The things I like about this book, is the passion, maturity, values and others discussed in the book. Obama was a Senator from Illinois when he wrote the book.
He was born in 1961 in Hawaii. His father is from Kenya and his mother from Kansas. He grew up partly in Hawaii and partly in Indonesia. He went to law school at Harvard University.
He was elected to Illinois State Senate in 1996, and elected to US Senate in 2004. He is married to Michelle, and they have two daughters, Sasha and Malia. In 2007 he announced his candidacy for 2008 presidential election, and won and made history by been first black to become the President of US.
The book was written in 375 pages (The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, Australia). There are nine chapters in the book, and the events discussed are not in chronological order, hence one may start by choosing any particular chapter. I started by reading Chapter 1 - Republicans and Democrats, and continued with Chapter 8 - The World Beyond Our Borders and then to Chapter 4 - Politics, and finished reading the rest in proper sequence.
It will take me quite awhile to complete this summary. I had made some comparisons with what are practiced in the States to other countries, particularly Malaysia.
It is interesting to note Obama was born when John F Kennedy became the President of US, the youngest ever to hold the office.
Obama' account of Indonesia is interesting and quite details indeed. There was nothing mentioned on Malaysia to be found in this book. Perhaps it was of no interest to him. In his opening statement on Indonesia, he described the republic as 4th most populated nation in the world after China, India and the US, and the most populated Muslim in the world. There were more than 700 ethnic groups and 742 languages spoken in Indonesia.
Obama came to Indonesia when he was six years old with his mother, who remarried his step father, an Indonesian lieutenant. He went through the same life style of normal Indonesia of his age such as chasing down chickens, running from water buffalo, nights of shadow puppets and ghost stories. As his mother was working at the US Embassy as an English teacher and paid salaries in US dollars, he had good food and led a moderate living standard. His stepfather later worked for an American company, and afford to live in bigger house and got a car and a driver, a refrigerator and a TV set. Because of his mum's concerned for his education, Obama was sent back to live with his grand parents in Hawaii.
Obama gave a detailed of what US went through the several stages of development, transformations and others to be what US is today. Been a Democrat he did not attributed all the credits were due to strong leadership of Democrat Presidents and the weakness were due to poor the leadership of the Republicans. What US is today were made by every single US Presidents who were either Democrats or Republicans. Of course he did criticised the poor leadership of several presidents irrespective whether they were Democrats or Republicans.
This is unlikely to occur in many countries and Malaysia is no exception. It is as though it gives the ruling party the sole right to critics the opposition whenever the opportunities arise and these are echoed through the mass media extensively. The people who had voted the opposition had to pay a very price for electing the opposition members. Development were either blocked or delayed. It worked extremely well during those days but may now actually backfire in this age of IT. Several Acts of Parliament were introduced and implemented to curb people's freedom in the name of national security, and hundreds of people, mainly opposition were imprisoned without proper courts trials.
Google has its Corporate Headquarters in Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley in California. It achieved iconic status by mid 2004. The company started with two Stanford Ph D candidates in computer studies - Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They collaborated in a dorm room to develop a better way to search the webs. In 1998 with million dollars raised from various contracts Google was formed with three employees operating from a garage. Six years later when Google went public, it made Mr Page and Mr Brin two of the richest people on earth.
Google's mission - to organise all of the world's information into a universally accessible, unfiltered and usable forms. Google site index has already more than 6 billion webpages, and these numbers are ever increasing. Book Project's goal was to scan every book ever published into a web accessible format, creating a virtual library that would store the entirety of human knowledge.
To stay competitive Google hires the top graduates of the top maths, engineering and computer programs, and usually relied heavily on foreign students.
What does all these lead to. In simple language, nothing in any country including ours are no longer confidential, including our so called Malaysia's classified P & C. One needs to put in the Search Engines to know the amount the personal data stored somewhere. These include all comments, petitions that one has made in the past. Every photo albums stored online, such as Facebook had been recorded perpetually, and it is an impossible task to retrieve and delete them.
To Obama, the Iraq invasion was a big mistake. There was no evidence of mass destruction weapons found in Iraq even to these day. Daily bombings and innocent people were killed, and when this meaningless killing will end is full of uncertainties. But true in the American spirits, they upheld the actions by Bush inspite of the fact many American soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The book is also about the rights of the individuals as to their freedom of speech, movements and rights to peaceful assembly to petition the government, the right to buy, sell and own property, and to have it taken without fair compensation. In reality these are universal rights. How do we fare on these issues. Anyone familiar with the Malaysian Constitution, will smile when discussing these rights. Of course we will argue that we fare better than neighbouring countries. Why make such comparison. Isn't it fair that comparison be made with countries like UK, Canada, Japan and others.The US poor takes for granted for goods and services - electricity, clean water, indoor plumbing, telephone, TV and household appliances, that are still unattainable for most of the world. In broad outline, government actions has three forms - build the infrastructure, train the workforce and laying the foundation necessary for economic growth. In a dynamic growth, anyone with enough energy and talents could rise to the top, based on meritocracy rather than hereditary