Back to Work by Bill Clinton

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 Government for a Strong Economy
By Bill Clinton
Random House Audio / Knopf
November 2011

The book is separated into two main sections starting with the situation we are in, then moving into some ideas on how we can get out of the malaise. The first section is the most obviously leftist section of the book as he unashamedly defends some of President Obama’s actions over the last three years. But he doesn’t dwell there and quickly moves into ideas and a call to work together. It is in this section that the book shines.

Clinton gives dozens and dozens of ideas on how to get the economy back on track offering them along with evidence from other countrieswho have implimented similar ideas, or top thinkers in the fields saying how the ideas may work. Anyone who reads this book can’t help but come away with admiration for the vastness of options offered, especially in contrast to the current President and Congress where it seems that ideas are mostly counterarguments.

Clinton’s book is assuredly left-center and mostly left at times, but it is a book about ideas and ideas shouldn’t have labels like left and right, rather wrong and right. Some on the right may be immediately inclined to ignore President Clinton’s ideas, but that is the mistake that has America in the situation it is: stagnant where ideology rules and everyone suffers under its cruel reign.

Clinton says at one point, “If you ask the right question you may get the wrong answer, but if you ask the wrong question you cannot get the right answer.” Exactly. This book is about ideas and the politicians in Washington ought to take them seriously and both parties should consider these and every other good idea to focus on turning the economy around.

Highly recommended for all concerned Americans, and especially for Republicans who would never pick something up written by Clinton and Democrats who don’t think they need any ideas because they already know everything.

A note about the audio book version: Bill Clinton does a great job reading his work and his inflection and charm shine through. Authors almost always do a better job reading their works, and having a President read their work is even more compelling and works to build empathy – something increasingly missing in America.

Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This audio book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.