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Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  6,347 ratings  ·  861 reviews
Remember when presidents spoke in complete sentences instead of in unhinged tweets? David Litt does. In his comic, coming-of-age memoir, he takes us back to the Obama years – and charts a path forward in the age of Trump

More than any other presidency, Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House were defined by young people – twenty-somethings who didn’t have much experie
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Ecco (first published September 17th 2017)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  6,347 ratings  ·  861 reviews

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David Litt
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I did not mean to rate my own book - and I can't figure how to unrate it. I do think it deserves five stars, but I mean really, wouldn't it be weird if I didn't?
Bill Kerwin
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it

Listen up, all you who suffer from Trump Overload Syndrome: this book is for you! Applied in small doses, it is guaranteed to bring relief, for it allows you to imagine a universe in which Obama is still president and all is right (almost) with the world.

Such fantasies are unhealthy, you say? We all live in Trumpworld now, you say? And “Denial” is not a river in Egypt? But if this is indeed Trumpworld, a place where “Nambia” has been proclaimed by our president to be a country in Africa, then ho
Julie Ehlers
Kudos to this kid. There are so many ways this book could have gone wrong—overly snarky, carelessly written, or just too obliviously steeped in white-Ivy-League-dude privilege. Instead, everything went exactly right, in my opinion. I've got some background in political campaigns/political office myself, and even now (yes, even now) I still have a high level of idealism; I genuinely believe (some) elected officials truly want to make the world a better place, and I celebrate their victories and s ...more
Gary Anderson
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Does anyone else remember when the American presidency was focused and functional? You can agree or disagree with Barack Obama’s policies and philosophy, but it’s hard to deny that his White House did a pretty good job with organization and communication. David Litt was a part of that, at age 24. Litt was hired as a speechwriter, first for presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett--there were no other applicants--and eventually for President Obama. Litt’s memoir Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I reserve the 5 star rating for books I would undoubtedly read at least one more time, so the fact that I have no intention of reading this again and I'm still giving it 5 stars means something to me.

I almost literally devoured this book. I consumed it in every possible way, with the exception of tearing out the pages and eating them. I never wanted to step away from the pages and I'm rather upset the book ended.

This book was satisfying as hell. David Litt was a speech writer for President Obama
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Litt’s fantastic memoir Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years works in many different ways. The book is a laugh out loud series of highly comedic and spit-take inducing vignettes that you will spend hours retelling in less funny versions to supremely patient acquaintances and loved ones. It’s a demonstration on how vital idealistic, enthusiastic, and inspired people working in our government are to the progress of our country. It reveals a fascinating behind the scenes glimpse ...more
Mariah Roze
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first book of 2019!!! 4.5 stars!

I love finding new autobiographies about people that I've never heard of and reading them. I really enjoyed this story! David Litt did a great job in this book.

"More than any other presidency, Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House were defined by young people – twenty-somethings who didn’t have much experience in politics (or anything else, for that matter), yet suddenly found themselves in the most high-stakes office building on earth. David Litt was
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If only we could have a Glassdoor review for the White House's inner offices during Obama's two terms." Litt has got you covered, at least from his somewhat limited perspective. If it was this hard for Litt to be part of a team of speechwriters, imagine how the rest of the administration felt. And this was before social media exploded to today's levels. Yikes!

There is bias for Democrats and their ideals in here, but I would say it's at a tolerable level. It's not an aggressive promotion for abs
Conor Ahern
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
My goodreads friend Julie recommended this to me, and I’m very glad that she did. I’ve belatedly gotten into podcasts—mostly for when I’m pottering around my room tending to my plants or doing a half-assed weekly clean—and the boys from Crooked Media have been a nice entrée into the genre. The most famous of these are Jon Favreau, Obama’s wunderkind head speech writer, and Jon Lovett, the consensus funniest speech writer in the room. But while these are probably the two most famous speechwriters ...more
I enjoyed this book, but maybe not as much as I had hoped. David Litt was a low level speechwriter for the Obama administration, at first just writing jokes and relatively unimportant speeches, but he worked his way up to writing the speeches for the Correspondents Dinner and some very consequential occasions. He has a very self deprecating way of writing, although at times he comes off as a bit of a jerk (how many times can he "borrow his roommate's car without permission?"). He shares the frus ...more
I don't often read books about politics but I really liked President Obama and I thought this would be interesting. I'm happy to say it was. David Litt was a young Ivy League graduate whose first job was a speechwriter in the Obama White House. He's a great writer, often quite funny and occasionally moving.

Of course, it makes me sad when I think of all the good things that Obama did that Trump is trying to undo. But after reading this book, I admired all this things President Obama accomplished
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
A must read for all who have been afraid to look at the news updates on their phone for the last nine months. I laughed, I cried. I felt nostalgic for a time I was proud of my country's leaders but left this book feeling more renewed and hopeful than melancholy.

Litt does a great job of showing the reader a side of the White House that has not been covered before. Somewhere in between The West Wing and Veep, he manages to show the absurdity of his experiences without losing the idealism that mot
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember having a good President?
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Native New Yorker David Litt was politically aware enough in college to volunteer for Barack Obama’s first Presidential campaign. Then he moved to Washington, D.C. and tried to get a job after graduation. After an internship, he networked himself into Obama’s White House as a speechwriter for Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President.

