In my on-going quest to find the next “West Wing,” I came across Alyssa Mastromonaco’s book, “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House.” I know you aren’t supposed to, but I totally do judge books by their cover. The cover of this book intrigued me because it’s the author sitting on Air Force One with President Obama sitting on the arm of a chair in a relaxed but kind of perplexed fashion. My initial thought was this would be the insider view of the inner workings of the White House and in some degree it is. But also the cover made me think this author was about 25 years old. She is not, by the way, but she mentions several times in the book that she looks younger than her actual age and sometimes it did not work in her favor.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Once you get past how much Mastromonaco cusses it really is interesting to read how she grew up in a working-class, normal family. She did not have a private school, ivy league education. She was/is simply a hard worker that was confident in her skill set and took risks when she felt they were necessary. Throughout the book she gives little tips, if you will, and a story to back up said tip. Some of my favorites were:
Like most women I know, I ultimately want to be likeable and trustworthy–as well as glamorous–but it’s important to take baby steps.
I have come to believe that hard work and a good attitude can get you farther than you could ever dream, and unfortunately, this is a really basic lesson that doesn’t come up in most career advice.
You should always be prepared to defend your choices, whether just to yourself (sometimes this is the hardest) or to your coworkers, your friends, or your family.
Learning how to become a decision maker, and how you ultimately justify your choices, can define who you are.
For me, leadership has always been much more about rallying people around a project or a cause than about being held up as the The Boss.
From the beginning of my career in politics, I had a personally imposed policy about swimming in my lane and not over-commenting on things I wasn’t an expert on.
Never brag about your ability to type. It will never get you anywhere you really want to be.
We are all replaceable. Life goes on, but that doesn’t mean it feels good.
Being resilient means being honest: You have to admit when you’re struggling. Usually, someone will help you.
Over and over in my life, I’ve been bowled over by how kind people can be, and how that kindness can change your outlook.
When I finished this book I sent a text to a friend of mine whose child wants to work in public service, I told her that they needed to read this book. There are so many interesting aspects in this book: working in the White House, hard work pays off, women can work in men dominated places and be okay, and you don’t have to be bread in the ivy league world to be successful.
I would recommend this book to a broad scope of people. Do you find the internal workings of the White House interesting? Read this book. Are you a young female wanting to work in a male dominated world? Read this book. Are you a female currently working in a male dominated field? Read this book. Do you want to work in public service one day? Read this book. Do you like biographies? Read this book? Do you know a millennial? Read this book. See, almost anyone would enjoy this book.
I did review this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in purchasing this book here is the link to Amazon.