Cover Image: Yes We (Still) Can

Yes We (Still) Can

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Member Reviews

Dan Pfeiffer gives readers his honest, humorous, and educated thoughts.  His voice is clear, the technique conversational, and  the tone optimistic.  I so appreciated the way he laid out the history of the Obama campaigns and his time in the service of President Obama.  If, like me, you were an Obama/Biden supporter and volunteer,  Dan's writing will take you immediately back, evoking the feelings of hope and possibility.  This book was not a lecture, but rather a roadmap of how we got to this place in our nation's history and how we move forward.  Mr. Pfeiffer admits we (Democrats) got it wrong in 2016, which is quite refreshing.  
In short, whether you are new to that voting thing, or an old hand, Yes, We (Still) Can is entertaining as well as educational.  If I have one criticism,  it's a personal preference, there are so many footnotes to each chapter that I became a bit lost on my kindle.  The constant back and forth to the footnotes, though hugely amusing, got old after awhile.
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Entertaining for sure. Sure to capture the readers attention especially in this current political state of the country.
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I was super excited to get a copy of DanPfeifer’s book Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump from Twelve Books and NetGalley in return for my honest review. 

If you know and love Crooked Media and Pod Save America, as I do, you will love this book. If you aren’t familiar with them/him, and you enjoy stories by political insiders, you will love this book. If you are a fan of the 45th President, you probably won’t like it or him/them.

Dan Pfeiffer was President Obama's communications director and he currently co-hosts the insanely popular podcast  Pod Save America with Jon Favreau, who became Obama’s chief speechwriter despite being in his mid-twenties. These guys have a combination of political savvy and millenial viewpoint that are a refreshing change from the tomes that are churned by the “same old political hacks,”as my friend calls them.

After the disastrous (from his – and my—point of view) election of 2016, Pfeiffer was stunned and disheartened, because he had spent years working for Obama, and wasn’t quite prepared for the new Administration. He decided to write about the way politics had changed since Obama’s election in 2008, the role of social media and changing communication methods and styles impacted elections, and how we could keep from going crazy as we try to right the ship.

My favorite things about this book, aside from his wicked sense of humor, is the way he works hard to explain why everyone (including him!) got it wrong in 2016, and his advice to  Democrats about where we can go from here. This is perfect for  people who miss Obama and are appalled/disturbed/frightened by the new President. Four stars.
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I must admit that if I’d paid for this book I’d be inclined to ask for my money back. The title suggests it’s a blueprint for the future, while it’s actually a mixture of memoir, venting and punditry on the past.

Former White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer takes us through a series of vignettes from his journey into politics, his days on the Obama campaign, some of the key issues he faced in the Obama White House, his decision to leave, what he did on his gap break (Southeast Asia, man!), his marriage, his CNN gig, Hillary’s defeat, and, finally, you get a few bullet points on what we might have learnt from all this on how to defeat Trump.

I’m a little unsure who the audience is for this. If you’re into US politics most of it will be stuff you already know – the standoffs with Republicans over Obamacare and the shutdown, the day-to-day dilemmas over how best to present Obama to a wider audience, the tan suit (remember when that was considered a presidential scandal?).

However if you’re unfamiliar with all this and coming to the book wanting to learn more, you might flounder. There is no clear explanation of the issues behind the anecdotes. The names of key people are thrown in with no explanation of who they are. Stories are set up and not paid off.

Maybe you will share Pfeiffer’s disappointment that he didn’t get the Director of Communications job in Obama’s first administration and learnt of someone else’s appointment via an email. But in the next chapter he is Director of Communications, with no clue as to how that transition took place.

Pfeiffer may have some unique insights into life inside the West Wing but if he has he isn’t sharing them. Instead he tells stories that are ostensibly self-deprecating, like when he was waiting for anaesthetic to take effect ahead of surgery and accidentally sent a tweet where he had meant to use the word ‘bigger’ but had, in his haze, replaced the ‘b’ with an ‘n’. It’s actually more of a humblebrag – I was hospitalised three times and I still wouldn’t take time off work!

I’m a big fan of the Pod Save America podcast, hosted by Pfeiffer and three fellow former Obama aides. They regularly delve into questions of the future direction of the Democrats and the strategies that they need to defeat the Republicans, as well as highlighting the work of grassroots activists and more radical approaches. I was expecting that depth and specificity from this book but I was disappointed.
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Well written, engaging and entertaining, "Yes we (Still) Can" is part memoir of Pfeffier's days in as an advisor to Barrack Obama and part analysis of politics/elections today.  Several well taken points on how to move forward in the age of Trumpism and social media.  Highly recommend.
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An adrenaline-charged, terrific read by Dan Pfeiffer, Obama's Director of Communications and later Senior Advisor.  From the early days (he was one of Obama's first hires) to his last day in the White House, Pfeiffer details his life in the "fishbowl." When I read Alyssa Mastromonaco's recommendation, I knew I'd enjoy Pfeiffer's  wit, insight and wisdom. Mastromonaco's book Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, is also first-rate. Highly recommend. Who knew politics could be so exciting? Don't miss this outstanding memoir.
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As a fan of Pod Save America, this book was everything I expected it to be-interesting, informative, and peppered with fun anecdotes about Pfeiffer's time in the White House.
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