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Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House Hardcover – March 21, 2017
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"Always fascinating and very funny, Alyssa's book is full of juicy stories from one of the world's most glamorous jobs."―Mindy Kaling, New York Times bestselling author of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me?
"WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? is everything we've come to know and love about Alyssa over the decade we worked with her: brilliant, funny, grounded, and inspiring. Anyone who's interested in politics - especially young people - should read this book."―Dan Pfeiffer and Jon Favreau, former communications director and speechwriter for President Barack Obama
"Few people have had as much access and influence over national events over the last decade as Alyssa Mastromonaco. No matter how serious the crisis or hard the problem, Alyssa took care of it with great skill and professionalism, and even greater humor. This book tells the story of a young woman succeeding under extraordinary circumstances, and throughout it all, never taking herself too seriously."―Stephanie Cutter, former deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama
"I've often wondered how a woman can be so many things wrapped up in one dynamic package. Alyssa is my fairy godmother: she's wise, resourceful, insanely smart, and makes me laugh in a very special way. Her stories - from the front line of the White House to her kitchen - will entertain, inspire, and humor you for a long time to come."―Amanda de Cadenet
"Alyssa is a force: whip-smart, humble, and funny as hell. Her writing is as fearless as she is."―Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Girlboss
"A candid and charming memoir of her unexpected career in government...The memoir abounds with intimate glimpses of Washington, D.C., celebrities (Biden, Clinton, Michelle Obama, and scores more) and cheerfully dispensed survival strategies. An entertaining look inside the White House."―Kirkus
"When imagining working in the White House, many picture meaningful meetings, glamorous dinners, and high-stakes decision making. It can be all of those things. But as Alyssa Mastromonaco writes in WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?, the reader gets a real and raw peek behind the curtains where Alyssa experiences the good, the bad, the distressing, and the often hilarious. Alyssa has real grit and grace, and her book is her story very well told."―Dana Perino, New York Times bestselling author of And the Good News Is... and Let Me Tell You About Jasper...
"A combination memoir and compendium of very good suggestions about how to get ahead -- very far ahead -- at an early age."―The Washington Post
"[WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA] is brimming with...humorous, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as well as up-close-and-personal moments with Obama that shed new light on who he is as a leader, man and friend."―People.com
"A moving, funny, and sometimes heart-wrenching look back at the years [Alyssa Mastromonaco] spent in politics and by [President Obama's] side."―PopSugar.com
About the Author
Alyssa Mastromonaco served as assistant to the president and director of scheduling and advance at the White House from 2009 to 2011 and as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House from 2011 to 2014. She currently works as chief communication and talent officer at A+E Networks and is a contributing editor at Marie Claire.
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Which is merely to say that Ms. Mastromonaco does an excellent job of telling civilians about the stress and adrenaline levels of working in the White House. (At least back when people were keen to do a good job for the citizens of America.) From getting POTUS and entourage a second plane in case of an Iraqi sandstorm, or making sure the U.S. Secret agents were allowed to bring their weapons into South Africa, Ms. Mastromonaco got the job done.
One might, simply out of feminist reflex, flinch each time the author mentions that she cried. The underlying culprits were usually exhaustion or physical issues. However, when one considers the grim souls currently stalking the west wing, one remembers to appreciate the fact that she has a human, beating heart, and that she had the emotional capacity to actually care.
I suspect privacy rules & regs forced the author to limit the PBO anecdotes. The former president’s playful attempts at matchmaking for Ms. Mastromonaco caught me by surprise; the ultra-rational regimen of salmon and brown rice (even while campaigning) did not. But he seems to have been just like all non-disturbed people saw him to be – an extraordinarily decent, bright, hardworking man. A man who, while carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, took time to call a grieving Ms. Mastromonaco and offer her words of comfort from Air Force One. Just as, I believe history will confirm, the nation was lucky to have him, Obama was lucky to have Ms. Mastromonaco.
I often wonder "how did I get here?" In my career, incredulous since I didn't feel I was meant to be successful. Not that Alyssa necessarily felt this way... but where I am now is not where I thought I would be.
I work in a male dominated environment and although my job is not on the scale I related to that feeling of being the only woman in the room.
I recommend this book to any women getting into politics, business or anyone wanting to reminisce about the good-old-times (aka before the threat of eminent democratic doom aka before the trump administration)
I’m struck by how real and cool Obama is. Alyssa had a very stressful job that required frantically working on numerous tasks. When Obama was a senator, Alyssa's desk was near the back door to Obama’s office. Once when she was on the floor doing sit ups to relieve the stress, Obama walked by. She was concerned he might be upset, but instead he said, “Good for you.”
Class guy! Thanks Alyssa for letting us see another side of a president we respected and admired.