Just the good stuff

The next right thing.

This is a review of Axios’ Jim VandeHei’s latest book of the above name. The prologue suggests reading the book a chapter or two at a time. I chose to read it cover-cover for my first round. Jim has structured this memoir quite like a daily reminder of the important or impactful stuff. Such a daily read can allow the topic to percolate through one’s day, changing and shaping a personal mental model of life.

The book doesn’t just instruct/teach/preach but goes beyond and weaves his own life and work stories. And that’s what sets this book apart.

Jim’s other book, Smart Brevity, documents a method of telling a story for quick yet greatest impact. This well-rehearsed approach formats each chapter in Just the Good Stuff and enables quick read. The stories snap back and forth through his early years growing up, Politico, Axios and other instances.

The chapters are independently complete, yet thread quite eastly when viewed at their macro level. Bulleted ideas to consider complete chapters that begin with an aphorism or a story from his life. Unlike aphorism-heavy books, however, the accompanying stories make a greater impact.

Though I will take another run through the book, this time a chapter or two at a time, I came away with some of his impactful stories. I’ve repeated the ‘…the next best right thing’ mantra more than once since reading the book. And the story he tells of his niece’s note is incredible.

Axios readers will be familiar with many characters from the book (Mike!) and it was good to hear some of their backstories without the book being a memoir for Axios or Politico. This is apparently a telling of Jim’s memories, so I chose to see the stories as supporting cast for the message in the chapter.

Good book, quick read, and thanks to the publisher for the ARC. I kept one of the stars because the book comes at a time when bro-code newsletters are all the rage and the messages within echo those in many newsletters curated by the male influencers producing similar YouTube and newsletter content.

I may need to update my review after a few months of daily reading.

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