In this feature of the Washington Watch, WW will primarily recommend books you may find interesting but may also mention a TV program or other things. I welcome your suggestions and your input. What have you been reading or watching that you think WW readers might like?
The Yellow Pad: Making Better Decisions in an Uncertain Word
Robert E Rubin
Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, shares thoughts on decision-making developed over more than six decades in markets, business, government, and politics, and offers readers an astute and original guide for navigating uncertain times
In 1958, as a college sophomore, Robert Rubin took a class that changed his life. The class was introduction to philosophy, and the professor, Raphael Demos, instilled in his students an idea that was simple yet profound: There is no such thing as certainty. For Rubin, this led to a critically important question: How can we make sound decisions in a fundamentally uncertain world?
While serving in some of the most significant roles in markets, business, and government, Rubin has grappled with that question. Time and again, when faced with a high-stakes decision, he turned to his most trusted tool: a simple yellow legal pad. Rubin’s yellow pad (or more recently, his iPad) became an expression of a larger decision-making philosophy that has both lasted and shaped a lifetime. In The Yellow Pad, Rubin lays out that philosophy with depth and detail, and presents a compelling intellectual framework for confronting some of the most difficult issues we face today.
The Yellow Pad contains a former Treasury secretary’s approach to economic policymaking. A former Goldman Sachs senior partner’s approach to personal investing and understanding risk. A former director of the National Economic Council’s approach to managing people in both private- and public-sector organizations. And much more. Yet despite his lifetime of experiences, Rubin remains refreshingly open-minded, interested in exploring ideas rather than promoting ideologies. With its combination of wisdom and relevance, The Yellow Pad is an essential guide for anyone looking to make better decisions in life, work, and public policy.
Luke Russert: The Biography of Luke Russert
An Emmy award winning American broadcast news correspondent, who worked for NBC News from 2008 to 2016. His reporting was seen on NBC Nightly News, TODAY, NBCNews site, and MSNBC. He also was a guest anchor on various MSNBC programs, including Andrea Mitchell Reports and Way Too Early. In May 2023, after seven years away from media, Russert’s travel memoir, “Look For Me There” about his three-and-a-half year journey through six continents and sixty-five plus countries is slated for publication.
What was it like growing up as the son of Tim Russert, one of the most respected journalists in the country, how did Luke cope with the devastating loss of his father, what role did his faith play in helping him through that difficult time, and why exactly did he resign from NBC?
This biography is a must-read, for it tells the intensely human story of a truly exceptional man who is changing the world the way nobody else can
The Joy of Politics: Surviving Cancer, A Campaign, a Pandemic, an Insurrection, and Life’s Unexpected Curveballs
An intimate and revelatory memoir―on personal challenges, political turmoil, and the state of American democracy―from one of the most effective voices in politics, Amy Klobuchar.
During the past few years, as our country has faced unprecedented challenges, Senator Klobuchar has been in the room where it happens―on the Senate floor for critical votes during the pandemic, at the debate podium during one of the most critical presidential elections in US history, and in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when insurrectionists stormed the building, interrupting the certification of the electoral college. It was well past midnight when Klobuchar stood beside then-Vice President Pence to officially certify President Biden’s victory.
In her candid, honest, and at times bitingly funny memoir, the pragmatic senator shares insider stories from these historic moments, while also inviting readers into her personal life. An underdog in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign, she built surprising early momentum–only to suspend her candidacy in order to support Joe Biden. Within weeks of returning to work in the Senate, the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 hit her family directly. Her husband got very sick and spent a week in the hospital on oxygen and a month in isolation. Klobuchar shares her experience facing a cancer diagnosis while watching her beloved father succumb to Alzheimer’s. She recounts the dramatic narrative of January 6 and how close we came to losing our democracy. And, with her signature humor, she reveals what it’s like to work with some of her more…well, interesting…colleagues.
At the crux of these stories is a narrative of resilience – of personal resilience and the resilience of a nation – and, improbably joy.