This also meant that he started as a junior junior speechwriter for President Obama. And as time progressed, Litt was working on mostly Obama speeches, inc
I enjoyed the sneak peek into the inner-workings of the Obama presidential campaigns and the Obama White House, but I struggled to empathize with the author. Litt came off as a bit entitled and too "look at me!" at times throughout his twenty-something coming of age story. This was especially noticeable at the beginning when he mentioned on several occasions that he "borrowed" his roommate's car without asking and went rogue at an internship by disregarding the dress code and playing Minesweeper ...more
Donna Hines
For me Barack Obama meant more than mere skin color. He was our hope for change, our reason to come together as one united front, our strength to dare to dream big and bold and never settle for less.
As David Litt noted," While Donald Trump may be our president , he does not define our country."
Having married a malignant narcissist and left for dead I can tell you there is no truer statement than this one I just mentioned.
I enjoyed the authors sense of humor especially with the behind the scenes
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those of you who know me (especially if you are in book clubs with me) know that I often cry at books and even more often cry about politics, so it should not be shocking that I spent the last 50 pages of this memoir full on sobbing. It is a remarkable thing to read stories about the hope and progress which permeated the Obama presidency when Donald Trump is likely six months away from being reelected. Nevertheless, "some accomplishments... are impossible to undo." Thanks, Obama. And thanks, Lit ...more
This review is the one that made me instantly hold this book at the library, so like, just go read that. Other people have more eloquently reviewed this book, but I'll give it a try: David Litt was one of the young speechwriters working for President Obama (in the same vein of the Pod Saves America crew, like Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett), specialising in comedy, and this book covers his career and his years in the White House.

It could have been excruciating: it could have been a white guy in his
Leigh Kramer
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a fun and eye-opening behind the scenes look at Obama's presidency from the viewpoint of one of his speechwriters. One of my friends was a speechwriter for one of our former presidents so I thought I had an idea of what I might encounter in this book...but now I want her to read it so I can hear how their experiences compare.

Obama is a wonderful orator and so many good memories washed over me as Litt quoted some of his more memorable speeches, regardless of whether Litt himself contrib
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A light hearted insider's guide to the Obama White House as seen by a speech writer. Although David Litt was usually working on the comedic aspects of the president's speeches, he was also part of the notable speech writing team which included Favreau and Lovett. Litt's admiration and respect for President Obama is limitless, yet his self-deprecating analysis is honest and insightful in pointing out what went wrong or what could have been better. This is a clever and entertaining memoir.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one, it’s read by the author on audiobook and wasn’t at all what I expected. It’s a real behind the scenes look at what it’s like working in the White House for just a normal guy....and he’s quite funny. I found myself laughing and smiling to myself while listening to this look back at the past administration and all its highs and lows.
Suanne Laqueur
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, I cried through the whole thing. When I wasn’t laughing, that is. God, I miss him so bad.
Eden Church | The Required Reading List
If you are picking up this book, I highly recommend getting it on audio. Litt narrates the book himself, and adds so much emotion and humour through his narration that the book takes on a whole other dimension.

If Hillary tells us What Happened in America during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, Thanks, Obama shows us what happened at the White House in the years leading up to the campaign, and what kind of legacy Obama leaves behind.

A very timely memoir about Litt's years in the White H
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this look at Obama's presidency by then 20 something speechwriter David Litt. I laughed, I (once) cried and I looked forward to picking it up every evening. I especially appreciated Litt's honesty. He writes a lot about impostor syndrome, which I sometimes feel, and reveals his embarrassments and missteps. I'm glad I don't work in such a high pressure position. Most of all, I liked reading about the culture in the White House and Litt's summary of Obama's presidency: he didn ...more
Heather Venard
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was great - it's not a shock that a book written by a presidential speechwriter is well done. But what really struck me was how the trajectory of the author's experience in the Obama administration mirrored the ebbs and flows emotionally of many of the President's supporters. From overwhelming hope, to despair, to frustration, and then pride, this book does a great job of encapsulating an imperfect presidency that made an impact. Additionally, Litt's writing is pretty darn amusing and the b ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this laugh-out-loud funny memoir from former Obama speechwriter David Litt. It's an honest, and sometimes wistful, portrayal of the Obama presidency--its highs and its lows. Litt is self-deprecating and candid as he examines whether Obama lived up to his "hopey, changey" potential.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oh how I needed the laughs I got from this. 👌🏻
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. The title, taken from a sarcastic remark by Sarah Palin, perfectly summing up the essence of those eight hopey, changey years a very young David Litts spent as speech writer in the Obama administration. This book is packed with information about practicalities and unusual facts, is fascinating, entertaining and written with humour. Detailed political discussion is avoided although certain important pieces of legislation and election strategi ...more
Wade Kelly
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the pants off of this book. In our seemingly dystopic present, I feared that it would end with disenchantment and depression, yet somehow I ended up being hopeful. It's funny and light. It's sincere and honest. It's a window into a world so central to the culture yet so misunderstood and in many ways unknown.

In the acknowledgements he lists a number of people who's comedy and writing I appreciate — David Sedaris, Billy Eichner, and The Moth amongst them. If you those, you'll likely li
This book is by one of President Obama's speech writers - often a joke writer. Litt experienced the same awe of our future president what I had. That was only the beginning of my joy in this book. I love behind the scenes tales. I loved the chance to go back to a less stressful (for me) time. Litt is an excellent writer - no "white as snow" lines. Original.
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David Litt entered the White House as a speechwriter in 2011, and left in 2016 as a senior presidential speechwriter and special assistant to the president. In addition to writing remarks for President Barack Obama on a wide range of domestic policy issues, David served as the lead joke writer for several White House Correspondents’ Dinner monologues. Since leaving government, David has written sp ...more

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