What I’m Reading | Mufi Hannemann
Twelfth Mayor of Honolulu

Published in the Honolulu Advertiser, 11/26/06
Interviewed by Christine Thomas

What are you reading?

I have a standard staple of always reading two or three books at once. When I get bored, I’ll put one down and move to another. But I can tell you that I always start the day or end the evening by reading something spiritual.

Right now I’m reading “Team of Rivals” about Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. She was my professor at Harvard and gave me the inspiration to be a White House Fellow. The next is “Beyond Basketball” by Mike Krzyzewski. And I’m about a third of the way through Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.”

What connects these diverse, imposing individuals and draws you to them?

The measure of a person in life is how you deal with adversity and personal so-called defeat, and taking those weaknesses, if you will, and turning them into strengths. They’ve all had adversity. Lincoln lost elections…his son, and dealt with very difficult times in our country. In the case of Coach K, here’s a fellow that didn’t always have success in life, personal or otherwise. Barack hasn’t won all the time either. He talks about how his race has been used against him but he continues to move forward. I can relate to that.

Does reading about their challenges inspire you to confront Honolulu’s, such as the rail system or sewage problems?

When I read, I’m looking to learn, to validate, but most importantly to see that, hey if they were able to deal with it that way, so can I. There really is nothing the good Lord can give us that we cannot overcome. Always do what is right and you’ll never go wrong.