not willing to spend ($30 + tax) for a one-time read, I decided to reserve the book at the New York Public Library (Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street) on September 14th. “Better move fast,” I told myself. I wasn’t fast enough and landed at #777 on the reserve list. The numbers went down and down. On October 27th I received an email telling me to pick up the book.


Aside from what I said earlier I think the book is a bit repetitious. For example, Hillary reiterates her “wins” a number of times. She was made partner at her Arkansas law firm at a relatively young age. When she became pregnant with Chelsea she asked her fellow partners what their policy was for “time off for new mothers.” She couldn’t get an answer. They finally admitted that they had never had a female partner ask for “pregnancy leave” before. She created official guidelines for the firm.

Aside from the above-mentioned chapters that I simply wrote off, there were a few boring ones sprinkled with chapters that I thought were terrific. On page 83 there is a chapter titled A Day in the Life. It goes on to page 107 and starts with the author saying, “A presidential campaign is a marathon run at the pace of a sprint. Every day, every hour, every moment counts. But there are so many days – nearly six hundred, in the case of the 2015-2016 campaign – that you have to be careful not to burn out before hitting the finish line.” Here are a few samples of the daily routine.

  • How does she handle the Secret Service? Bill and I have been under their protection for 25 years. It took some getting used to, but now it feels normal. To their great credit, the agents bend over backward to be as unobtrusive as possible.
  • On a typical day on the campaign trail, after leaving the house, our motorcade of three cars pulls right up to the plane on the tarmac. Door-to-door service is both a security must and a nice perk.
  • Every day on the trail was packed with events: rallies, roundtables, interviews, fundraisers, OTRs (off-the-records or unannounced visits to shops, parks, libraries, schools, hospitals – you name it).
  • Rallies are a whole other world. It’s thrilling to hear a crowd cheer for you. But I’ll admit that no matter how many times I’ve stood before large crowds, it’s always a little daunting. Some people came to our rallies again and again. I got to know a few of them.

When I finished reading this book I said to myself, “I know more about Hillary Clinton from this one chapter than anything I’ve ever read.” Then a thought jumped into my head – this is exactly what I referenced in the 9/27/17 blog Why Did Hillary Lose a Sure Thing, Part II.

“Early on, Hillary had been told by an old Clinton friend, Terry Shumaker,  ‘everybody knows who you are but nobody knows who you really are. People don’t know what makes you tick.’” 

Now we know. But it’s too late.


Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Stumped for gifts for those hard-to-pleasers on your list? We have $25, $50 and $100 gift cards that can be delivered right to your in-box.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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