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on June 19, 2012
Today our two political camps are facing each other over a battlefield, over the issue of government. There are so many Rs ready and willing to destroy government, rather than make it effective and worthy of respect. Ed Rendell, former Mayor of Philadelphia and Governor of Pennsylvania, has demonstrated...well chronicled in his book...how one man can negotiate with unions; increase efficiencies; empower highly competent people to help him turn the narrative into a productive one for all citizens. In a real sense, Rendell respects the dignity of all the people in their common desire for good government. He did the job of fixing budgets, and realigning and streamlining government structure so it becomes effective and smart...and most of all something about which citizens can be proud.

This is a Democratic example of how to do make it happen. There are, and will be Republican examples as well. I won't hold my breath for any new era of bi-partisanship, but it's well to note for any R readers, that Sean Hannity was able to give this book a strong endorsement, but more importantly, an endorsement to Rendell's fiscal policy successes in Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

But before any such hopes can germinate, according to Rendell, it's necessary to get off the self-destructive idea that government itself is evil, when it's often just incompetent, unimaginative, and suffering from lack of true leadership. Once this corner is turned, then Rendell's example of mustering the courage to achieve great things...what too many assume simply can't be done...CAN be made to happen.

Ed Rendell is an example of what's needed all over America: honest and forthright public servants, who believe in the proper role of government and truly want to make it succeed. This book us filled with the unadulterated hard facts of how Rendell operated so successfully, covering the people, places, and dates, and humorous anecdotes, with openness, and even joy. It's lively, hopeful, and a good read to boot.
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on August 10, 2012
If you are looking for a book that takes an academic perspective on local,state and national politics, this is not it. If you want to read about a career in politics at all three levels of government, you will enjoy this book. Rendell offers his personal insights into the mechanics of getting things done in a political world. He offers anecdotal examples of what worked for him and why those ideas can work for other politicians. This book does not pretend to be anything more than one man's take on what is lacking in political leadership today and what he believes can be done to make things better for America.
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on July 14, 2012
As I said, former Gov. Ed Rendell and I do not agree on everything but we do look at most things in a forthright and unabashed manner. Regardless of your politics, this is an entertaining and thought-provoking read that I recommend to anybody who enjoys political discussion.
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on November 11, 2012
In war, the people with the guts are the ones actually charging the enemy machine gun nest, not the general sitting behind a desk that orders the attack. Ed Rendell sometimes forgets that when describing various times he thinks he was gutsy. One of the stories he tells in order to demonstrate that he is not a wuss is when he forced the public unions to take benefit cuts in order to cut costs when he was mayor. Now if this took place fifty years ago when unions were very strong, that might mean something. But in today's world when so many political leaders attack unions, Ed is just part of the crowd. Cutting other people's wages may not be easy, but like the general that sends other people into battle, it hardly takes guts. Now if he wrote about cutting his own salary and benefits, that might be different. But he suffers no personal sacrifice, so what is it about this episode that is so gutsy? Other chapters bring back that same question over and over. By the end, we know Ed Rendell is just another self-promoting politician and a full-fledged citizen of Wuss Nation. Read the book, but look elsewhere for a politician who really has guts. For example, the Keller, Texas city manager who had to cut costs and so decided to lay himself off. Now that guy was no wuss!
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on June 11, 2014
This book was of double interest to me being that I'm a Philly guy and I lean Democratic. Hearing about Ed Rendell's early career in Philadelphia and recalling the events he describes as landmarks growing up added some interest.

Now of course this book is by Ed Rendell about Ed Rendell so there is very little about what he may have done wrong, but there is at least enough self-deprecating humor to keep the book from non-stop self-congratulation. There's a little of that here, but he does a decent job of explaining his point of view rather than just saying what he wanted.

The most impressive part of Rendell's political approach is his willingness to engage those he disagrees with. He really seems to enjoy the activities of negotiation and debate. He also operates with the understanding that democracy's design flaw is you rarely get everything you want. It's a much more intelligent and productive approach than the "No comprise," childishness of today's political extremists.

Another of my favorite Rendell comments is his counter to the small-government fools. He's right when he says that government done right can make a huge and positive difference in people’s lives. At times I felt like that's partly what the book was for, as a reminder that there are exceptions to the stereotype of sleazeball politicians. There are people like Rendell, genuinely working hard to iron out the boring legal and financial details of things so the rest of us can have decent society in which to live.

It makes me feel better knowing that there are people like Ed Rendell handling the boring but important stuff. I don't agree with him on everything, but I don't agree with anyone on everything. This is a good quick read, perhaps a little light if you're looking for details, but still a good reminder that if your intentions are sincere, you work hard and you don't fear criticism, you will increase your chances of success in whatever you do.

Larry Nocella
Author of the novel, The Katrina Contract, available on Amazon
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on June 7, 2012
Quick and great read! We are becoming a nation of wusses and the Gov isn't afraid to call us all out on it. Takes on the NFL, NRA, and politicians all over the country. Makes me think about politicians and their goals in office in a new light. Fun stories, straight taking, and my favorite -- a top 10 list.
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on September 12, 2014
I finally got around to reading this book and I could not agree with him more. It is rare to read about and by a man who puts the welfare of others ahead of himself. If you want to know one of the things wrong with many of our elected officials, read this book. Joan D
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on November 10, 2014
I'm from a different political persuasion than the governor, but I like him. Ed Rendell is often called Slick Eddy by his opponents and he is a politician of the craftiest order, but if I were forming a government, I would want him as part of my team. He knows his job and doesn't often hide the agenda. This is a fun book that tells it from his perspective. Having lived through this era from just outside Philadelphia it's easy to spot when and where we interpret the facts differently. But whether you have listened to him as D.A., or mayor, governor or Eagles TV analyst, you know he is enjoying himself and has learned when not to take himself too seriously. For the political junkie or novice political science student, this is an enjoyable teaching history of a Democrat who has seen it all, and lived it too.
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on April 1, 2013
I have always appreciated Rendell's straightforwardness; it's refreshing in his business to find someone like him. I found it difficult to really appreciate all of his ideas and accomplishments when he is telling the story. Better all the praise came from a third party.
However, it was interesting, and for someone who is not ultra-conservative, informative. All in all, the book left me wishing for more like Ed Rendell in politics.
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on September 27, 2012
I expected more examples of how we have become a nation of wusses. Most of the books seems to be the author bragging about his accomplishments. This was purchased after seeing an interview with him on TV. I think he could have cut out some of his self-promotion and focused more on how we have become a nation of wusses and how we can overcome it.
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