All the Truth is Out by Matt Bai
I first heard about this book in an interview on Fresh Air one night heading home from class. The concept seemed super interesting, and a few months later I finally looked it up on Audible. The book talks about how media and politics have changed over the past 30ish years. What’s become commonplace in media today (Find the dirt on anyone and everyone! Ask people about their personal lives! Bring up things they did 30 years ago!) wasn’t always the case. It discusses this case with the story of Gary Hart, who ran for president in 1987. Hart was the first case of a politician being “caught” in an affair. Before this, the media knew that politicians weren’t faithful, and didn’t care. But for some reason started caring RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT. The story tells of, essentially, the first public media-gossip-lynching of a politician for transgressions, and how that instance changed the way politics and media work. It’s really eye-opening to know that a lot of people who might be great leaders for our communities, states, and country refuse to go into office because they don’t want to be harangued by media gossip hounds.
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
I was willing to suspend my usual personal standards for this book. I really wanted to like it. I want to be the HBIC one day, and the title of this book spoke to me. It’s an autobiography of sorts from Sophia Amoruso, the creator and founder of NastyGal, an online and now brick and mortar retail chain. She started from humble beginnings, high school dropout picking through thrift stores for “vintage” finds and selling them on eBay. Sure, I know nothing (and care nothing) about fashion, but she was a something-from-nothing story that I WANTED really badly to be inspired by. I was following along fine to the annoying vocal-fry narrator, listening to one woman talk about what a special snowflake she was to start a bazillion dollar retail company from her bed, thinking, “I can dig this…” UNTIL. She had a chapter directed toward millennials about how we’re not the special snowflakes we think we are regardless of how much our parents told us we were and how many trophies we got in school. I am so tired of people waxing poetic about how lazy and self-indulgent people my age are, especially in a book they wrote about themselves. Bitch, please. No one makes me bleed my own blood. For reference, The Super Secret Trick to Connecting with Millennials: It’s not actually that complicated. I’m going to write an article about how old people need to learn technology on their own and stop being so resistant to their inevitable takeover by me and my gang of spoiled-ass friends called, “The Snowflake Gang.” /rant (Please note this is sarcasm.)
Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
I’m really surprised at the number of people who turned up their noses and scoffed when I said I was reading Clinton’s book. For starters, I really like a lady in power who proves she’s competent, smart, and invested in what she’s doing (see book choice above). Aside from that, I was really interested in learning about what it’s like to be the Secretary of State. In this book, Clinton details her tenure as Secretary of State all the way back from when she was running for the presidential nomination against Obama, her loss of that nomination (a pretty humbling blow for anyone), and him asking her repeatedly to please consider the high profile job. She wrote about personal and professional experiences: a glimpse into what international diplomacy is like (it sounds like a slow and tedious process sometimes), dealing with the deaths of her parents, and even the attacks on Benghazi. I’d definitely recommend it, if you can get over yourself and get past the politics part.
If my nonfiction reading this round has taught me anything, these might be a few takeaways:
- It’s hard to be in public office. Regardless of your agreement with someone’s politics, they’re still people with lives and families and emotions. Get over yourself and try to imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes. Stop being so mean to everyone.
- There is no “right time” for things. There’s no right time to start your own business. There’s no right time for the perfect job to pop up. There’s no right time for anything. So make the best of what you have and don’t wait too long to do what you want.
- Don’t blame people when you don’t know all the facts. Always check for more than one source. Don’t trust sources that cite other news media as their sources. Don’t get sucked into the gossip mill. Not everything the internet/media/TV says is true.
- Nonfiction can be interesting too. 🙂