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Life's a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  217 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Chris Matthews is like no other TV interviewer. Life’s a Campaign is like no other book on success.

Famous for demanding the truth from his Hardball guests, Chris Matthews now reveals what the people running this country rarely confess: the secrets of how they got to the top. Here is the first book on power with insight snatched from those who wield it. Life’s a Campaign e
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Published October 2nd 2007 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2007)
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Dec 27, 2007 Rachel rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political staffer wannabes.
Shelves: work-related
This book was alright: it was occasionally interesting and a welcome distraction while I did my time on the elliptical machine, but overall it was just an innocuous piece of fluff and an ego trip for Chris Matthews. I'm glad I was able to borrow a copy rather than pay for one. Matthews' recipe for success and playing well with others is neither groundbreaking nor insightful. A reader could save himself some time by flipping directly to the "Bottom Line" summaries at the end of each chapter - str ...more
Pris robichaud

You Can't Win Unless You're In The Game, October 18, 2007
I am of two minds about 'Life's A Campaign' and the man who wrote it Chris Matthews. This is the same man who is known for non-stop, very loud talking. Yet, here he is giving advice on how to succeed in life. His advice he gleaned from the politicians he has met. Does Chris Matthews take his own advice? Well, he says he does.

He says " To get ahead in life you can learn a lot from those who get along for a living. The people who make the
Vince Hinojosa
Have you ever asked yourself: Why are politicians so successful? How do they get people to like, support, and vote for them year after year? How did they get to the top of where they want to be? Chris Matthews answers these questions–and many more!–in “Life’s a Campaign.” He outlines his observations of people from the likes of Tip O’neill and Ronald Reagon, all the way to Newt Gingrich and Nancy Polosi, to name seminal leaders of from both sides of the aisle.

Essentially he writes that politici
Al Young

I was looking for light reading, and I got it with Chris Matthews' book Life's A Campaign

Truth be told, I like Matthews alot. I know that puts me in select company, but I like the guy.

Except maybe for a half-hour in the late 90s, I've never been interested in self-help books. I don't judge others who read them, but they're not for me.

This is largely a self-help tip guide interwoven with personal biography (the subtitle is What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Su
I skimmed this book out of sheer curiosity after seeing John Stewart demoralize Matthews on The Daily Show. Stewart belittling Matthews for writing a self-help book on running one's life based on something as treacherous and conceited as a political campaign. I was hooked.

The truth is that, at best, the book serves as a reminder to be a decent human being, offering up such nuggets as "Don't wait to talk to people until you need to ask them for something." At worst, it’s auto-hagriography; a form
Kevin Thompson
Chris Matthews is my favorite political writer, even though he is incredibly liberal. He has mastered the art of political story-telling. Whenever I read a book like this, my mind recalls fond memories of family meals at my grandparents house. As soon as the feast had been devoured, the stories would begin. There at the table I sat riveting to my Dad and grandparents as they recounted tales of political folk legends such as former Boston Mayor James Michael Curly and World War II General "Dug-ou ...more
Margot Friedman
Jan 28, 2008 Margot Friedman rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young people and interns
This would be a nice gift for a young person coming to Washington or an intern you want to reward. It is fun to learn life lessons in politics and business from Chris Matthews' colorful antedotes. I thought the most valuable one was the importance of listening. He makes the point that people are more flattered by being listened to than anything else. His funny story is that Bill Clinton advised a fellow Rhodes Scholar that the way to impress girls was to listen to them. Note later Hillary's "Lis ...more
Outstanding book! Chris keeps it very interesting with his insider's tour of Washington and his sensible wisdom and great quotes. Favorite moments include:
"Few things are as dangerous as impulse. Nothing is more reckless than an off the cuff reply or more durable than its aftermath."
"Nothing serves a reputation so well as early proof of physical courage."
"A gentleman, it is said, is someone who doesn't offend anyone unintentionally." This sounds more Oscar Wilde than Chris Mathews but I love it
In Chris Matthews' current book, "Life's a Campaign," he gushes over politicians and what we can all learn about life from them. The Pol's message: do whatever it takes to win. Life is a zero sum game, a fight to the death. Steal, cheat, back-stab, and then lie about it all. Machiavelli had it right. This is a discordant book and I hope, and it does look like, that most people "reject & denounce" the politicians model. What is congresses approval rating? It's in the teens. Why? because peopl ...more
Let me admit it, I am a self improvement fiend. I want to attempt to maximize everything I can about myself. It is a character flaw that I have, I am not going to apologize for it.

With that, I have to admit that the points outlined in this book would be fantastic if they were used by everyone.

I think something that we lose in the world today is the ability to communicate our way to our goals and politicians need the force of hundreds, thousands and millions to get where they are going.