The Story of Nursing and its Power to Change Our World
“DiGregorio’s storytelling is pitch-perfect; narrative and nursing, she understands, come from the same place and both are concerned with a deep understanding of character and plot…This is a brilliant book, and DiGregorio is a beautiful writer. Taking Care deserves to be on the reading list for nursing and medical schools, and on the bedside table of all politicians.” – New York Times Book Review
In this sweeping cultural history of nursing from the Stone Age to the present, the critically acclaimed author of Early pays homage to the profession and makes an urgent call for change.
Nurses have always been vital to human existence. A nurse was likely there when you were born and a nurse might well be there when you die. Familiar in hospitals and doctors’ offices, these dedicated health professionals can also be found in schools, prisons, and people’s homes; at summer camps; on cruise ships, and even at NASA. Yet despite being celebrated during the Covid-19 epidemic, nurses are often undermined and undervalued in ways that reflect misogyny and racism, and that extend to their working conditions—and affect the care available to everyone. But the potential power of nursing to create a healthier, more just world endures.
The story of nursing is complicated. It is woven into war, plague, religion, the economy, and our individual lives in myriad ways. In Taking Care, journalist Sarah DiGregorio chronicles the lives of nurses past and tells the stories of those today—caregivers at the vital intersection of health care and community who are actively changing the world, often invisibly. An absorbing and empathetic work that combines storytelling with nuanced reporting, Taking Care examines how we have always tried to care for each other—the incredible ways we have succeeded and the ways in which we have failed. Fascinating, empowering, and significant, it is a call for change and a love letter to the nurses of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution
Comedic actor, producer, and writer Rainn Wilson, cofounder of the media company SoulPancake, explores the problem-solving benefits that spirituality gives us to create solutions for an increasingly challenging world.
The trauma that our struggling species has experienced in recent years—because of both the pandemic and societal tensions that threaten to overwhelm us—is not going away anytime soon. Existing political and economic systems are not enough to bring the change that the world needs. In this book, Rainn Wilson explores the possibility and hope for a spiritual revolution, a “Soul Boom,” to find a healing transformation on both a personal and global level
For Wilson, this is a serious and essential pursuit, but he brings great humor and his own unique perspective to the conversation. He feels that, culturally, we’ve discounted spirituality—faith and the sacred—and we need profound healing and a unifying understanding of the world that the great spiritual traditions provide. Wilson’s approach to spirituality—the non-physical, eternal aspects of ourselves—is relatable and applies to people of all beliefs, even the skeptics. Filled with genuine insight—not to mention enlightening Kung Fu and Star Trek references—Soul Boom delves into ancient wisdom to seek out practical, transformative answers to life’s biggest questions.
The Daddy Diaries
New York Times bestselling author Andy Cohen goes from bottle service to baby bottles in a hilarious, heartwarming, and name-dropping account of the most important year of his life.
Andy Cohen has taken on the most important job of his life―father―and boy (and girl!) does he have a lot to say about it!
One of Andy Cohen’s most momentous years starts off with a hangover the morning after an epic New Year’s Eve broadcast. But Andy doesn’t have time to dwell on the drama, as his role as media mogul is now matched with the responsibilities, joys, and growing pains of parenthood.
This fast-paced, mile-a-minute look behind the scenes of living the so-called glamorous life in Manhattan now takes firm aim at life at home. With a three-year-old son, Ben, and a daughter, Lucy, born in May, stories of late-night parties are replaced by early mornings with Ben, drama at the playground, and the musings of a single dad trying to navigate having it all. All this is set against the backdrop of constant Housewives drama, hijinks behind the scenes at Watch What Happens Live, a revolving door of famous faces, and a worried mother (and newly minted grandmother) in St. Louis.
Buckle up, bottle up, and get ready for a laugh-out-loud and surprisingly poignant look at the ways in which family changes everything and the superficial gets very real. Watch what happens!