MixedWashington PostWith a deft literary hand, Klaas describes how positions that offer power and possibilities for enrichment feature incentives that attract the wrong sort of people ... His warnings would be more disturbing were they not delivered with such verve. Being so entertained, we can lose sight of the fact that police agencies whose recruitment ads feature military tanks and violent SWAT teams, and presidential roles with low oversight and heady possibilities for procurement contracts for family members, are going to pull the expected kinds of people into the recruitment pool ... Klaas...fails to bring his deep understanding of global politics to bear on the really tough problems. His stories offer ample tactical tweaks, such as improving recruitment to make jobs more attractive to better people, or rotating leadership posts and using randomized integrity tests focused on those at the top to catch those who can do the most harm ... His ideas are pitched at a level suited to business boardrooms. But for anyone seeking political improvements, Klaas sidesteps the hard questions ... Klaas’s failure to take on these tougher points provides little guidance on how to accomplish change. But his love for a rollicking tale yields a fun and entertaining book.
PositiveWashington PostDavid Litt, a former Obama speechwriter, brings Dave Barry-style humor to an illuminating book on what is wrong with American democracy — and how to put it right. His humor and ability to clarify the complex take readers on a jaunty journey ... Litt’s playful stories and fun facts explode common wisdom ... In the book’s strongest contribution, Litt shows how radically our democracy has been altered in recent decades ... Despite sharing Litt’s political leanings, alma mater and love of cats, I could barely get past the off-putting tone I call liberal East Coast smug. More important, it means I can’t get my conservative brother or father to read this book and take its lessons to heart ... I’ll hope some former Republican takes it upon herself to write a translation. Meanwhile, those on the other side of the aisle can enjoy Litt’s rollicking read about this important topic.