Alex Yudelson serves as Chief of Staff for the City of Rochester. He oversees the Mayor’s office and serves as the Mayor’s senior advisor, assisting her with the day-to-day operations of City Hall. He also manages intergovernmental affairs with local, state, and federal elected officials. Alex returned home to the City of Rochester from the White House, where he served as a Policy Advisor in the office of the President’s senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett. He served as President Obama’s primary liaison to sports teams, leagues, and athletes, and helped coordinate the President’s relationship with local and state elected officials and other constituencies. During college, Alex studied abroad at the University at Oxford and was chosen to be a delegate for President Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Alex graduated Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science and Philosophy.
What are you reading right now?
Master of the Senate, by Robert Caro.
The desert island question – What 5 books would you have to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Plato’s Republic
- As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
- Civilization and its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud
- The entire Harry Potter Series
Do you ever read the end of a book first? Why or why not? Never – I didn’t even know that was a thing!
What is at the top of your To Be Read pile?
Ulysses, by James Joyce
Is there a genre or type that you are over and wish would just go away?
I hate to say it, but the old Victorian literature is just… not good. Sure, they might paint a beautiful picture of a scene in your imagination, but the characters and plot are almost never compelling.
Describe your favorite place to read.
As I get older (I’m 26 going on 70) I find myself falling asleep while reading, so I need to be sitting upright at a coffee shop or in the living room.
Book or movie? Is there a movie that you think was better than the book?
Most books are better than the movies, because they can include more substance. The only exception I’d say would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The books are good; the movies are better.
What is your preferred format? Hardcover, paperback, digital, audio, doesn’t matter?
I have some sort of mental block with audio books – I can’t focus. Has to be either hardcover or paperback, but no preference between the two.
Share a favorite quote from a book you’ve read. Why is it meaningful to you?
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” from The Great Gatsby. To me, it perfectly sums up the human condition of being unable to move beyond (and learn from) the past.
What book would you love to see made into a movie? Who would play the lead role?
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, with Mahershala Ali and Daniel Kaluuya.
What book are you recommending that everyone read right now?
Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg
Is there a book you feel is highly overrated?
Catcher in the Rye and any book by Ayn Rand.
Why do you read?
Reading helps my critical thinking and decision-making processes. It’s important to keep your reading skills sharp for any job – and it’s a healthy alternative to so many of the other leisure options in our life.