A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great is one of the shorter, fun books I read this summer. It’s by Ed Rendell, who was district attorney, mayor of Philadelphia, and then two-term governor of Pennsylvania. If you’ve heard him speak or seen him on TV, you know he’s a colorful and outspoken observer of political life in the United States. No surprise, then, that this book is colorful too, with lots of great stories. His theme is that leaders shouldn’t just tell people what they want to hear. But because politics has become so intensely partisan, too often our political leaders seem to be afraid to tell us the truth and to actually lead us in making the hard choices we need to face up to, on issues like education reform and the federal deficit. As a mayor and governor, Rendell faced up to some very messed-up budget situations and made some smart trade-offs. I thought his point of view was really refreshing. He makes a good point about how politics has changed in ways that make it harder for leaders to emerge.