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A Fighting Chance [Format Kindle]

Elizabeth Warren
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works--and really doesn't--in A Fighting Chance

As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher--an ambitious goal, given her family's modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but fifteen years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington DC to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?
Thus began an impolite education into the bare-knuckled, often dysfunctional ways of Washington. She fought for better bankruptcy laws for ten years and lost. She tried to hold the federal government accountable during the financial crisis but became a target of the big banks. She came up with the idea for a new agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers and was denied the opportunity to run it. Finally, at age 62, she decided to run for elective office and won the most competitive--and watched--Senate race in the country.
In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class--and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America's government can and must do better for working families.

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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Government by the (Real) People... 1 juin 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Elizabeth Warren writes about her life and the motivations that drove her decisions in clear, straightforward language. Though she has had a brilliant academic and political career, she reminds us that government actions are performed by people, people who have experiences with life and love and death, divorce, financial problems, difficult personal decisions. From the development of her expertise in bankruptcy which took decades of dedication to her concern for the related area of consumer protection, to corruption in the banks, then on to the multiple issues she must confront as a Senator, she has reminded us that what governments do touches the lives of real people. She further insists that making the lives of all citizens better should be the focus of all government actions. Too often, special interests have manipulated and lobbied our legislators and executives to act counter to that principle. Yet Warren remains a true believe and has demonstrated a remarkable stamina over decades to keep pushing for, as the title suggests, a "Fighting Chance." Along the way, she covers some of the major crises of recent years and offers common sense reasons why this is possible.
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448 internautes sur 539 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Extraordinary Memoir From a Transformative Political Leader 22 avril 2014
Par LAM - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Let’s get one point out right at the top: Elizabeth Warren is the best thing to happen to American politics in decades. She’s not only a sharp and indefatigable warrior for American middle class families, but she’s also a forceful, persistent and effective critic of excessive financial deregulation and big business welfare.

In addition to her other winning attributes, Elizabeth Warren is also a clear, honest and deeply entertaining writer and her new memoir “A Fighting Chance” is about as good as political memoirs come. On one level, “A Fighting Chance” is a reflection on Warren’s life: her upbringing in Oklahoma in a working class family, her education and legal training, her decades as an advocate for bankruptcy law reform, her battles both inside and outside the Obama Administration to stand up her Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and her run for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against a popular incumbent. On another level, Warren’s memoir is a cri de coeur arguing that the support structures and institutions that enabled Warren to succeed have been washed away by decades of wrongheaded policy choices, selfish economic priorities, and an aggressive lack of care for future generations.

In the final estimation, Elizabeth Warren accomplishes in her memoir the same thing she accomplishes so often in real life: she envisions and argues for a better, more equitable America that supports all of its families, rather than a select few. Once the reader finishes “A Fighting Chance,” it’s easy to understand what the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone meant when he said that he could use ten more progressives in the Senate -- "or one Elizabeth Warren." Before reading her memoir, I believed that Elizabeth Warren is the last, best hope our country has; after reading her memoir, I'm certain that she is.
247 internautes sur 300 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The one-star reviewers didn't read it 27 avril 2014
Par Paul K - Publié sur
I got an advanced copy of this book back in January. When I see these one star diatribes I know none of these people got even 20 pages into it. This is not a sales book--Warren is not telling us why we should believe this or support this. Rather, it's more of a journal of how she got started, the luck and decisions that led her from job to job--and how she ultimately ended up in board rooms trying to convince bankers that short-term success wasn't always in their best interest. Her studies of bankruptcy and credit cards and ballooned mortgages show us that it's not just about individuals but how our economy is affected as a whole.

Of course, you can disagree with her liberal positions on a lot of things, but again, the book isn't trying to sway the reader to get on the bandwagon. If anything, she's more like a scientist: she shows evidence of patterns and statistics that show how a shrinking middle class threatens our future and how tax loop holes only serve those who don't even need them. It's written with eloquence and candor (and sometimes a bit of frustration) but for the most part it tells of how she got where she is and why she can't just ignore the laws that truly threaten lower class families. When she wrote THE TWO INCOME TRAP a decade ago she showed us that we get fooled into believing that hard work always pays off and that doing he right thing will always protect you in the end. Not so. In an economy like this one, the strong always maintain greater control and the weak stay weak--or slip even further behind.

