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United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good Hardcover – February 16, 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An exceedingly good book, and an important book, and a reminder of what makes [Cory] Booker an important and, through it all, a promising public figure.”PolitickerNJ
 
“What sets Senator Booker’s work apart from that of similar political books is that it seeks to elevate discourse rather than bring down opponents of the opposite partisan persuasion. This is a refreshing take, one that is truly worthy of study and contemplation.”The Huffington Post

About the Author

Cory Booker is the junior United States senator from New Jersey. He was born in Washington, D.C., and his parents, who both worked for IBM, later relocated the family to Harrington Park, New Jersey. A star high school athlete, Booker received a football scholarship to Stanford University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar before earning his law degree from Yale University. Booker won a special election to fill the term of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg to become New Jersey’s first African American senator and only the twenty-first person in American history to ascend directly from mayor to senator. Booker lives in Newark’s Central Ward.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 16, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101965169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101965160
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is really an extraordinary book. I recommend it to anyone who wants to be inspired in their daily lives or to solve bigger problems in work, family or society. I recommend it to anyone who wants to feel uplifted. The vivid stories make me think about my own ancestry and heritage, my connections with my own parents and children, and with my neighborly community and the wider community beyond my small town.

In the first chapter, Cory tells about his wise and sharp-witted parents and grandparents (and ancestry behind that, and the dramatic story of learning about them), and how his family came through incredible circumstances to live in a white suburb in the early '70s. The next chapter is vivid detail of Cory's moving into a housing project and the mix of people - all of whom make up a powerful and humane narrative that applies to cities all over America. Each chapter is an incredible new experience.

The book is focusing me on my connections -- which I'm more inspired to call brotherhood/sisterhood -- including with people I don't yet know, but with whom I want to take more time to know. During the few days I read the book, I jumped out of bed in the morning to hear what's next, and because I felt more positive and inspired that day, with the greater feeling of power and optimism to improve my own kids' lives that very day. Cory's stories and attitudes ring so true, so vivid. After reading the book, I was inspired to get the book on my iPhone to listen to in the car, something I highly recommend because he reads it with both the heart and charisma that he developed, through his own hard work and the network of friendships and love that exist in his life. There's a lot of everything for everyone in this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Booker does a fantastic job of connecting anecdotal moments from his time on city council and as mayor to give life to infuriating realities that Michelle Alexander conveys in her work, The New Jim Crow; furthermore, he connects to themes that promote reforms within the criminal justice system that Bryan Stevenson has dedicated his life’s work to rectify.

There is a refreshing theme of humility throughout this book that was not always evident in Booker’s “larger than life” presence when he was first elected as mayor. Despite “having more degrees than the month of July”, Booker acknowledges a difference between schooling and education since many of his most revered mentors throughout his post-academia journey lacked the prestige tied to so much of the education portion of his resume. Booker’s recognition of the prevalent “poverty of empathy” is powerful, his connections to Gandhi and Martin L. King are uplifting; however, there are moments of hopeless that he conveys without resolve - clearly, he has much work ahead of him.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I was really disappointed that there was no mention of lessons learned from successes and failures of education reform - specifically the $100 million from Facebook. This was such a highly publicized segment of his mayoral tenure before he took the vacant senate seat. As an educator, it made me think that the political tensions around this topic could not plausibly be "United".

Regardless, I hope Senator Booker continues to write because his prose is passionate. It made me believe that he does have the power to uplift the masses to unite through an "interdependence" that he beautifully conveys through both personal anecdotes and parables.
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By meeg on February 23, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful, Wonderful book. I highly recommend this book. Refreshing "Political" read. It makes you believe that Politicians are and can be honest and down to earth. In this Presidential year we can trust someone again. I do hope Senator Booker will run for Governor in NJ and all the way to the President of the United States.. This book is not about being a Republican or a Democratic, it is about the understanding of doing the right thing, and following your beliefs (and your gut feeling) My daughter is 14, and is in the 8th grade, she is being subjected to the "nasty" debates, I am going to have her read this book, and her father and I will sit down for dinner, yes, without her iphone and discuss the book. This book in my house won't just be read one time and put away on the bookshelf to gather dust, I will read it every time I start to feel angry or disappointed in our politicians. Thank You Senator Booker for being REAL.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I listened to the audiobook version, which is narrated by the author. Booker's purpose for the book was to help the reader understand his own personal mission in the government and how he hopes to help better the lives of Americans. He illustrates his family's journey through segregation and the combination of hard work, kindness, and luck that helped to get his family (and him) to where he is today. He discusses his own work in Newark and the various people who influenced him. He avoids name-dropping his celebrity friends and instead highlights the people who were on the ground doing the work when he came along to offer his help and his vision.

I appreciated the fact that Booker highlights many of the mistakes he made during the journey from Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School graduate to Newark mayor and later U.S. Senator. Not only did he make mistakes in his approach and vision as to what he could accomplish when he first moved into Newark, but talks about mistakes that led to significant consequences. He perspective on helping alleviate poverty and racial division is inspiring and it is obvious that he is still the optimist, despite nearly twenty years of public service.

The only criticisms I have are that 1) he can be a little repetitive with facts/data/sayings through the book and 2) that he did not provide a list of sources for the data he cited in the book. I know on a recent interview someone mentioned that and he said they have the information but decided not to put it in the book because it can be easily recalled online, but citations would have been preferred for me.
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