Category Archives: Book Reviews

REVIEW Part I: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part I

 

This is a book that cries out to those of all ages who want meaning and purpose in their life.  The goal is simple—bring out of poverty those 2.7 billion people who live on $2 or less per day.  As the authors graphically and specifically point out—this is far from easy.  But, think about it, what in life of great importance is easily accomplished?

The book itself points out some of its potential readers: entrepreneurs or investors seeking practical ways to profit from new enterprises in emerging markets, executives at major global corporations who want to address the potential customers at the bottom of the pyramid, development practitioners in government, nonprofits, the United Nations or other such organization, philanthropists and investors who want to challenge world poverty, and concerned world citizens everywhere.

I agree heartedly with one of the first statements by the authors, “…we believe that the greatest potential for reducing poverty in today’s global environment lies in the power of business.”  These 2.7 billion people “…constitute an enormous untapped market.”  Estimates are that these people have collective purchasing power of $5 trillion and that as they move out of poverty that figure will double and triple.  These poverty stricken people will be tomorrow’s middle class; and the authors state categorically, “Approaching the problem from the top down has almost never worked…”

I have written below a long review with lots of direct quotes because I have gotten permission to do so and because the book is so well written and simply worded that paraphrasing didn’t seem necessary or appropriate.  For those who want to get a summary of the book/book review, here are the book’s “Takeaways,” with a bit of commentary from me.

  1. “We believe there is one sure way, and only one way, to foster genuine social change on a large scale among the world’s poverty-stricken billions—by harnessing the power of business to the task.”  I fervently agree.
  1. “Conventional approaches to end poverty have largely failed, and as Einstein taught us, to continue believing they’ll succeed would be madness.”  I agree with their point that conventional approaches have largely failed.  But I must say I disagree with Albert Einstein. Being persistent in repeating the same approach to a human problem oftentimes is the only way to eventually succeed.
  1. “The most obvious, direct, and effective way to combat poverty is to help poor people earn more money.”  This may sound simplistic, but earning money can lead to sustainability whereas money through government or charity leads to low self-esteem and is very uncertain in the long term.
  1. “Although a handful of development initiatives have succeeded in improving the livelihoods of as many as 20 million poor people, none has yet reached significant scale.”  This is a major and overriding point in this book.
  1. “Poor people have to invest their own time and money to move out of poverty.”  Giveaways don’t work in the long term, for sure.
  1. “The Don’t Bother Trilogy: If you don’t understand the problem you’ve set out to solve from your customers’ perspective, if your product or service won’t dramatically increase their income, and if you can’t sell 100 million of them, don’t bother.”  Scale is critical for global success.
  1. “To meet the biggest challenge in development—scale—your enterprise must aim to transform the lives of 5 million customers during the first 5 years and 100 million during the first 10.”  I like the idea of having definite large-scale goals.
  1. “Zero-based design requires that you begin from scratch, without preconceptions or existing models to guide you, beginning with your goal in mind—a global enterprise that will attract at least 100 million customers and $10 billion in annual sales within a decade, operating in a way that’s calculated to transform the lives of all your customers.
  1. “In designing products that will open up new markets among the world’s poor, ruthless affordability is the single most important objective.”  This is a huge challenge with a simple goal, but very hard to do.  However, since we are in the Innovation Age, I believe that we can do it.
  1. “Design for extreme affordability rarely comes easily.  Making anything both workable and cheap may take years of careful, incremental adaptation and revision.”
  1. “Designing a branding and marketing strategy and a last-mile supply chain that will put your product or service in the hands of millions of customers is three-quarters of the design challenge.”  This is a big problem in rural areas in particular.
  1. “To achieve true scale, pick a problem that challenges the lives of a billion people.”  This avoids a focus that is too small to defeat world poverty.
  1. “The product or service you plan to commercialize must be culturally independent.”  This allows scale country to country.  The economics of scale is one of the key factors that allowed Henry Ford to lower the price of automobiles to make them affordable for average people.  Volume of production will be a key to allowing this bottom pyramid to be able to afford the products envisioned by this book.
  1. “A brilliant rich-country executive—or even an upper-class executive from the Global South—may be totally out of his or her element working with poor people.”  To major corporations that I hope will heed this call, this may be a crucial consideration.
  1. “Manufacturing at scale is possible through distributed (decentralized) production facilities only if parts or modules are precisely machined to near-zero tolerances and available space and the sequence of steps on the assembly line has been optimized.”  I encourage you to read the whole book, including the case studies which I did not review, to comprehend this “Takeaway.”
  1. “One of the greatest impediments to achieving scale is the high cost of delivering products and services, not just the ‘last mile,’ but the last 500 feet.”  This is particularly true in rural areas where so many of those living on $2 or less per day reside.
  1. “Decentralization is one of the keys to building a large, transnational business capable of making headway against global poverty while turning a generous profit.”  Remember that profits are necessary to create sustainability and scale.
  1. “A business that practices stakeholder-centered management can maximize the chances that it will not just survive but flourish over the long term.”  I agree completely.
  1. “Striving for the lowest possible environmental impact is smart business.”  I believe climate change is one of the top problems of our planet and I’m certainly not the only one who has that view.
  1. “To thrive over the long term, a business must optimize its most valuable asset—its people and the intellectual property they produce—by ensuring that they are well paid, treated with respect, engaged in building their own careers, and given ample opportunities to find meaning and balance in their jobs.”  All the people in and out of our businesses globally should be treated with dignity, respect, and kindness.