Is she right every time?--of course not. There really ARE poor people who buck the system--just like there are very rich people who do as well. But Elizabeth Warren shows with great clarity how the economy is hurt more by the rich who escape on technicalities than by the poor who milk the system.

Again, not every theory she expresses is perfect, and we'll never have a perfectly even system, but Warren breaks down how a more even economy will ultimately lead to a better future. She's entitled to that opinion, and her extensive research makes it clear that she's looked at this from many different angles.

Which is more than the one-star reviewers can say.
191 internautes sur 234 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best (auto)biography I've ever read 28 avril 2014
Par William Springer - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I don't usually read a lot of autobiographies, but I'm a fan of Elizabeth Warren and I've heard good things about this book, so I decided to give it a try. I figured I'd start on it this weekend and finish it later in the week, but as soon as I got into it, I was hooked. The writing is very good and I found myself laughing out loud at times (such as when the author describes setting her kitchen on fire).

The first few chapters cover the author's life before she got involved in politics: how she grew up middle class until her father got sick and lost his job; how she earned a debate scholarship and went to college (despite her mother's desire that she focus on finding a husband), then dropped out of college to get married and have a baby. How she finished her college degree and then a law degree, while raising two kids. Then - in what would eventually lead her to becoming nationally known - how she ended up getting involved in bankruptcy law and research into why people declare bankruptcy. As a bankruptcy expert, she lead the (ultimately unsuccessful) fight to keep the law from being changed to enhance banking profits at the expense of those who would no longer have access to bankruptcy protection.

After her work on bankruptcy, she eventually ended up leading the COP panel, which oversaw TARP (Trouble Assets Relief Program), more commonly known as the bank bailout. The panel unfortunately had no real power - they could take testimony, but could not compel people to testify, nor could they insist on being present when Treasury (which didn't appear particularly interested in oversight) made the decisions on how to spend the $700 billion that Congress had authorized to bail out the financial system. While the committee's power was essentially limited to issuing reports, they were able to shine enough light on the sweetheart deals that Treasury cut with the big banks to ensure that later deals were harder on the banks, saving the taxpayers billions of dollars.

In 2007, Warren had proposed the creation of a new government agency specifically to regulate financial products, as no current agency had that as its primary mission. After the economic meltdown, Congress was finally motivated to act, and Warren convinced Barney Frank (who was in charge of the bill in the House) to insist on a strong new agency. Gathering support for the bill took a concerted push by many people, from nonprofits and unions all the way up to the president, with the big banks fighting hard to destroy or disempower the new agency. This was where Scott Brown entered the story, as (having won Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat) he now had the power to filibuster the bill, which he used to add a $19 billion break for the banks before allowing it to pass. With the change, the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law.

Unfortunately, while Warren had proposed the agency, fought hard for its creation, and then served as its acting head to get it up and running, the banks (and thus the Republican party) were dead set against her being confirmed as the permanent head of the agency. The president gave in and instead nominated Richard Cordray, whom Elizabeth which point Senate Republicans announced that they would block ANY nominee unless the law were changed to take power away from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Due to a typo in the law (the word section was replaced with the word subsection), the new agency would not have much of its power until a director was confirmed. Cordray was given a recess appointment in January 2012, but was not formally confirmed by the Senate until July 2013.

After losing the chance to run the agency she had created, Prof Warren intended to return to teaching, but was encouraged to run for the Senate instead. Her family was against it; she was over 60 and had never run for political office. Speaking with residents of the state, however, she became convinced that working people needed to have a strong advocate in the Senate and that she could be that person. She started out far behind the popular Scott Brown in the polls, but eventually won 54-46 in a state that strongly shares her values.

