Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wall Street Journal weekend edition reviews of books

The Weekend Edition of the WSJ has two sections each week that, between the two of them, almost always offer up some interesting reading.  Those two sections, "Review" and "Off Duty", cover myriad topics, much of which is not related to business.  The Review section includes a "Books" section, that is a good counterpoint, or simply an addition, to the vaunted Sunday New York Times Book Review.  The reviewers may not be as high profile, but the writing is fine.

Five pages of the review section this week covered books.  The most interesting review was of "The Gatekeepers", by Chris Whipple which looks the history of the role of the White House chief of staff. In this telling, James Baker as Reagan's first chief of staff comes across as the most effective while his Reagan's second, the ex-Merrill Lynch boss Don Regan is viewed as one of the worst.  The following from the review, by Clark Judge, about Carter's administration was interesting.  "Jimmy Carter acted as his own chief of staff for the first two years of his presidency, with disastrous results. This was the period in which famously oversaw the schedule for the White House tennis court.  Then he made Hamilton Jordan his chief---which may have been worse.  Jordan, an assistant from Mr. Carter's days in the Georgia governor's mansion, devoted his tenure to drinking, womanizing, and insulting members of Congress."  Many of us may remember Carter's obsession with detail and the fact he surrounded himself with Georgia loyalists, Bert Lance included.  Despite his many good intentions, Carter's management style lost him the job.  The commentary on the Chief's continues to the Obama years.

That anecdote is quoted with the hope that it is representative of the type of entertaining and engaging information that is in this book.  The reviewer suggests that it is.

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