The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

The World As It Is

This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes.The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friendship, with a historic president.A young writer and Washington outsider, Ben...

Details The World As It Is

TitleThe World As It Is
Release DateJun 5th, 2018
PublisherBodley Head
GenrePolitics, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, History, Biography

Reviews The World As It Is

  • Malia
    “Progress doesn’t move in a straight line.”― Ben Rhodes, The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House Fellow fans of Pod Save America will recognize Ben Rhodes from his many visits to the podcast, others will know his name as that of Obama's Deputy Security Advisor and confidante. This book is sold as Rhodes memoir, but it is really more the story of the way his life wrapped around the eight years he worked in the White House. Th...
  • Mehrsa
    Man this book was frustrating--on a few levels: 1. Because I so badly miss the obama administration's unassailable good faith and their desire to actually not do stupid shit. 2. Because they did do so much stupid shit because they misunderstood the "other side." Either Assad in Syria, the Republicans, Trump, Bibi, etc. Obama was way too chill to fight. 3. The entire focus seemed to be on foreign policy and that's too bad because there was so much...
  • Pedro Pinheiro
    An interesting and fluid read. The book covers the entire Obama's candidature and terms in office, dwelling especially on foreign policy. The narrative is coloured with personal stories and the author evolution on the job. Highly recommended for people that might be critical of Obama's foreign interventions (or lack thereof). As they say, everything is more complicated than it seems and this book shows that with excellent writing and storytelling...
  • Mal Warwick
    I rarely read political memoirs, because so often they're one-sidedly partisan and self-serving. They tend to lack any sense of balance. For example, though I didn't read Hillary Clinton's book about the 2016 election, I saw enough reviews to know that its primary purpose was to deflect blame for her defeat entirely onto other people, when in fact she herself contributed to the loss in several ways. Similarly, I have little hope for most of the d...
  • Jen
    Rhodes was primarily a communications professional in the Obama White House, so it's not surprising at all that he's a great writer. He made some really complicated foreign policy situations very accessible and as a career bureaucrat myself, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the White House runs kind of like any other agency that I've ever worked for, only on a much larger scale, must faster, with much higher stakes. Two things that really ...
  • Susan
    As I was finishing Ben Rhodes memoir of his years with President Obama's first campaign and eight years in the White House, tears came to my eyes for what we have lost. Rhodes was hired by the campaign for his foreign policy experience since he had worked for former Democratic Representative Lee Hamilton at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a DC think tank. He takes us through the arc of his service from the very first time he...
  • Mike
    I really enjoyed this memoir by Ben Rhodes who was a speechwriter a national security advisor to President Obama for eight years. This book is basically a history of the foreign policy and international relations of the Obama administration. There is very little time spent looking at domestic issues outside of how international issues impact the administration politically.Rhodes writes very well (he has an MFA so that makes sense) and does a grea...
  • Daniel Simmons
    This clear-eyed, beautifully written political bildungsroman left me feeling nostalgic for the foreign policy years of the Obama presidency, and for that administration’s continual striving toward remaking the world as it is into the world as it ought to be.
  • Kate Elizabeth
    This memoir is thoughtful and detailed and beautifully written, so my "meh" reaction to it is hard to explain. Part of it may be political fatigue - living in DC in 2018 will do this to you - and part of it may be that I don't adore foreign policy and this is the story of the Obama presidency told by a former senior foreign policy advisor, Ben Rhodes.Rhodes is a polarizing figure, in that he was a key player in the Iran nuclear deal and in reesta...
  • Harris N. Miller
    Where’s the Beef?Ben Rhodes, by all accounts, including his own, is a good guy. A true patriot who had the opportunity to spend eight years on Obama’s staff as both a speechwriter and a foreign policy advisor and operative. So I began this memoir with high expectations that I would obtain some new insights into Obama, including why he failed to trumpet his successes until it was too late for the American people to have time to process. But my...
  • Summer Sharp
    This was an interesting listen. Not as fascinating as others political books I've listened to. It was easy to walk away. That's usually a sign I'm not fascinated or entertained by a book. It was more into the weeds of foreign policy and events and thoughts going on whenajor policy changes were under way. I'm glad I listened to it though. I feel like I understand more of the subtle undercurrents involved in some of our key international relationsh...
  • Stephanie
    Obama-bestuur beschreven als een man alleen in de arena wijst naar een stier uit het zicht met uit de lucht beschuldigingen dat het boek nauwkeurig beschrijft met verschillende educatieve intuïties, dipolaticly en van politieke neutraliteit. wanneer het in contexten wordt geplaatst, is het een em-ingenieursmodel van domino's in gang gezet met de administratie en nauwelijks geëffectueerd met de machtsverschuiving in het huis. Buitenlandse commun...
