Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency” as Want to Read:
Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Barack Obama approaches the Presidency at a critical moment in American history, facing simultaneous crises of war, the environment, health care, but most especially in the economy. If he is able to rise to the moment, he could join the ranks of a small handful of previous presidents who have been truly transformative, succeeding in fundamentally changing our economy, soci ...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published August 25th 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Obama's Challenge, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Obama's Challenge

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  85 ratings  ·  27 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I give this book four stars plus one for Gennady being in the acknowledgments.

The premise was pretty inspiring. I don't know whether this is a new concept or not, but I liked the idea that appealing to all (well, Kuttner says "both") parties doesn't have to entail compromise, that instead a "transformative leader" such as Obama can bring republicans around to embrace traditionally leftist policy, quickening the otherwise sluggish but apparently eternal leftward movement of society (my weird wor
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in politcs or transformational leadership
Honestly this book isn't precisely about Obama as much as it is a historical account of transformational presidents. I think it frames the circumstances very well and lays out a coherent (and often counterintuitive) idea of how this country can be turned around and how it is at a prime position for a transformational leader (especially a progressive one since the current situation is so similar to when FDR was elected).

I think Kuttner also lays a fairly convincing case of how Obama can be Roosev
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I read this book because I wanted a primer in Keynesian economics before the stimulus debates started in earnest. But the book is light on economics and heavy on Kuttner's reading of Presidential politics. His ultimate point is that given the circumstances Obama will be a great or horrible president, with little room in between. His other major point is that any economic recovery package needs to be huge, and we should stop worrying about deficit spending. ...more
Jan 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Love your god given leader, fear the conspiracy of the reptilians / masons / Jews / whatever.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Political Wonks,
Shelves: biography, politics
Reading this book through the prism of time and actual results of President Obama's, makes the contrast of the promised presidency and its results, so much more disparate. The author fawns over the yet-unelected-Obama, and lists solution after solution how Obama can fix the Bush administration errors. Kuttner says it should be easy to leave the Bush presidency policies in the past, and move forward onto a strong, democratic, government that can help everyone.

The primary solution from the author
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it

I just finished reading this book. I hate that it took me over a month to get through it. I picked this book up at the grocery store in a bin full of reduced priced books. I had left it lying around the place, I didn't think that I was going to read it, until the day when I decided to take the chance to challenge myself with a genre that's outside what I normally would read, in other words its okay to put aside my fiction novels sometimes, to read a book that's going to give me food for thought.
Feb 21, 2009 added it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in democracy
Recommended to Craig by: Dean Falvy
Written over the summer of 2008 (before the election), this book describes what Obama needs to do to become a transformative president---what he needs to do to redirect the country, much as LBJ, FDR, and Lincoln redirected it. Lord knows, after 8 years of Reagan and 12 years of the Bush dynasty, it is time for a new direction. Read this book to again gain confidence in the good the government can do, and to see how a leader can inspire and involve the citizenry. Read it to gain courage to be a l ...more
Joseph Young
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting and at times prescient book. It foreshadowed some of the first problems faced by the Obama administration and explained tactics that could have been used to fight the ideological war. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the tea party foolishness, much of the advice has not been taken. The thoroughly Democratic point of view detracts from the book a little. The book has been written as much as Democratic propaganda as well as a Democratic reference for solutions to the problems currentl ...more
Richard Harden
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who supported / supports Obama should read this book, as it outlines challenges facing him and means of dealing with them, from a markedly progressive (not to be confused with liberal) viewpoint.

Anyone who continues to berate Obama as being too liberal needs to read this book, as it is much more progressive than Obama has been since being in the White House. It becomes very clear after reading it just how much he is trying to reach out to the Republicans, and just how unfair they are bein
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm glad I read this book now, as I can compare what the author suggests with current events. It seems to me that Obama has read this book, or the author knows him well enough to describe ahead of time what he might do to help solve the economic crisis. The last couple of chapters felt a little hard to get through, but overall an informative look at what Obama has done, is doing, and still needs to do. ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Kuttner argues that we are at a crossroads in this country. The economic crisis requires a transformative president like
Lincoln, FDR, Lyndon Johnson of the civil rights era. He
hopes that Obama will be such a president.

A very worthwhile book. He doesn't just deal with Obama but with
a history and analysis of economic policy and presidents facing big
Tom Schulte
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I really breezed through this since it was written pre-election, and this very hopeful! The writer's analysis of other president's and his progressive, liberal suggestions do make for thought-provoking reading. He is definitely in the "Hope for Audacity" crowd and I am sure feels Obama is not left enough. I am sure history will appraise himas very centrist, over all ...more
Apr 04, 2009 is currently reading it
Just got this from Beth and I can't wait to start delving into it.
Here's the good news/bad news dilemna about our new office:
It's a quick metro ride away - just three short stops.
BUT.. it's a crowded line and there's just not often room or time to read.

Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
robert kuttner really took a gamble by actually releasing this before the election but it paid off. i thought he did a good job of putting stuff in layman's terms (ie i could understand) about sometimes complicated issues like the economy and health care reform. ...more
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Finished this one on a trip to Cambodia. I like the comparisons to transformative presidents, though have to admit that some of the economics flew right by! The author certainly doesn't "gush" over President Obama, but rather writes in a more cautionary, albeit, "we hope you do well" spirit. ...more
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Since I read it this fall, it's slightly behind the times but still raises some issues worth thought. A good book. ...more
Mar 21, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Linda by: NPR - Fresh Air
I just listened again to the great interview on Fresh Air Terry Gross did with Kuttner, and I'm inspired to track this down. ...more
Mar 11, 2009 is currently reading it
Thus far:
More references to FDR, LBJ and Lincoln than you can shake a stick at.
Timothy Jensen
Good, timely read. Kuttner does a good job letting us in on what a brave man President Johnson was. I would highly recommend listening to several recent podcasts that have featured him.
Nov 16, 2008 marked it as to-read
I heard this author interviewed on Fresh Air and I'm excited to read the book. ...more
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I wrote a full review of this book on my blog at ...more
Claire S
Read about it here:

Sounds very informative!
Oct 14, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Weavre by: BuzzFlash book review
Shelves: sorting
ILL--Luzerne doesn't own it. ...more
Margarida Resendes
Uma boa forma de ver a Economia Americana por outro prisma, para além do que os presidentes alguma vez já disseram.
Nov 18, 2008 added it
this guy is one smart cookie - he wrote this before the economic meltdown and it was released at the beginning of the DNC - joni was the developmental editor
Nov 08, 2008 added it
eh. fine book, but nothing terribly new or insightful here. Not holding my interest, so I'm letting it go. ...more
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
A bold program to help solve the economic crisis.
rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2020
rated it liked it
Apr 05, 2012
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

News & Interviews

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
114 likes · 36 comments