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Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  2,888 Ratings  ·  328 Reviews
“I wrote this book because I love my country and I'm concerned about our future,” writes Bill Clinton. “As I often said when I first ran for President in 1992, America at its core is an idea—the idea that no matter who you are or where you're from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll have the freedom and opportunity to pursue your own dreams and leave your kids ...more
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dave B.
I think this book matches with Al Gore's "The Assault on Reason." Clinton provides a well thought out (although partisan) view of US government downsizing from the end of his 'golden era' (1997) administration to Obama’s midterm point (approximately September 2010). If you can get past the democratic slant, anti-tea party pings, and self praising hints I promise this book will provide some valid insights to our economic down fall. Clinton provides a survey level explanation of the relationships ...more
David A.
Jan 28, 2012 David A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1992 I voted in a presidential election for the second time. My candidate was Ross H. Perot; having graduated from college into a fumbling economy in which I couldn't find gainful employment, I remember telling people that I thought a president with good business sense would be worth four years of disregard for civil rights.

Based at least partly on the sway of weird voters like myself toward Perot, Bill Clinton was elected to his first of two presidential terms, and the United States enjoyed
This book is basically Clinton’s own brainstorming about what should be changed in the US economic policies. He provides some interesting ideas, the writing is fresh and with a lot of financial data. It has some flaws, like he uses examples of actions he took during his government that cannot be applied today since the world economy –not only the US economy- has radically changed since then. Also, the ideas he points as working well in other countries cannot be simply copied and applied to the A ...more
Joe Robles
Dec 15, 2011 Joe Robles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I can actually point to 3 things I think made this book really good.

1. President Clinton used data from what works in other countries and from local governments to make the case for his suggestions and initiatives. This is a problem with many people who push policy. They ignore when something similar was tried elsewhere (whether to good or bad result). If a program has been tried, then expand it. It takes a little of the risk of investment out of the solution.

2. The b
Nov 09, 2011 Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old Bill is as Partisan as ever in this little book, and although his denial of responsibility for creating the path to financial destruction through massive deregulation in the financial sector by his administration was probably the saddest thing I've ever read, I still think that he makes a lot of valid points in this book. I just wish he would admit that eliminating Glass-Steagall was a really big mistake. I mean, nobody could have really seen the financial crisis coming back then, and I don' ...more
Leanna Pohevitz
Aug 22, 2014 Leanna Pohevitz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were many times reading this book where I was frustrated that actions were not already being taken in certain fields. I appreciate how he lays out strategies and policies of other countries that are doing better than the US in things like energy consumption and clean energy production and jobs creation and explains how they could work in the US. The problem is that all 60+ of his ideas would take years of implementation when facing a split Congress. I took quite a lot of notes, because som ...more
Dec 10, 2011 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
The most frequently used words in this book are first person pronouns:
"I did this"
"my administration"
"my Foundation"
"the Clinton Global Initiative"
which leads me to believe he really did write the book himself. You can hear his voice throughout. It's always all about him. Sometimes this tone becomes intrusive and you find yourself counting the "I"s.

While Clinton does offer a good outlook on the problems (limited bank loans, dismal education rankings, etc.) and comprehensively lists over 30 "solu
Mar 10, 2013 Deanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is brilliant in so many ways - primarily because of Bill Clinton's effortless explanation of the complicated facts that lead to the recession of 2008 (dating all the way back to Reaganomics) and how he was able to make it comprehensive. This book is not just another example of a liberal screaming at the Tea Partiers about what the other side has done wrong but a clever, collected, educated approach at trying to fix the biggest problem in our country today.
Christian Stevenson

Fantastic read full of common sense, non-partisan ideas. I also appreciated the logical dismantling of the radical anti-government movement. Don't read this because you're a conservative or liberal or because you love/hate Clinton. Read it because you want an education on what we can all be doing to advance our communities and country.

