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Barack, Inc.: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign by Rick Faulk, Barry Libert

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Chapter 2. Be Cool

THE INDISPENSABLE QUALITY OF A LEADER WHOSE DECISIONS AND ACTIONS CAN CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES IS HIS COOL—HIS CALM RATIONALITY, STEADINESS UNDER PRESSURE, AND ABILITY TO STAY ON MESSAGE AND CONTROL STRONG EMOTIONS.

Barack Obama, as a memorable YouTube video portrayed him, is the Mr. Spock of politicians—unflappable, unemotional, cool to the point of seeming Vulcan. Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, has said his reaction to winning the Iowa caucuses was hardly different from his response to losing the New Hampshire primary, when he turned to an aide and remarked calmly, “This will turn out to have been a good thing.”

This aloofness can tend to turn off voters who crave more accessible public figures. But over the course ...

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