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.).
THE LINE STARTED THE NIGHT BEFORE
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
HERE’S HOW I GOT A COPY OF HILLARY’S BOOK
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.
WHAT’S MY OVERALL IMPRESSION OF 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.
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.
MAY WE SUGGEST…
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This is the first thing I saw when perusing the 50th anniversary issue of the Smithsonian magazine for April 2020. This eye-opening 10-page article (with spectacular photos) is titled, “The Ship in the Ice” and concerns a topic we’ve all been hearing about for years, e.g., global warming.
The pandemic this year has affected all of us in many ways. Two things that stand out in my mind: people definitely need people (to paraphrase the song “People” sung by Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl). The phone, email, computer, TV and all the other digital creations we use DO NOT take the place of human interaction. We all need to see and talk to each other. That said we have also learned that we can work at home very efficiently and handle our normal workload if necessary. Never commute again? I don’t think that will happen, but perhaps we’ll find a happy medium – time will tell.
I have often found that when a person achieves incredible success – after a long struggle – the back-story is almost as fascinating as the achievement itself. That’s why I was interested in, yet another, Andy Warhol write-up that appeared in the May 2020 issue of the Smithsonian magazine.
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