  • Geoffrey Clapp
    Outstanding. Not a simple "here's what we did and why I was right" memoir we see so often as administrations turn over, but a unique view of the administration through the changing eyes of the author through success and failure. As one of the only members of the Obama administration who was there on the first and last days, Ben Rhodes provides a unique insight to the changes of the staff, changes in our politics, and changes in Obama that very fe...
  • Samuel
    Necessary read to complete your Obama staffer reading set. Also, I didn’t think I could admire Obama and disdain Bibi Netanyahu more than I already do and this book proved me wrong on both (side note: what on earth are “lateral” meetings, uni, bi, or multi, got zero clue what they mean and everyone keeps using it).
  • Joe
    An evocative portrayal of President Obama disguised as the memoir from an eight year inner circle staffer. The Obama of Ben Rhodes's story seems more human, less polished than in other accounts. Though there still is a bit of hero worship baked into his reminiscing, Rhodes shows us the Obama on display between the many drafts of speeches and statements. From telling the press pool aboard the back of Air Force One that he wants the Obama doctrine ...
  • Chris Casey
    A tremendously enjoyable and insightful read, which is also, too soon, sadly nostalgic for 'The America As It Was', led by a smart, thoughtful, articulate, and empathetic human being in President Obama. Thank you @brhodes for your service to him, and to all of us, and for the great job you did here sharing that experience.
  • Mary Ann
    I'll admit this was something I sort of slogged through at times. In part, I was distracted by two of my passions, FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon, as well as a disturbing week of DJT's European and Russian visits. In addition, although the book is quite well-written, not a great deal of it is new ground. That's okay. Since people seldom write letters or keep journals these days, contemporary accounts by individuals are not only interesting but may ...
  • Nancy
    I read this book because Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's communications director who focused on foreign policy, is a Friend of The Pod. It is a must read for all Pod Save America listeners.But I wasn't sure I'd be enthralled since foreign policy isn't something I'm as focused on or know much about. That was an unfound fear. The writing is clear, the locations and policies are well explained (without belaboring any points), and Ben's interaction with b...
  • Sondos Shapsogh
    This is an interesting memoir by Ben Rhodes, with so many notable accomplishments by Obama administration where Rhodes took an active part in. However, on the flip side, a reader might feel Obama seemed to focus more on foreign policy than concentrating equally on domestic affairs of the American people. The memoir also reveals how much Obama to deal with from the Republicans, including racism and opposition to his policies. Finally, a reader mig...
  • Andrea
    A REALLY terrific read. Thank you to Ben Rhodes for reminding us and bringing forth a wonderful tribute to President Obama and the other wonderful people that populated that era. We knew it was a difficult to be honest, dedicated, steadfast, hardworking and smart in Washington, DC but this book brings that home to us. It's a beautiful thing.
  • Kate
    I loved this book - which gives you an inside look at some of the foreign policy decisions made during the Obama administration - but it also made me incredibly sad. Because the world is a wondrous place and learning about different places, trying to come together on what we can agree on, it is what we should do. I miss my world under a president who believed those ideals.
  • Brian Jacobson
    I stared tearing up multiple times because our country lacks the leadership exemplified in this book. Short of him Obama himself, Ben Rhodes is probably the only person who could write such an honest, stunning account of the Obama presidency. Such a great read.
  • Marcia King
    The road from idealism to realityI wasn’t a big fan of Obama when he was President. I was wrong. Ben Rhodes does an outstanding job discussing the reasons for decisions, giving context to the headlines, and describing the intelligent manner in which the White House operated. I still don’t agree with everything President Obama did. But I understand better and truly miss having a well-read, strategic, intelligent man in the White House. History...
  • Miko Lee
    Captivating and fascinating memoir of the Obama White House from speech writer, foreign policy expert and right wing target. A wonderful behind the scenes look at how complicated and important the work of the Obama tenure was. For the political junkies out there.
  • Cesar
    The world as it is, is a disgusting and cruel place. More-so in contemporary American politics. At the same time, the world as it is, is filled with people like Ben Rhodes and Barack Obama who continue to push the moral arc of the universe towards justice. Like the zig-zags of human progress, this book made me both incredibly jaded yet filled me with an undying hope for the future of our country. Even when face to face with the fiercest oppositio...
  • Walden
    rare window into the intricacies of foreign policy making and how the Obama makes tough decisions
  • Robin Case
    Ok, readable inside account of the Obama White House. Not particularly insightful. A little dull. I used the audio version.
  • Ken Hamner
    Mostly hero worship and a spin job on the facts. Pretty disappointing.
  • Tom Kammerer
    Nothing but admiration for the author and his boss, proud of the job they did and the world as it was then; disgusted by the leadership we have now