6 min read ⌚
MicroSummary: “The Audacity of Hope” is former U.S. President Barrack Obama’s second book; and the one in which he expounds his political views and beliefs most clearly and thoroughly. The book covers everything from his opinions on the free market to his understanding of global politics, from his ideas about education to his healthcare strategies. Its main goal: to reclaim the original American dream.
Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
Need we say more?
Here’s our summary.
Who Should Read “The Audacity of Hope”? And Why?
If we were writing this paragraph a few years ago, we would have probably said something along the lines of “every U.S. citizen.” However, it’s been a year since Obama left office and, let’s face it, “The Audacity of Hope” is a book with an agenda. So, some of it may seem outdated.
But, even so, it’s good to contrast and compare the promises of a president with his actual deeds. So, you’ll know better next time around.
About Barrack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II was the first African American president, holding the position from 2009 to 2017.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago, before graduating first from Columbia and then from Harvard Law School. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004, when he ran for the U.S. Senate.
In 2009 Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” He accepted it while claiming that others “were far more deserving” of the honor than him.
Obama left office on January 20, 2017, holding a 60% approval rating. He is usually ranked among the top 15 U.S. presidents in history.
“The Audacity of Hope Summary”
You know this, but it sounds even more fascinating when put into perspective.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in 1968. Barrack Obama won the 56th US presidential elections in 2008. In four decades, the African-Americans went from barely being allowed to enter politics to having the first African-American president elected.
It makes you wonder: perhaps the history of the United States would have been very different if the pollical climate wasn’t infested with so much racism and discrimination!
That’s where the beautifully titled “The Audacity of Hope” starts. In then-senator Obama’s opinion, even 40 years after the shooting of Martin Luther King, America was still suffering from the same lack of empathy. Only now, oppressors targeted different groups.
And the Republicans aren’t aware that they’ve barely moved from the mindset which killed thousands. “You’re responsible for yourself” is not the right message. It’s “We’re all in this together.”
But, then again, the Republicans – and the politicians, in general – can afford to act that way. After all, they have the money and the private jets.
And this is one of the roots of the society’s problems, says Barrack Obama!
Not only that this makes them unaware of the real-life problems which bother regular people, but it also makes them either corrupted or susceptible to corruption.
Bear with us for a second!
How much money do you think you’ll need to raise to win the presidential elections? If you said “a lot,” you’re right! Clinton and Trump, for example, raised about or more than 1 billion dollars!
Do you still believe that a poor person can become the President of the US? And, even worse: do you really think that the donors would not ask for a favor or two after the elections are done?
And what about the media?
Well, safe to say, they have their own interests as well. And, that’s why they’d rather serve half-truths than risk losing the financial support from a certain political group. In other words, they are all but willing to lie to you straightforwardly, if that gets them money.
Well, Barrack Obama believed that he had a solution to this problem: free TV and public funding!
It may sound a bit socialist (were there Republicans who didn’t call Obama a socialist during his tenure?), but it makes sense. Even though, it goes against the better Cold-War-laden judgment that it’s capitalism which brings freedom.
In other words, if the media is private and funded by the politicians, it will work for the politicians. If, however, is public and funded by the people, it will work for the people.
And many of the policies Obama describes in “The Audacity of Hope” are based on this simple idea. Whether it’s education or social security, he is strongly in favor of the idea that the oppressed will stay oppressed unless the Government helps them.
For example, the healthcare system doesn’t work not because it’s public – but because it’s not funded enough. Making it private may mean that it will advance, but it would also mean that its benefits will be reaped only by the rich.
In fact, Barrack Obama says, that’s what’s happening on a daily basis in the United States. And that’s what he intends to change.
Looking back at his presidency, it’s fair to say that, to some extent, he did.
Key Lessons from “The Audacity of Hope”
1. The Laissez-faire Economic Policies Divide the American People
2. The Government Should Always Be on the Side of the Oppressed
3. The Cold War Is Over: The United States Shouldn’t Be a Global Policeman Anymore
The Laissez-faire Economic Policies Divide the American People
If there’s one thing all Republicans agree on is less regulation and government interventions in the economy. Democrats would beg to differ. And Obama spearheads these beliefs.
In his opinion, the market may thrive if completely free, but it won’t fix the inequalities. And that should be the goal of every country. So, the government is responsible for giving everybody the same opportunities.
The Government Should Always Be on the Side of the Oppressed
Speaking of which – the free market never gives a chance to those who are born poor. The government has to stand by their side. Because poor members of the society can’t grant their children neither a good education nor a decent health care.
And, thus, they are stuck in a vicious circle, out of which only the government can take them out.
The Cold War Is Over: The United States Shouldn’t Be a Global Policeman Anymore
The Cold War ended in 1991. In Obama’s views, the United States acts as if it is still happening. But, it’s time to put an end to all unilateral interventions. And, possibly, in the long run, even wars.
Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.
“The Audacity of Hope” QuotesI believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect. Click To Tweet A nation that can't control its energy sources can't control its future. Click To Tweet I wish the country had fewer lawyers and more engineers. Click To Tweet Each path to knowledge involves different rules, and these rules are not interchangeable. Click To Tweet America is big enough to accommodate all their dreams. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“The Audacity of Hope” – from its title to the bulk of its contents – is actually a book-length version of Barrack Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address. As such, the book is primarily meant as a kind of “thesis submission” for U.S. presidency – as former presidential candidate Gary Hurt described it at the time of its publication.
And you might think that there’s no point spending too much time going over Obama’s political views in theory when he had eight years to put them into practice. However, you’ll be wrong!
But, don’t take us wrong: we’re not taking a side. We’re just saying that especially today when many of his policies are reverted by United States’ new President, Donald Trump, it’s very good to have a perspective.
And it doesn’t hurt if you can get a perspective by reading a beautifully written book, pervade with inspiring messages and more than few literary bravados.