REVIEW Part I : How Republicans can WIN in a Changing America

How Republicans can WIN in a Changing America: The Art of War with Lesson Plans

By S. J. Helgesen and V. Lance Tarrance

Book Review By John E. Wade II

PART I

This is an extremely well written, concise, and realistic book that I highly recommend to all fellow Republicans, as well as anyone else who would like to understand the elections of 1980, 2012, and the coming elections of 2014 and 2016.  Lance Tarrance has a wealth of experience conducting hundreds of polls, and is both a consummate pollster and a strategist.  Stephan Helgesen has served in the Foreign Service for thirty years and managed a campaign.  Both have written previous books.

Why did such a smart, attractive candidate like Mitt Romney lose in 2012?  The short answer is “The Machine” of the Obama campaign.  Secondly, it was Romney’s “…own campaign which, according to some, ‘held him back and kept him on a leash of civility…’”

“Crunch the numbers and the unmistakable conclusion you’ll draw is that the Republicans lost because of:

  1. A higher Democratic turnout,
  2. A lower Republican voter turnout and
  3. A higher percentage of Blacks [93 percent], Hispanics [71 percent] and young women [60 percent] voting for the Democrats.”

The authors explain “…that all campaign strategies will need to be more attentive and more nuanced to appeal to the ethnic voter, the low information voter, the emotional voter and many other single-issue voters.  The colors of the campaign world today are much more than just Red, Blue and Purple.”

The authors did a good job of summing up the media, something that is both truthful and unfortunate in terms of informing our electorate:  “If you’re on CNN regularly you’re probably left of center, MSNBC, ultra left, PBS, left of center to Progressive, Fox News, center to right and mixed, and on the ‘mainstream media’ TV you are left to center.”

A key factor in 2012 was that “…our deteriorating economic condition was successfully blamed on the Republicans (and the do-nothing Congress) by the Democrats instead of where it belonged…at the doorstep of an inept tone deaf Administration and a divisive President…Republicans lost the argument because they didn’t make a clear cause and effect connection between economic growth and a proven private sector empowerment model.”

Looking at the House and Senate races in 2014, “it’s too early to say what exactly is motivating the Democratic voters to ignore the reality of a failed Obama economic policy, a divisive social policy, a flawed energy policy, and an amateurish foreign policy.”  We just can’t afford—for our nation, its people and the world—to again underrate the Democratic Machine.

