Leading from Behind

The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him

Richard Miniter

St. Martin's Griffin

Barack Obama has never been fully vetted—until now.       

In Leading from Behind, New York Times bestselling investigative journalist Richard Miniter presents the first book to explore President Obama’s abilities as a leader, by unearthing new details of his biggest successes and failures. Based on exclusive interviews and never-before-published material, Leading from Behind investigates the secret world of the West Wing and the combative personalities that shape historic events.

Contrary to the White House narrative, which aims to define Obama as a visionary leader, Leading from Behind reveals a president who is indecisive, moody, and often paralyzed by competing political considerations. Many victories—as well as several significant failures—during the Obama presidency are revealed to be the work of strong women, who led when the president did not: then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and Valerie Jarrett, his closest adviser and an Obama family confidante, whose unusual degree of influence has been a source of conflict with veteran political insiders.

In Leading from Behind, you will learn:

·         Why Obama’s relationship with Israel was poisoned years before he met Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu

·         The real reason for Valerie Jarrett’s strong hold over both Barack and Michelle Obama

·         ObamaCare wasn’t Obama’s idea. It was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s. And the real reason he danced to her tune.

·         Obama delayed and canceled the mission to kill Osama bin Laden three times and then committed an intelligence blunder that allowed dozens of high-level members of al Qaeda to escape.

·         Why Obama destroyed a secret budget deal with House Speaker John Boehner that would have reformed entitlements, slashed spending, and reduced the national debt—without raising taxes

·         Why Obama is determined to save Attorney General Eric Holder, even though he has lied and stonewalled Congress about “Operation: Fast and Furious”

·         Why Obama removed an elected Christian president of Ivory Coast and replaced him with a Muslim leader who had lost the election

·         Why Obama let a U.S. citizen rot in a Cuban prison when Cuban dictator Raul Castro wanted to release him

·         Why Obama decided to defy the Tea Party and ditch his plans to end earmarks

In Leading from Behind, Richard Miniter’s provocative research offers a dramatic, thoroughly sourced account of President Obama’s White House during a time of intense domestic controversy and international turmoil.


Read an Excerpt

You can be stylish and powerful, too. That’s Michelle’s advice.
—Barack Obama speaking to graduates at Barnard College, May 14, 2012
Every examination of a president should begin with the people and events that shaped him. In the case of Barack Obama, four strong-minded women, who intertwined their lives with his, were the most formative: his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham; his wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson; his mentor, Valerie Jarrett; and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. Nancy Pelosi, the


Praise for Leading from Behind

"Miniter has penned a very insightful look inside the leadership qualities of someone who remains somewhat of a mystery. Within these lessons about leadership, the top level investigative reporter in Miniter has found great stories and never before reported facts to animate the book's main theme. Readers will very much enjoy Miniter's latest New York Times bestseller." —Forbes.com

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Richard Miniter

  • RICHARD MINITER is the author of two top-ten New York Times bestsellers, Losing Bin Laden and Shadow War, as well as Mastermind, the first biography of 9/11 planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He writes a column for Forbes.com. A former editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal in Brussels, member of the investigative team at The Sunday Times in London, and editorial-page editor of the Washington Times, Miniter has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, as well as The Atlantic, Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, The New Republic, and National Review. He has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. He has won awards from the National Press Club and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (shared). He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

  • Richard Miniter © Drew Xeron
    Richard Miniter


Available Formats and Book Details

Leading from Behind

The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him

Richard Miniter



St. Martin's Griffin