Though Ted White’s classic, The Making of the President, is far better known, the best book I’ve read about what it’s like to run for political office is To Be a Politician by Stimson Bullitt. In the 1950s, Bullitt ran twice as a Democratic Congressional candidate in his home district of Seattle—and lost both times.
“Men and women are drawn into politics for a combination of motives,” he writes. “These include power, glory, zeal for contention or success, duty, hate, oblivion, hero worship, curiosity, and enjoyment of the work.”
I ran for California Secretary of State last year for an even simpler reason: I knew the office was underperforming, and I believed my work and scholarship made me uniquely qualified to fix it.