I agree very much with the authors that money has gotten too big in elections, and that campaign reform should be high on our agenda—“Our elections are important to our democracy.”  Having to raise a billion dollars for each presidential race, not to mention the millions for senate and house races, puts fundraising too high on everyone’s priorities.

A host of sad personal economic stories are in progress during the Obama administration.  “Republicans would be wise to start gathering these personal stories now.  They will need them, later.”  In 2014 and 2016 it will be critical “…to show HOW the values of the Republican Party can turn around our current economic malaise.”  Republicans must “Shore up the base with an optimistic and uplifting Reaganist message that is rooted in history and makes a clear cause and effect connection to today using recent historical comparisons that fit within the voter’s generational frame of reference.”  Republicans would do well to highlight their successes in the Red states.

The book has a multitude of advice for Republican candidates, including, “Never speak ill of another Republican.”  I like that one.

REVIEW Part V: The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

The Debt Bomb:  A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.

 Review by John E. Wade II

Part V

The Solution

Governor Romney and President Reagan were superb professionals in the finest sense.  I see in Governor Romney the deep intelligence and motivation that President Reagan possessed.  In President Obama, however, I see a masterful politician who is drastically lacking in leadership and competence for the innovation that has been and is needed.

In Governor Romney I see a moral leader who will make his decisions, based on what’s right for the country and its future.  He has a long track record of accomplishment.

Our country has many challenges, and Governor Romney points out one—illegitimate birth; it was seven percent in the 1960s, but has skyrocketed to forty percent now.  The “Great Society” destroyed many families by taking away their self-reliance.

Ann Romney volunteered at a school for at-risk girls.  When she asked the class how many wanted to go to college almost every girl raised her hand.  Then she asked the class, “How many of you want to have a baby before you graduate from high school?”  Again, almost all raised their hands, indicating they had not made the vital disconnect between those goals.

Governor Romney points out that the American people are, in general, quite hard-working with more hours than the Germans and French.  Americans are also risk-takers.  He told the story of a young person he tried to hire.  But the gentleman had an idea for a business and turned Mr. Romney down.  Years later Governor Romney saw the gentleman, who was by then worth $25 billion, having earned his fortune through Microsoft.  He had taken a chance.

The role of the electorate is to seek honest, capable, wise, visionary leaders.  I believe that Governor Romney “fits the bill.”  He’s honest and frank, and courageous; it takes a lot of courage to write about illegitimate births.  I also see the wisdom of President Reagan in Governor Romney.  He’s a moral, genuine person who can solve, with the help of other Republicans, the immense problems ahead.

We are in a frontier in terms of our nation’s financial, educational and family status.  President Obama had his chance, and he has not accomplished very much of substance.  And his fiscal and financial actions have been dismal.  I believe that Ronald Reagan was a decent gentleman with vision, and the same is true of Mitt Romney.

The elections in the United States will be scrutinized around the world, much, much, more than the elections in Greece.  I hope and pray that the American people will see what I see.

REVIEW Part IV: The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

The Debt Bomb:  A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.

 Review by John E. Wade II

Part IV

The Solution

When writing about Obamacare Senator Coburn quotes P. J. O’Rourke, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”  He points out that “… too many doctors are torn between serving their patients and protecting their practices from predatory trial attorneys trying to make a quick buck.”  He estimates that “defense medicine costs patients between “$650 and $850 billion a year.”  We must repeal Obamacare and put in place systems in which the doctor and patient work through a free market with competition, transparency and choice.

As to reforming taxes, the “rich simply don’t have enough money to pay all the bills.”  As Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you “… always run out of other people’s money.”

We must make our tax system simple, understandable and affordable.  As Representative Paul Ryan said, “Every dollar that businesses spend lobbying for a better tax deal, is a dollar they’re not spending on making a better product.”  There are twenty-seven countries in the world that now have simple, flat taxes and more nations are considering them.

