A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a Good Book

I listened to this 29+ hour audio book. It was a far more enjoyable read than I expected. This book was chosen as one of NYT Best Books of 2020 (click here for NYT review). Listening to the book also enabled me to get a lot of walking in since I wanted to keep walking so I could continue to listen.

President Obama is a good writer. The book was interesting because it not only reviewed his first term, it also provided a history lesson related to all the events that occurred during his presidency. As he described the events from his presidency, he interlaced stories about his family. For each event he also provided a continual dose of the introspection he went through during his trying presidency. Those passages helped me understand the challenges he faced.

Overall, I kept thinking – how did he endure? I was exhausted just listening to all the things he did. After reading, upon reflection it seemed even more exhausting. I realized he did all these things while under time constraints, in real-time and with only limited information. When reading we now have the benefit hindsight, no time constraints and know more. 

The book started with a discussion of the work that was done on the financial crisis he inherited. While working on that solution, he would also have to do other things such as a commencement address to graduates in the US or in UAB, or to a meeting with national leaders, to meetings about ongoing issues such as Birthergate pushed by Trump, or the BP oil leak in the gulf,  or to his daughters basketball team practice. I say “or” but really it was “and” because all these events were ongoing. It was clear he did many things.

I encourage all to listen or read and I don’t think it matters which side of the aisle you are on politically. I force myself to listen to the other side at times, and generally gain increased understanding and or perspective. Once again, it is not that I am deciding which way is best, but learning about what can be a better way. As Stephen Covey helped me understand in his book, The 3rd Alternative, it is not about my way or your way, but about working together to find a better way. If you are interested, I discuss how to use the 3rd alternative in these posts: Honoring Justice Scalia – Dare to DisagreeProgress Trumps Problems and Perfection, and We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative.

It appeared to me President Obama was continually searching for selfish, selfish, and synergistic solutions. In my view he was often able to generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I found this book entertaining, educational, and helpful. If you read, please share your thoughts about what you learned about how to generate comprehensive benefits so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing from you.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.


Honoring Justice Scalia – Dare to Disagree

While I personally agreed more with Justice Scalia’s ideological opposite, Justice Ginsburg, I have learned Justice Scalia had desirable characteristics. Justice’s Scalia and Ginsburg were as different in their opinions as was possible yet they maintained a close friendship. From this there is much to learn.


To me this situation relates to what some consider Dr. Stephen Covey’s most significant work he described in his book, “The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems“. What I understood this book to say was that we should always seek to find a better way by discovering the 3rd alternative. He suggested the better way was not found through compromise but innovation. In other words, he encouraged people not to accept to do things your way or my way, but a better way – the 3rd Alternative.

In related fashion, Margaret Heffernan provides wonderful examples of how and why seeking disagreeable or different points of view can yield better answers. I encourage you to learn the benefits she describes in her presentation, “Dare to Disagree”.

Interestingly and in a telling way, opposites seem to attract intelligence which can lead to better ways. The Practice of Paneugenesis is about daring to disagree with the status quo by discovering the 3rd alternative which are ways to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

I look forward to enjoying the benefits we generate for our world by daring to disagree with the status quo with selfish selfless synergy. We can develop ways to continually improve by creating and putting in place precursors that allow us to enable idealized outcomes that make this a more livable world for everyone and everything.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker, PhD