If you are a Clinton fan, I'd highly suggest the audio version as Bubba reads it himself.
Scott Asher
Apr 08, 2012 Scott Asher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
In America today, we suffer from high unemployment, two wars and a couple of non-war war-like engagements, the looming threat of Iran and a Middle East filled with unrest, an economy that is stagnant and threatening to tumble down again, and two political parties that seem to believe that their only job is to thwart each other. Where are those who can speak calm into this storm with ideas instead of complaints and finger pointing? Apparently, only former Presidents.

Back to Work
Why We Need Smart
Mar 16, 2012 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was watching a sitting U.S. Senator being interviewed on television yesterday. He was promoting his new book on global warming. The premise of the book is that global warming is a great hoax. Hmmmph. That may well be (NOT!), but even if the premise of his book is correct, he could not convince me of that. In response to the interviewer's simple questions, the senator offered rambling commentary about his "favorite" liberals, claimed not to know of prominent members of a foreign government in a ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Kira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s rather odd to inaugurate my presidential reading with Back to Work, since far more interesting and memorable books have been written by holders of the office—Obama’s The Audacity of Hope and Clinton’s My Life among them. At the same time, I wish there were more opportunities to read a politician’s general worldviews in fewer than 200 pages, with supporting data, examples and an extremely limited amount of doublespeak. Way back in the day, I somewhat lampooned Arianna Huffington for wasting ...more
Mar 11, 2012 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: policy wonks
The president has tons and tons of ideas in this slim book. He strongly feels that clean energy could be an excellent way to get Americans back to work. He mentions this concept several times in this book. Reading this reminded me of what observers used to say about Clinton: His intelligence is formidable. He can study up on a subject and have it under his belt and thinking of solutions while most of us are still trying to figure out the original subject. He really is a wonk. A lot of his ideas ...more
Joseph Raffetto
Nov 12, 2011 Joseph Raffetto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Bill Clinton is so smart concerning the economy. It's amazing that some of his more common sense ideas never are even discussed.

Back to Work is a rebuke to the Tea Party as well as an opportunity for President Clinton to align himself with President Obama's policies. It also gives him the chance to relive his 1990s glory years. However, this is not a blueprint or budget, it's a collection of ideas on how to get the economy moving again. It's also a a rallying cry concerning the economic challeng
Dec 13, 2011 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has two sections, which differed drastically in their quality.

The first section discusses how our current economic situation got to be so bad. I found this part of the book to be a political, partisan hack job and I wish that I would have known to skip over this portion of the book, since it lowered my esteem for President Clinton.

The second part is a giant list of recommendations for things that would help lower the unemployment rate. I found this list to be non-ideological (there a
Clinton has well researched, legitimate criticisms of anti-government policy and sentiment; pointing out time and time again where the results don't match the ideology. But his writing style was just plain boring. I could picture him droning on and on, shaking his fist all the the while. It's not that I don't agree with a lot of what he had to say, he just needs to polish the delivery of his message. So for that he gets 2 stars instead of 3.

Also, instead of making me feel hopeful about all the
Stan Lanier
Love him or hate him, you deny the intelligence of Bill Clinton at your own peril. Regardless of Christopher Hitchens, I love the man. It is so refreshing to read such a clearly written book, wonkish as its longest chapter is. Some commentators have said President Clinton has let himself off light for his part in laying the groundwork for the conditions which when exacerbated by President Cheney (oops, I mean Bush)became the Great Recession. One does need to be an expert to judge the merits of a ...more
Bryan Clagett
This is a worthwhile read if you are looking for some intelligent insight into our current economic chaos and political stalmate. Bill spends a little too much time focused on his administration's successes. He points to the hits and misses of the Obama administration and is scathing to the Tea Party (no surprise here). Overall, he is respectful of democracy and has several good points, in my opinion, with regard to how we can get America moving forward.

He overemphasized how pro-environmental e
Bobby Simic
Concise and to-the-point, the former President offers insight on our current econonomic status and the surrounding political climate that has hindered much of the progress that could be made if "we could all just get along." Clinton provides actions in the second half that could get the U.S. onto the road to recovery.