A key point is, Tax simplicity would redirect money in and out of the government away from tax compliance toward more useful pursuits, increasing our nation’s productivity.  The risk-takers, entrepreneurs and job creators would benefit rather than politicians, lobbyists, and such.

In 1986 President Reagan passed tax reform that closed many loopholes, lowered tax rates, simplified the tax code and started a twenty-five-year period of solid growth.  Federal tax revenues soared.  Tax reform was accomplished then with spectacular results.  President Obama lacks the expertise, attitude and constituency to emulate President Reagan’s success.  I believe Governor Romney and a host of Republicans could and would recognize and innovate in our tax system.

As to defense, the practice of spreading defense spending all over the country is very wasteful.  Waste in defense is being funded by our deficits, so such costs must get the kind of scrutiny that we pay to all fiscal areas.

Robert Kennedy is quoted in the Conclusion:  “Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues—the wrath of society.  Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.  Yet, it is the one essential and vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”

Washington needs Governor Romney and a host of Republicans to try to live up to Senator Kennedy’s incisive words.  We are in crisis.  It’s not like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, so easily viewed, but if there weren’t such crises in Europe right now, the truth would be upon us.

The media should be ashamed of themselves for not covering hard news such as these enormous fiscal problems.  Too many cover the horse race in policies without any depth in these critical issues.

REVIEW Part III: The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

The Debt Bomb:  A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.

 Review by John E. Wade II

Part III

The Solution

 

The Tea Party Republicans may be part of the solution.  Over and over President Obama was given the chance to lead.  One instance was evident at the time of the report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, known as Simpson-Bowles, on how to reduce the deficit, which was closer to President Reagan’s 1986 tax reform than President Obama’s tax increase proposals.  President Obama didn’t embrace the recommendations.  According to Senator Coburn, “His [President Obama] decision, I believe, will be remembered as one [of] the greatest failures of presidential leadership in American history.”

We must not take a chance of future failures.  If we are to wait until after the 2012 elections, Republicans must “win the White House, maintain a solid majority in the House, and win about sixty-five seats in the Senate to control the national agenda.”

There are answers.  What is needed is courage to do what is right.  Senator Coburn and his staff identified $9 trillion in savings over ten years in a 624-page report which he called Back in Black.

We should watch and learn from the events unfolding in European countries, such as Spain, which has high and unsustainable yields on government debt, as well as unemployment at 25 percent.

Duplication in government spending is an obvious starting point, and Governor Romney is ideal to direct such an endeavor, supported by a Republican Congress.  We should shrink government, but with thought and planning to assist those who will lose their jobs.  I believe optional occupational interest tests, ability tests and privately-administered outplacement services could allow workers to assume fruitful private sector jobs or self-employment.

The General Accounting Office said, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.”  “Senator Coburn estimates we can save $3 trillion over ten years by ending duplication.”

  1. S. Senator Joe Lieberman said, “We can’t save Medicare as we know it.  We can only save Medicare if we change it.”  Unsustainable demographics and benefits confront maintaining entitlements in their current state.  “Medicare is already broke and running on empty.”

So, what is the Medicare solution?  Senator Coburn gives two answers:  “(1) adjust the eligibility and generosity of the Medicare benefit by relating benefits to income (i.e. forcing wealthier Americans to pay more) while raising the retirement age to reflect changing life spans, and (2) transitioning Medicare from a defined benefit to a defined contribution.”

Social Security is now cash-flow negative and, “Between 2012 and 2013, the program’s cash deficits are projected to total $630 billion.”

Senator Coburn tells it like it is:  “It is not that hard to fix these problems.  The truth is, we have a surplus of solutions, but a deficit of courage.”  President Obama has graphically demonstrated a lack of courage and competence.  I believe Governor Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels can and will provide solutions.

REVIEW Part II: The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

The Debt Bomb:  A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.

