Sunday, November 6

Decision Points by George W. Bush

Memoirs often seem to follow similar patterns.  They usually follow someone’s life in chronological order, lingering on the events that they are either most known for (in the case of celebrities or politicians) or which they think are the most important events in their life.  Wisely forgoing that, former President George W. Bush instead focuses each chapter on events which found to be  large decision points in his life.  Chapters range from “Stem Cells,” “Day of Fire” (9/11), “Iraq,” “Katrina,” to “Financial Crises.”  Each chapter tends to flow chronologically and he recounts his thoughts and feelings, and explains his rationale for the decision he told.

The first chapter in Decision Points is called “Quitting,” and was one the chapters that I found to be the most interesting, partially because its focus isn’t on his presidency.  Instead, one of the main points is his decision to quit drinking.  This is also the chapter that introduces us to Bush’s history.  We learn a bit about what he did in high school and college, and we are told the story of how he met Laura.

Once the book shifts into his Presidency, the book seems to take on a more explanatory tone.  Regardless of the idea, whether war, Katrina, stem cells, or the financial crisis, he lays out his reasoning and rationale for the decisions he made.  He recognizes that not everyone did agree with him, and that some that did no longer do.  Though he stands by many of his decisions, at times he also notes mistakes that were made.  Whether or not you agree with him will likely depend on what you thought of him prior to picking up the book.

Another chapter I found interesting was “Lazarus Effect,” which focused on Bush’s decisions regarding support for people and countries struggling with HIV/AIDS.  We are told of the people he worked with, and in reading the book I could feel that Bush truly did support the cause.

At times the book seems a little bit long winded.  Though it tries to shy away from name dropping, there are, of course, many people who work in politics.  Trying to keep some of the names straight can be tedious at times.  Surprisingly, the book read as if Bush was speaking it.  I say surprised, because memoirs of this sort seem to utilize ghost writers.  Either Bush did have a very direct role in much of the phrasing, or the ghost writer was excellent at capturing Bush’s speech (and I do not recall any “Bush-isms”).  While at times it was interesting to read the explanations for decisions, and read his thoughts on leadership, this isn’t really a book I’d recommend to just anyone.  If you were staunchly opposed to Bush, chances are you won’t like this book.  If you supported him, you’ll likely find yourself agreeing with what he says.  If you’re studying different styles of leadership, this may be a good book to read, as Bush does talk multiple times about the process he used to make decisions, and how he interacted with both his staff and people who opposed him.

3/5 stars

Read an excerpt here.

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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