September 20, 2012

Obama's Way

Michael Lewis spent 6 months with Barack Obama, and wrote a profile about his day-to-day life as president that just came out in Vanity Fair. It's really worth a read, all 13,898 words of it. It will make the gravity of your daily decisions probably feel a whole lot less weighty than they did before you read it. On numerous occasions, Lewis alludes to Obama's incredible warmth and authenticity that are moving:
“There are some things about being president that I still have difficulty doing,” he said. “For example, faking emotion. Because I feel it is an insult to the people I’m dealing with. For me to feign outrage, for example, feels to me like I’m not taking the American people seriously. I’m absolutely positive that I’m serving the American people better if I’m maintaining my authenticity. And that’s an overused word. And these days people practice being authentic. But I’m at my best when I believe what I am saying.”
And on hearing people out and priorities:
His desire to hear out junior people is a warm personality trait as much as a cool tactic, of a piece with his desire to play golf with White House cooks rather than with C.E.O.’s and basketball with people who treat him as just another player on the court; to stay home and read a book rather than go to a Washington cocktail party; and to seek out, in any crowd, not the beautiful people but the old people. The man has his stat­us needs, but they are unusual. And he has a tendency, an unthinking first step, to subvert established stat­us structures. After all, he became president.
Spend 45 minutes reading this tonight.

Related: Terry Gross interviews Michael Lewis about the process of writing the VF piece