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Lessons Learned the Hard Way Hardcover – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1st edition (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060191066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060191061
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,766,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Part memoir, part manifesto, Lessons Learned the Hard Way by House Speaker Newt Gingrich discusses the triumphs and failures of the Republican Congress. Gingrich is surprisingly frank in admitting the mistakes he has made over the last four years, including his regret over foot-in-mouth remarks about President Clinton snubbing him on Air Force One. He also provides detailed accounts of the government shutdown, budgetary battles, and the ethical charges made against him. Most insightful political comment: "We were to learn the hard way that there was a difference between having a Republican majority and having a conservative majority." Most unexpected book recommendation: "On my bookshelf is a copy of Franz de Wahl's Chimpanzee Politics, which is a wonderful study of the social and political interactions of the chimpanzee colony at the Arnhem Zoo." Unfortunately, Gingrich doesn't draw a connection between Chimpanzee Politics and Washington politics. Still, this book is highly recommended for political junkies who want to hear Gingrich's account of the last several years unfiltered through the media. --John J. Miller

From Booklist

Oh boy, oh boy. Lessons from Newt, lessons from Newt. Bonnie Smothers

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I read this book thinking that Gingrich would toot his own horn, and praise fellow Republicans. The more I read, the more I was impressed with his humility and candor regarding fellow Republican colleagues. It is great to see a leader apologize for a wrongdoing, or even a misunderstanding (without even being prompted to do so!) The last chapter was excellent as well. Gingrich lists almost undeniable goals for the next generation. Although he could not have expected his departure from the Speakership, he writes it almost as a farewell address, in the sense that he knows that it may not be accomplished during his tenure. However, it is still essential that these goals be realized. All in all, an enjoyable easy read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By parker@insytecorp.com on April 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for anyone curious about the remarkable times in which we live, the influence of public policy on our lives, the process of ideological legislation, and the limitations of power. In the amazing heat of the American style of public policy debate, Mr. Gingerich carves out a moment of historical perspective: nothing in American democracy is swift, nothing is certain.

His personal journey through the classic struggle between the Pragmatic and the Romantic is filled with surprising frankness and great personal charm.

I loved the book, and would recommend it highly.

With remarkable clarity he illustrates the institutional obstacles to change which make American Democracy and its historical traditions such a fascinating and contradictory experience.

Mr. Gingerich presides over the Congress in a time of incredible societal change as nearly all working Americans move strongly into capital investments and technology is in the earliest stages of transforming the workplace from the last hundred years into the next hundred years.

While the fierce ideological struggles of the present time will be forgotten within ten years as America transforms itself, Mr. Gingerich's book with its engaging historical perspective over the intensely personal politics of the present time, will stand as great advice to those men and women on how to fight the battles which will determine the new rules, as information and its access shapes the coming struggles over economic and cultural life in the twenty first century.

Other recommended reading: Alone , Winston Churchill by William Manchester - also a great political biography set in an historical perspective. The book is much larger but contains many of the same lessons for visionary leaders in times of transistion.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The talking heads from the networks and elsewhere always theorize what they think may of happened. Mostly according to what they heard from others who heard from others. This book is a piece of history, written by the man who was there in the room negotiating. The former Speaker is very honest and candid in his synapsis of what really happened. He tells where he went wrong and what he learned. Even though he is not the Speaker anymore, after reading this book you just know we haven't heard the last of Newt yet.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Newt Gingrich ever since I read "Window of Opportunity" back in 1984 and I used to watch his special order speeches on the House floor on C-SPAN long after the rest of the country had gone to bed. I thought I would enjoy hearing from my role model, in his own words, why the 104th and 105th Congress stalled, shot itself in the foot repeatedly, and allowed our character-challenged president take credit for things he didn't do.
I was wrong.
Although I have a better understanding now of the events surrounding Congress over the last several years, I found the litany of apoligies and excuses depressing. I miss the visionary Newt, and the last chapter, which describes Newt's "4 goals for our generation" felt like an afterthought.
All in all, I'm glad Newt wrote this book, and it should be required reading for all Republicans, but don't expect to put the book down feeling inspired 'cause it isn't going to happen. Newt: catharsis is good for the soul, but please start looking forward instead of backward.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Great to hear from Gingrich himself -- rather than hearingabout him through the biased media filter.Our life and times from a history professor in Washington DC is a refreshing and interesting read.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a library book that I checked out. I was surprised by some of the things I read. I'm as critical as the next conservative on how the Republicans have turned their backs on us. Still, I realize now that they were working against an incredible inertia. Gingrich is very open about the disappointments, setbacks and failures the Republicans faced. You could feel how some of the optimistic idealism crumbled as many began settling for smaller victories. I found it to be a sad and sobering book.
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A Kid's Review on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Though Newt Gingrich is no longer an elected political official,
he remains active as both a political analyst and consultant, and
he continues to write books on many topics--including historical fiction.

Yet it was his past experience as Speaker of the House of Representatives
that most interested me . . . so when I recently had the opportunity
to get hold of LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY--written and read
by the author back in 1998 when he was Speaker of the House
of Representatives--I jumped at the chance to hear what he had
to say about a variety of topics.

These were just some of the highlights:

* In the short run, the public can perhaps makes things difficult for you.
But in the long run, they are the best and most reliable judges for what
they really need.

* The earned income credit program has a 21% rate of error. There
are two problems with this. If teaches people to commit fraud. And
it points out the double standard of the IRS; i.e., you need to be
100% accurate, but they only need to be 80%.

* We should have one focused border agency.

* Any foreign government willing to take on the drug dealers should
get all our support.

* We should adopt a national goal that everybody should be able
to read and right by the end of Grade 1.

And there was this one recommendation that I wholeheartedly support:

* I believe we should set the peace-time level for taxes at all levels
of government at 25%.

What I particularly liked about LESSONS LEARNED was how Gingrich
took on both Republicans and Democrats in his criticism of the
workings of government . . . in addition, he just didn't criticize
what's wrong; he made suggestions for improving the system.
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