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All Too Human by George Stephanopoulos

All Too Human

A Political Education

by George Stephanopoulos

Title Details

Abridged Edition
Running Time
3 Hrs.
User Rating
  5.0  Stars Based on 3 ratings


For four years in the White House and one year of campaigning before that, he was rarely more than a few steps behind Bill Clinton. As the president's senior adviser, George Stephanopoulos saw it all: the endless arguments, the back-hall scheming, the protracted decisions, and the last minute flip-flops that somehow produced real accomplishments but also set in motion an almost tragic series of events that placed the fate of the president in the hands of the Senate. Now, with the natural ease of a born storyteller and the sensitive eye for detail of a novelist, Stephanopoulos tells an extraordinarily gripping story of human foible and frailty in high places that is destined to be one of the great political memoirs of our age. Stephanopoulos also tells, in his own voice, his story, of how his drives, vanities, and insecurities, along with everyone else's peppered the playing field of the biggest game in town.

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Reviewer Donald
 February 17, 2006
This Text Refers to the Soft Cover Edition:

This book says a lot about our governmental processes that suggests room for improvement. Most people will think about the book from a political, ethical or personal perspective, so I thought it would be helpful to consider the management lessons instead.

As portrayed in All Too Human, the Clinton administration displayed many of the most significant forms of "stalled" thinking that delay human progress. For example, decisions were often made at the last minute or delayed for months, unnecessarily (deomonstrating the procrastination stall). A contributing factor was that everyone was allowed their say, time and time again, making for a hopeless bureaucrataic stall. This tendency led to little time to decide what to say about the decision after it had made so a lot of miscommunications occur (creating communications stalls). The people in the White House often did not know how they were supposed to do their jobs (contributing to a misconception stall). They were also slow to understand that the voter anger that led to the Republican success in 1994 was something they were going to have to accommodate (the result of a disbelief stall). Further, the administration did not want anyone to look too closely at controversial areas about the Clinton's past dealings (an ugly duckling stall that affected the credibility of those who defended actions that later turned out to be different than initially portrayed). Two centuries of government had also developed a lot of precedent that made lawyers and poltical advisors limit the President's choices (exhibiting the tradition stall).

Perhaps the most significant lesson is that the administration was slow to perceive that creating good processes for managing government was important. This seems related to the inexperience of many with government at the national level, and the extreme talent of the people at the top who felt confident that they could "wing it" successfully. The good news is that beginning with Leon Panetta's appointment, the White House learned to put more stock in management processes.

One lesson of All Too Human is that humans can learn, improve by learning from their mistakes, and go on to make great progress. That seems to have begun to happen before Mr. S. left the White House. With Robert Rubin at Treasury, we saw the contrast of a well-functioning management process.

The potential is still there for 2,000 percent solutions (getting 20 times the normal rate of progress or the same progress in 1/20 the amount of time). Our economic performance versus the rest of the world seems to be headed in that direction. With better government processes (to elect and to govern), we can hope for an even brighter tomorrow.

Every serious person who wants to learn how to manage better (and citizen who wants to mprove our country) MUST READ THIS BOOK. This is especially timely as we end the 2004 presidential election campaign. I hope the candidates are asked early and often about how they will improve on the management processes described in this book. May the best process improver win!

Donald Mitchell

More Details

  • Published: 1999
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: A000328
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