An unlikely presidential candidate introduces himself to the nation.
If nothing else, many readers will agree that Herman Cain is, in many ways, a remarkable man. He has set high goals for himself and consistently achieved them because he was willing to "work a little harder, and a little longer." He grew up in the segregated South, but his enterprising father never let him use racial barriers as an excuse for failing to pursue his dreams with dogged determination. His business acumen is beyond question; he has been president and CEO of several large corporations and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He is an ebullient and rousing public speaker with a strong religious faith and love for America. However, his debut book shows that Cain is neither a skilled writer nor a deep thinker, as he might readily admit. The text rolls on like unedited oral history—imagine Cain on his porch reminiscing about a long career in business, shaking his head in wonder at how it all turned out. There are a few odd, embarrassing sections, as well—e.g., the chapter on his fascination with the number 45, or his "Leadership History" table going back to high school. Of course, this is a campaign biography, written to motivate the reader to imagine the author as CEO of the United States. While Cain tries to make a virtue of his lack of ready answers on every conceivable issue, his political positions never go deeper than conventional pieties like his wish "to create reasonable regulations that cut down on bureaucracy while helping business to succeed" and conservative slogans like "replace Obamacare with a patient-centered free-market approach." His famous "9-9-9" program does not even make an appearance. The resulting impression is of a well-meaning and well-spoken man with enormous self-confidence and a vision inspiring to many, but no real sense of the depth and complexity of our foreign and domestic issues, and no practical knowledge of how to accomplish effective change within our political system.
A featherweight campaign autobiography that is too revealing of the candidate's limitations.