The masks they wear become their faces. Even the words they write themselves sound ghostwritten.

George Packer, The Atlantic

Like many of us out there, Barack Obama was once an aspiring author. Debut author is not the first thing that comes to mind when we hear Obama’s name, but that’s what he once was. Obama first entered politics as a writer, not the other way around. His autobiography Dreams From My Father, published in 1995, when he was 33, focuses on his journey as a third-culture kid, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a Black man from Kenya. The book’s publication was the result of his election as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review–over a decade before he became the nation’s first African-American president.

“I received an advance from a publisher and went to work with the belief that the story of my family, and my efforts to understand that story, might speak in some way to the fissures of race that have characterized the American experience.”

“Like most first-time authors, I was filled with hope and despair upon the book’s publicationhope that the book might succeed beyond my youthful dreams, despair that I had failed to say anything worth saying. The reality fell somewhere in between. The reviews were mildly favorable. People actually showed up at the readings my publisher arranged. The sales were underwhelming. And, after a few months, I went on with the business of my life, certain that my career as an author would be short-lived, but glad to have survived the process with my dignity more or less intact.”

All politicians understand the power of a well-told story. Over the years, Obama’s rise in politics has been attributed to his oratory genius and his ability to inspire others to dream with his words. Obama’s life story is now a worldwide phenomenon. We all have to start somewhere. Debut author is as good a place as any to start.

After eight years in the White House, it was time for Obama to step down. For the past four years, there has been talk that Trump’s presidency dismantled Obama’s legacy. The democratic system–which puts a limit on the amount of power an individual can hold over the course of a lifetime–cut short what would have become the rise of a dictator who simply didn’t care for the welfare of the people.

On January 20th, Kamala Harris was sworn in at the West Front of the Capitol. The theme is “America United.”

5 thoughts on “Mr Barack Obama | From Debut Author to First African-American President

  1. Obama’s journey, not his politics is what he is known for. He is a personable leader who people can identify with due to his empathetic approach as a leader. He is educated, but not an elite. He has a worldview that is non-traditional. In our present increasingly interconnected world, we need leaders who can represent plurality–not partisan–interests.

    1. Leadership has always been about leading the people towards a better future–not about protecting traditions. A country’s culture is always in transition. It is how a leader leads us towards a better future, not how a leader maintains the status quo that ultimately defines a leader’s legacy.

  2. I had no idea that Obama started his journey as a debut author. Never underestimate the power of words.

  3. Wow, I didn’t know Obama entered politics as a writer. Usually it’s the other way round. This is so amazing… Words can be so powerful!

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