 Review by John E. Wade II

Part II

Around the world Senator Coburn and I see the fall of the “International Welfare State,” including Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Japan—all in “serious risk of default.”  There is a very real possibility of a worldwide depression.

My calculation from the U. S. Debt Clock of our national debt ($15.8 trillion) to our Gross Domestic Product ($15.2 trillion) is just over 100 percent.  The book described a debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 percent as “dangerous.”

Careerism on the part of our elected officials is cited as the root cause of our present state.  Republicans and Democrats have lavished the government’s money in ways that they figured would allow them to stay in office, practically at any cost.  Why do they want to stay?  They are surrounded and courted by staff, lobbyists, party leaders, and special interest groups.  And there are all kinds of perks.

The Constitution has been largely ignored over the last few decades, as career politicians concentrated on the next election with “unsustainable debt” as the result.  Earmarks such as the expensive “the bridge to nowhere” in Alaska demonstrate sadly the careerism and parochialism (obtaining federal spending for one’s own district or state, usually referred to as pork barrel spending).

To quell the myth that there is a continuing stalemate in Washington, Sen. Coburn writes, “Our economy is on the brink of collapse not because politicians can’t agree, but because they have agreed for decades.”  Getting our country in fiscal shape will require that politicians learn to say “no.”

President Reagan in his first inaugural address, 1981, said, “In this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem; government is our problem.”  I firmly believe that Governor Romney could step forward and lead a host of Republicans in 2013 in a manner like President Reagan.  On the other hand, President Obama is part of the problems.

Our government itself is in dire need of kind, but firm and extensive innovation.  The stimulus simply didn’t work.  Part of the money, $535 million, went to Solyndra, a solar-power company that went bankrupt.  “One of the administration’s key donors … had a financial stake in the company.”

Senator Coburn made two key statements:  “We are on the edge of an abyss not because we had too little faith in government but because we had too much faith,” and “A government that works is a government that is limited.”

REVIEW Part I: The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

The Debt Bomb:  A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America

by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.

 Review by John E. Wade II

Part I

In this powerful book Sen. Coburn does more than point out our nation’s enormous debt, deficit, entitlement and tax problems, but concludes by offering suggestions to solve these worrisome challenges in ways that should suit the poor and help everyone else.

A shocking quote at the start of Chapter One is from Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Obama, June 24, 2010:  “Our national debtis our biggest national security threat.”  Incidentally, on PBS’s Charlie Rose  I saw Secretary James Baker say, “We’re broke.”(June, 2012)  In his book, Sen. Coburn writes that “America is already bankrupt.”  These statements may be and are unsettling, but the light at the end of the tunnel is the chance we have to elect Governor Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels.

But first, the bad news, which is that we are in a spending and entitlement crisis; our government debt and entitlement obligations are already slowing our economy by twenty-five to thirty-three percent.  In my opinion, the Obama administration’s trillion-dollar-plus deficits over the last three and a half years have suppressed the economy rather than stimulated it.  Perhaps if our country had been at a low or moderate debt level, his policies might have worked.  This spending binge must stop.  I realize that both Republicans and Democrats have lacked spending discipline.

To get the latest figures on our government obligations, do a Google search for the U. S. Debt Clock.  Right now the U. S. National Debt is $15,801,265.5↑↑, and increasing as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $15,217,191, ↑↑↑.  Unfunded liabilities (Social Security, prescription drugs and Medicare) total $119 trillion.  I invite you to review that website from time to time to attempt to grasp the magnitude of our very precarious position.

Almost a third of our debt is held by foreigners.  In April 2011 Standard and Poor’s (S&P), one of the larger rating agencies, downgraded the United States long-term credit outlook from “stable” to “negative,” and in August they reduced our rating from AAA to AA+.

The continuing crisis in Europe shows in real time the effects of high government debt and obligations.  That can and will happen to us unless we take decisive actions, such as the author suggests.

