Promises to Keep Book Summary - Promises to Keep Book explained in key points
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Promises to Keep summary

Joe Biden

On Life and Politics

4.1 (72 ratings)
31 mins

Brief summary

Promises to Keep by Joe Biden is a memoir that covers his life and political career from 1972 to the present. He reflects on his family, tragedies, and accomplishments, including his time as Vice President under Barack Obama.

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    Promises to Keep
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    Joe Biden’s childhood experiences equipped him well for leadership.

    Throughout his childhood, Joe Biden struggled with a bad stutter. When he was nervous, or had to speak up in class, it would creep up on him, trapping the words in his throat and making him burn with shame.

    But the young Joe was determined to teach himself how to speak in public. He memorized speeches and poems, and recited them to himself as he stood in front of the mirror. If he stuttered, he simply started again, practicing how to relax the muscles in his face as he spoke.

    Remarkably, over time, this stubborn practice began to work. Joe Biden came to love public speaking, and went on to address crowds of thousands with ease.

    The key message here is: Joe Biden’s childhood experiences equipped him well for leadership.

    Today, Biden credits his stutter for preparing him to become a political leader. It gave him a blueprint for tackling adversity through sheer determination, something which has seen him through countless difficult situations. It also gave him some of the empathy for which he’s so well-known. Biden has never forgotten what it felt like to be bullied and humiliated.

    Much of Biden's political philosophy can be traced back to his experiences in childhood, and how his parents taught him to respond. He recalls being humiliated by a nun at school who mocked his stutter, calling him “Mr. Bu-bu-bu-biden.” Joe told his mom what had happened, and she, furious, went straight to the school, threatening to yank off the nun's habit if she did it again. It didn't matter that the nun was a respected figure in the church, Biden's mother judged her on her behavior, and there was nothing she hated more than a bully.

    This willingness to stand up to bullies is seen throughout Biden's career, whether in the fight against racial discrimination, in reigning in crooked colleagues, or in opposing foreign dictators. Joe Biden was taught by his parents, and through his Catholic faith, that to serve others was a sacred responsibility, and that those in power must use it to uplift the disenfranchised. Biden was inspired to become a public servant in the broadest sense of the word. Whether as a public defender, senator, or contender for the presidency, his desire has always been to serve his constituents the best way he knows how.

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    What is Promises to Keep about?

    In Promises to Keep (2007), Joe Biden recounts personal anecdotes from his childhood and long career in politics. He reveals how he was taught by his parents to always follow his convictions, and how he entered politics as an underdog, but quickly built a career in the Senate that spanned four decades. Lastly, he recounts how personal and professional adversity have made him a more resilient and insightful father, husband, and political leader.

    Promises to Keep Review

    Promises to Keep (2007) is an honest and reflective account of Joe Biden's journey in politics and his pursuit of a better future. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers insightful perspectives on important political events and issues, giving readers a deeper understanding of the complexities of governing.
    • With its emotional and personal storytelling, the book offers a genuine glimpse into Biden's motivations and experiences, making it relatable and compelling.
    • The book's focus on resilience and hope highlights the author's determination to make positive change, keeping readers engaged and inspired throughout.

    Best quote from Promises to Keep

    Neilias absence was like a companion that never left my side.

    —Joe Biden
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    Who should read Promises to Keep?

    • Voters wanting to know more about one of the US presidential candidates
    • Memoir-lovers who want to learn about the personal life of a remarkable politician
    • Historians interested in how Senate politics has changed over the last four decades

    About the Author

    Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2020. He represented Delaware for 36 years in the US Senate before serving as vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. After leaving the White House, he published the second volume of his autobiography, entitled Promise Me, Dad (2017). Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, do extensive philanthropic work through the Biden Foundation and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

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    Promises to Keep FAQs 

    What is the main message of Promises to Keep?

    The main message of Promises to Keep is Joe Biden's journey in politics and his vision for the future of America.

    How long does it take to read Promises to Keep?

    The reading time for Promises to Keep varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Promises to Keep a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Promises to Keep is worth reading as it provides insight into Joe Biden's political career and his commitment to public service.

    Who is the author of Promises to Keep?

    The author of Promises to Keep is Joe Biden.