So chec
The book is organized around traits that help people succeed as a politician: friendship, loyalty, staying true to self, self-confidence, setting the bar low, asking for votes, etc. I could have done without that. The real value of the book for me involved all the little political tidbits that come from the author, who's been in the game a long time. The book actually made me like him more than I do on tv: I often get frustrated with him that he won't let his guests talk and that he doesn't ask ...more
Love this guy, and even more after reading this book. Amazingly clear-eyed advice for living based on what Matthew's learned from a life spent first in politics, then covering it. Put simply, politicians have to get people to give them gobs of money and vote for them with the promise of what they can do for you. They must have amazing people skills to do that. Here's how those skills can help you. And Matthews doesn't pander at all -- he's brutally honest. Terrific stuff.
Mar 17, 2008 Travis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Political Junkies
For political junkies only :)

Chris Matthews knows everything there is to know about American politics in the last 40 years. This book is a list of lessons learned from the best (and worst) politicians in American history illuminated by anecdotes from years of experience on the hill and in the white house.

Great stories. Quick, entertaining read. Liked it a lot, but wouldn't recommend it for everyone.
Oct 14, 2008 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Hardball fans
Recommended to Jon by: Chris Mathews himself (on Daily Show)
Shelves: nonfiction
Wow, I think the insight in this book and Mathews' previous classic, "Hardball", will serve me well in school and in the career field.

Dale Carnegie step aside! Whereas Carnegie cut and pasted principles found from numerous walks of life in his epoch work, Chris Mathews shows how he got ahead in a tangible setting in which he has been an influential participant, the world of politics.
Jul 20, 2014 José rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political junkies, interns
Shelves: politics, self-help
A lesser follow-up to Hardball, Matthews presents a quick, fun read of political anecdotes and the lessons that can be drawn from them. Some chapters are a rehash of Hardball and most lessons given here can be acquired in other, better books. The book's charm is reading how political figures have applied these lessons to ensure their success.
I really enjoyed this book. Matthews describes what people can do to be successful in their pursuits. The book is filled with great stories of his time working for House Speaker Tip O'Neill as well as numerous other political insights. If you are a politico you'll enjoy this quick and easy read. And maybe pick up a pointer or 2!
Ryan Naples
I liked this book a lot. Great stories about Tip O'Neil, Nancy Pelosi, and Ronald Reagan which drive home the book's main point that to make it to the top of the political world, you have to be fastidiously loyal, have boundless amounts of energy, and know when to be nice and when to be mean. Well worth the read.

Being a big Chris Matthews & "Hardball" fan, I enjoyed this book. A quick read, pleasant and informative, but not requiring a lot of brain power to read.

The title pretty much sums up the ideas CM covers. Lots of insightful & fun anecdotes for those interested in politics.
Jon Stewart gave Chris Matthews a really hard time for writing a Machiavellian book, and Matthews got mad. This is a book about manipulating/influencing people. That said, I thought Matthews had some good points, and if you're interested in politics it's a worthwhile read.
Oct 29, 2007 Eugenia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm inclined to agree with Jon Stewart that this book is a recipe for sadness. (I also find Matthews well nigh insufferable to listen to, let alone read.) But I'm going to give it a try. (Definitely will be borrowing and not buying this one!)
This is sort of a political self help book. Lots of odd advice on how to have a career in politics. I'm not sure how useful any of it is but its neat to hear the behind the scenes stories about Tip O'neil and other liberal luminaries.
No-brainer lessons learned from politicians. Sad that this is how it works, but good to learn the game. "This book is packed with well-practiced hows. Your very personal mission is to supply the whys."
Ahmad Nazeri
Great advice, accompanied by interesting stories. I would recommend it for everyone, including those who have no political aspirations.
Also enjoyed this via audiobook. Matthews is an America-loving patriot who deeply appreciates the political process and values hard work.
A good read for anyone, regardless of political affiliation.
Dec 27, 2007 Ginny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Political Junkies
I found this very interesting with many stories of Washington DC politics - from Chris Matthews - events he witnessed and lived through. I actually listened to this as a "book on CD".
Interesting: a sort of self-improvement guide based on the author's experiences as a poltical aid, columnist, and political talk show host.
I read most of it at the six hour party I went to for Jackson and the rest at night. It was okay, but little new. At least it was a fast read.
Quick read -- his enthusiasm for the subject comes across pretty clearly. Reminds me of being the political junkie in high school......
It's a disappointment to me. I like Chris Matthews' show, however, this book is not that interest and not that much insights.
Oct 05, 2008 Nicko rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Capitol Hill Interns
Recommended to Nicko by: Hill Staffer
Interesting read. Inside perspective on Washington dealings and backroom chess match, between media and the Hill.
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Daily Show interview 1 1 Oct 03, 2007 05:33PM  
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Christopher "Chris" Matthews is an American news anchor and political commentator, known for his nightly hour-long talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC. On weekends he hosts the syndicated NBC News-produced panel discussion program, The Chris Matthews Show. Matthews makes frequent appearances on many NBC and MSNBC programs. On M ...more
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