Honestly, much of it went over my head (I've never had much of a head for finances and government), which is why I chose not to assign it any rating, but I still got a lot out of it
Anna Hanson
Dec 01, 2011 Anna Hanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly candid and relatively unbiased analysis of the current job crisis in the United States, the book presents what I felt were solid ideas for doing *something* to get the economy moving again, instead of focusing on who to blame for the mess. I read it in hope, wishing everyone could try to look at options as clearly and impartially, rather than getting tripped up over partisan propaganda.
Roland Martinez
Nov 29, 2011 Roland Martinez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those of you that like economics, Bill's plan is basically a plan to boost open economy national savings. I think it's fantastic. I really wish he would cut out the name dropping and backslapping though. You can't serve another term, so quit campaigning. Great book but you can tell it was written by a politician.
Nov 10, 2011 Brock rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I thought I'd like this book a lot more than I did. I think Bill Clinton is largely right in his worldview about government, its role, and its worthwhile goals, but I felt like the ideas were punctuated with defenses of his presidency, and that made me feel like I was reading his political memoir and not a proposition for America's future.
This was interesting and I kept finding myself wondering why I didn't think of some of these things that he was suggesting. However, some of his suggestions are a bit pie in the sky and could never be effectively implemented.
Nov 13, 2011 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, economics
Unless you're an avid armchair economist, Back to Work is pretty dull reading: dry, technical, and more than a little self-serving. It's also a plea for Americans to put more trust in government...though, to me, more of our trust is one thing our government hasn't been too deserving of lately.
Nov 22, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Common sense...We have stopped using it and let greed take over. Tsk tsk..
Feb 03, 2012 Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by former President Bill Clinton

“Back to Work...” is a pragmatic book that provides a history of what worked and didn't over the recent thirty years , and why government still matters. President Bill Clinton needs no formal introduction, his opinion and expertise matters. He provides a unique, and a matter-of-fact approach on what needs to be done to achieve a strong economy. This 208-page book is composed of the following six chapt
Nov 30, 2012 8588cee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Lyons
Jun 21, 2017 Joe Lyons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The former president gives sage advice to what it will take to increase jobs in America. He goes way passed rhetoric and political divides, to show what really needs to happen to get America back to work. I recommend this book for everyone, on either side of the isle.
Mar 29, 2012 Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bill Clinton is still highly engaged in saving the world even though he has left elective office. He clearly is still very closely following the Washington game, while at the same time jetting around the world in support of the work of the Clinton Foundation. In this book, written in 2011 after the last US mid-term elections of November 2010, he both analyzes what ails this country and proposes many ways to solve these problems. He's a man who wants his opinions heard, and he has a lot of them, ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"America at its core is an idea -- the idea that no matter who you are or where you're from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll have the freedom and opportunity to pursue your own dreams and leave your kids a country where they can chase theirs...Work is about more than making a living...It's fundamental to human dignity, to our sense of self-worth as useful, independent, free people..."

Whatever your political leanings, you'd foolish indeed to disagree with that notion. I am a textbo
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William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III) was the forty-second President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. He was the third-youngest president, older only than Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. He became president at the end of the Cold War, and is known as the first baby boomer president, as he was born in the period after World War II. He is the hu ...more
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“In other words, our constitution was designed by people who were idealistic but not ideological. There's a big difference. You can have a philosophy that tends to be liberal or conservative but still be open to evidence, experience, and argument. That enables people with honest differences to find practical, principled compromise. On the other hand, fervent insistence on an ideology makes evidence, experience, and arguments irrelevant: If you possess the absolute truth, those who disagree are by definition wrong, and evidence of success or failure is irrelevant. There is nothing to learn from the experience of other countries. Respectful arguments are a waste of time. Compromise is weakness. And if your policies fail, you don't abandon them; instead, you double down, asserting that they would have worked if only they had been carried to their logical extreme.” 12 likes
“The antigovernment paradigm blinds us to possibilities that lie outside its ideological litmus tests and prevents us from creating new networks of cooperation that can restore economic growth, bring economic opportunity to more people and places, and increase our ability to lead the world to a better future.” 0 likes
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