Leaders: Hillary Rodham Clinton

I just finished reading HRC by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. The book is mostly the inside politics of Hillary’s years as Secretary of State. Overall it is a fawning hagiography that doesn’t question anything she did as Secretary of State. President Bush and Romney (and Republicans) are dealt with derisively. The authors repeatedly trumpet what they call her use of ‘smart power’ (even if that doesn’t really mean anything) and they are still suggesting that Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video.

Luckily, however, the bulk of the book deals with the inside politics of the Administration. Regardless of her ideology, I am always interested in what things a successful leader does to reach out to people and build her circle of influence. I am also interested in seeing the strategy that got them where they are.

Hillary had one staff member after her campaign for President ended whose only job was to get out over 16,000 thank you letters. When she left the State Department she sent out 811 personalized thank you letters. The book relates small everyday things she does, such as calling to congratulate small local politicians on their victories. In other words she is constantly reaching out to people to thank and recognize them. This is something all of us could be better at.

Her staff (and Bill) closely monitors who their friends and enemies are, keeping track of who supported her in 2008 and who betrayed her. In addition they are keeping close tabs on what everyone is doing and, again, recognizing them for their accomplishments.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. It was an easy read and interesting.