Before I say anything: this was hands down one of the best reads of 2018 – and maybe all time!
Alyssa Mastromonaco’s account of working in the White House as former President Obama’s deputy chief of staff was not just a story of that one experience. It is the holy grail of women working, women in leadership and just life.
Who thought this was a good idea? is written conversationally yet is a gripping text. Alyssa weaves in the knitty gritties of the world she’s displaying with the emotions she’s addressing beautifully.
Worlds like a global superpower’s centre of power are so unfamiliar to an ordinary person that it was intriguing to be so up close and personal, even if through text. And Alyssa does a great job of satisfying the reader’s wondrous curiosity while remaining true to the purpose of the book.
I shy away from reading tell-all kind of books about famous jobs and places – why find out something you’d regret knowing later! But one of the striking and refreshing things about Who though this was a good idea? was that it didn’t come off as a betrayal or uncovering of her employer. Rather it was a heartfelt and honest account of what she most definitely experienced.
As a young woman interested in diplomacy, politics, a leadership career, it was heartwarming to read Alyssa reveal all her cards and her journey from being a small-town girl to a White House big shot (she didn’t say so but I know she was). There is something reassuring about reading (again and again) how people made it despite other plans, obstacles and uncertainties. This is especially true today when young people are supposed to know it all and have it all figured out.
I recommend this book to every young woman and man, even if they are not interested in public service, as a guide on how to get things done and stick it out at the workplace. There are only a few positions and employers more demanding than running the U.S. President’s work and schedule at the White House. If you can read about what its like to do this, you’ll be a whole lot prepared for many other tough ones.
Plus, its written as an absolute delight so you’ll enjoy regardless!