The world will have a liquidity crisis soon—sometime in 2013—when the planet’s liquid assets ($9 trillion) won’t be enough to fund sovereign debt requirements (around $13 trillion), a situation that will push interest rates up.  The government may try to inflate its way out by printing money as it has done already, but if such a course of action is tried, much of our life savings will be wiped out.  In the final stage, “the bottom would fall out of the middle class.  Unemployment would soar, while the cost of living would increase.”

REVIEW Part II: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope:  Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

by Senator Barrack Obama

Review by John E. Wade II

Part II

The choice now before the American people is between President Obama—who lacks academic, serious business experience, and success with our nation’s economy—and Governor Romney.  The governor earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Brigham Young University and went on to become the “elite of the elite” with a law degree with honors and an MBA as a Baker Scholar (denoting the top five percent of his class) from Harvard University.

Governor Romney worked eight years as a valued management consultant, and about fifteen years as a co-founder and head of Bain Capital, where he invested in about one hundred corporations, saved dozens of companies, and created or preserved thousands of jobs.  He couldn’t save them all, but when one invests in troubled companies and start-ups, one can’t expect that kind of success. The important thing to discern from that success is that he knows business and investment in depth—how jobs are created and why they are lost.

He also saved his sister corporation, Bain and Company, when it nearly folded. Then he saved the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and money problems.

Romney went on to serve as governor of Massachusetts.  When he assumed office, he faced a deficit of $650 million with a projected $2 – $3 billion loss the following year in a $23 billion budget. Through superb fiscal management—the kind we desperately need now in Washington—he brought about a balanced budget.  He also passed the nation’s first health care legislation, one that was suited for the low proportion of Massachusetts citizens not previously covered.  Through that experience he can help repeal and replace Obamacare.

One other serious issue is Afghanistan where our troops are still in harm’s way.  President Obama foolishly announced dates of withdrawal, subjecting our soldiers to “friendly” fire from Afghanistan trainees who don’t want to be considered collaborators after we leave. In my opinion, Governor Romney will find a sensible, workable solution to this politically motivated decision by President Obama.

Much of what President Obama wrote in his book is non-controversial and appealing to all, including Governor Romney, such as racial equality, better educational systems for all, and an improved health care delivery system. While I’m sure that the two candidates will differ on specifics in many of the areas addressed in the book, the purpose and appeal to the reader is to show the former senator’s empathy with the electorate, not necessarily the presentation of extensive policies of how things would be accomplished.  This is unlike Governor Romney’s book, No Apologies, which presents a great number of policy statements and views.

National security and the economy are influenced by the federal government and are the two key areas facing the next president. We have a choice between the leadership of Governor Romney, Congressman Ryan, and a host of Republicans at all levels to turn around our country fiscally, educationally, and with growth creating and sustaining jobs, as did President Reagan, or continuing on the downward path led by President Obama.

REVIEW Part I : The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope:  Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

by Senator Barack Obama

Review by John E. Wade II

PART I

What is most revealing in the then-senator’s 2006 book is what is not written in its 352 pages.  The book is filled with anecdotes, demographics, reminiscences, questions and opinions, yet nowhere does the author reveal that he is a trained political scientist.  Senator Obama does not disclose that he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, or that he has a Harvard law degree, magna cum laude.  Many parts of the book are subtle attempts to garner votes, while others are blatant ones, the whole characterized by a surprising lack of detailed biography.

I wondered about the senator’s academic background as I read his book, but I didn’t realize at that time that it was the work of a professional politician, both by training and career path.  I later pieced together the senator’s education, which began with two years at Occidental College, a liberal arts school in Los Angeles with fewer than two thousand students.  Obama was there with a full scholarship.  Through an exchange program with Occidental, after his sophomore year, in 1981 he transferred to Columbia University in New York City where, according to David Mendell inObama:  From Promise to Power, the future senator was particularly impressed by a course in modern political thought.  He graduated from Columbia in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.