Reading this book, sometimes I was laughing (she's a very good writer), sometimes I was angry (as she describes how those with money and power take advantage of desperate Americans), and sometimes I was excited about what she wants to accomplish, but I was always entertained. I highly recommend this book.

Full disclosure: I made a small contribution to Prof. Warren's senate campaign.
This post originally appeared at Vulcan Ears Book Reviews (

Edit: I accidentally posted this under the hardcover page, but I actually read the Kindle version. I finished the book before I expected to, since on the Kindle version the main text ends about 60% of the way in, to be followed by photos and (not surprisingly, the author being an academic) tons of endnotes.
120 internautes sur 152 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Inspiring Story - 22 avril 2014
Par Loyd E. Eskildson - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Senator Warren came from humble origins in mid-America Oklahoma - her father worked as a department-store salesman and then a maintenance man and her mother went back to work at 50 as a phone operator in Sears to try and save the family home; her brothers were an Air Force pilot, construction worker, and self-employed. Elizabeth herself began work as a special-education teacher. She attributes her successes to her parents' hard work and support, along with a nation that then invested in bilding kids and their futures. Now there's less commitment to providing affordable access to college/tech-training, our infrastructure is inadequate/crumbling, and research funding is being starved. Today, 'the game' has become rigged to further help those with money and power.

Sheer determination got her through college, then law school while also being mother to two youngsters. Then it was a couple of art-time stints teaching legal writing at Rutgers (where she'd obtained her law degree), followed by a full-time tenure track position at the University of Houston. Soon her marriage fell apart because all the external and child-caring demands on he time left her husband feeling left out. Fortunately, her family moved and helped out by carrying for the children.

After volunteering to teach bankruptcy law right after it had been changed, she soon realized there was no data on 'Why do people go bankrupt?' Convention wisdom was simple - 'they're lazy, freeloaders.' Unsatisfied, she and two other young professors undertook a study, and found nearly 90% of bankruptcies were due to job loss, medical problems, or family breakup (usually divorce, sometimes a death in the family). And the number undergoing bankruptcy was rapidly rising.

In the 1980s a Supreme Court ruling and a quietly passed Congressional amendment eliminated to then cap on interest rates that could be charged, and the age of banking deregulation was underway. The bigger banks started loading up the number of credit cards issued and escalating fees, and then in the 1990s began targeting those barely eking out a living - charging them super-high interest rates. Next came preapproved credit cards for college students, sometimes even for a pet dog or cat, followed by lobbying to restrict access to bankruptcy relief.

Warren eventually accepted a permanent position teaching at Harvard, largely as a means to help do something to counteract the power of bankers. Writing books and a position on a presidential commission studying bankruptcy further raised her image. Unfortunately, after several years of repeatedly spreading lies about the costs of bankruptcy supposedly foisted off on others, combined with high-powered/funded lobbying, the bankers won.

Then came 2008 - after years of financial shenanigans, the music finally stopped and millions more Americans were forced into bankruptcy, and numerous large firms, including leading financial institutions that had created the mess, also found themselves in serious problems. In response, our government focused on bailing out the wrong people, and the effects are still felt - a weak economy, sagging tax revenues at all levels, and soaring government expenditures and deficits.

Ms. Warren continues, as Paul Harvey used to say, with 'the rest of the story.'
161 internautes sur 207 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 College Professors Understand the Lives of Regular People 22 avril 2014
Par jwt0001 - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Elizabeth Warren is hated by the banks, big business and any other group that enjoys the control they have over our lives. As a lawyer, law school professor, and United States Senator, she could easily be part of the elites she criticizes. Yet her book clearly describes how she grew up as part of the middle class that fought to stay afloat. While researching why people filed bankruptcy for her law school work, she quickly discovered that the "deadbeat" label did not fit the large number of filers. It helped her become one of the first (and only) people willing to take on the banks with a fierceness seldom seen by the financiers.
Her biography should be required reading by anyone who believes that the deck is stacked against them. Not only does she prove it, but she also presents a great example of how the country cannot survive with a rapidly shrinking middle class that cannot fight back fairly.
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