Obama wrote in his résumé that he took a job where he “… researched, wrote and edited reports and how-to manuals on international business and finance for international business and finance for multinational corporations.”  After a while, though, he became disenchanted with the job and quit.

In June of 1985, at the age of 23, Obama became a community organizer in Chicago’s South Side, the largest single concentration of blacks anywhere in the country.

Three years later, he entered Harvard Law School, older and more mature than his fellow students and more committed to his studies.  There he graduated magna cum laude and became the first black to hold the presidency of the Harvard Law Review; which included editor-in-chief responsibilities, in more than a century.  Most of the above information about Senator Obama’s past comes from Obama:  From Promise to Power by David Mendell because the senator’s book doesn’t include many key details about his background.

Following graduation from Harvard, Obama directed Project Vote! that targeted the city’s low-income blacks for the 1992 presidential election, and registered some 150,000 new voters.  After the election, he joined a twelve-attorney firm that specialized in civil rights, discrimination cases and neighborhood development in Chicago.  His Illinois law license was active for nine years, but he never handled a trial, working primarily in teams of attorneys who drew up briefs and contracts on a variety of cases.  The firm’s major appeal to Obama was Judson Miner, who had extensive political connections in Chicago, particularly in the black community.

Obama’s first run for public office was for a seat in the Illinois State Senate.  He won, taking office in January of 1997, and served almost eight years.  In late 1999 and early 2000 Obama made an unsuccessful run for the U. S. Congress.  After a campaign that included his opponent’s divorce scandal that surfaced just before the election, Obama won a seat in the U. S. Senate; he was sworn in on January 4, 2005.

The real question now, knowing Obama’s career in academia and politics, is whether the country is willing to reelect a political scientist, attorney and president (whose major accomplishment is Obamacare) for another four years.  Remember also his reckless spending and failure to address deficits, debt, taxes and entitlements.

President Obama has proven that he knows how to register voters, campaign, deliver speeches and press the flesh in a tireless, relentless, ambitious and driven manner.  He has been able to handle the public appearances required by the office.

In my opinion, the stupendous challenge over the next four years will be the economy.  President Obama has had four years of opportunity, just as President Carter did, and both of them failed to remedy the dismal pain of the American people.  Thank God, we chose Governor Reagan over President Carter, and history will show the 25-year growth ignited by Reaganomics (1982 – 2007).

…To be continued

India: Excerpts from World Order

Review by and Comments by John E. Wade II

Kissinger writes, “No mythic founder has been credited with promulgating the Hindu tradition, India’s majority faith and the wellspring of several others.” India has a population of about 1.252 billion (2013). According to Wikipedia the Hindu population is about 1.029 billion (2001 census). The Muslim number is about 180 million (2011 census). By population India is the largest democracy in the world.

Buddhism was founded in India–I observed the place where Buddha preached his first sermon from which I was told most of the religion originated. Buddhism went from India to Burma, Ceylon, China, Indonesia and elsewhere.

China, until modern times, imposed its customs and culture on its conquerors such that they became indistinguishable from Chinese people. Rather, India transcended invaders not by converting them to Indian religion or custom, but by accepting their ambitions with utmost equanimity; it integrated their achievements and doctrines without awe of them.

Britain had a lot to do with unifying India, especially in modern times. The combination of Gandhi and the core values of freedom within the liberal British society led to an independent, democratic India with minimal violence.

Within a few decades it is projected that India will have a larger population than China (1.357 billion in 2013)

The most exciting current development is last year’s overwhelming election of Prime Minister Narenda Modi and his party. Kissinger states, ”With India, Japan and China all led by strong and strategically oriented administrations, the scope both for intensified rivalries and bold resolutions will expand.”

I hope and pray for these Pacific giants as well as the whole world that there will be free, fair trade in goods and services, fostering prosperity in Asia and globally. The business of governments everywhere should be in aiding businesses in order to engender prosperity for people, not the deaths and destructions of wars.