Loving and Leaving Washington


Loving and Leaving Washington

Reflections on Public Service

John Yochelson

304 pages
16 photographs, index


August 2016


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

August 2016


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

August 2016


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

John Yochelson was seventeen when he first heard President Kennedy’s call, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Responding to the call to public service, he had a front-row seat from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s, when the power game in Washington was played across party lines. Loving and Leaving Washington is his inside account of the lives of public servants from the perspective of a lifelong moderate.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies brought Yochelson into close contact with such heavyweights as Henry Kissinger and Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker; work with the Council on Competitiveness kept him at the center of action. But the rise of bare-knuckled partisanship soured him on DC. In 2001 he left power politics to fight for a cause that he believed in, launching a San Diego–based nonprofit to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering. Funding realities and family ties, however, drew him back to the Beltway.

The bittersweet experience of disengaging from and returning to Washington prompted Yochelson’s candid look at the loss of middle ground in U.S. politics and the decline of public trust in government. In this illuminating memoir, he reflects on the current generation’s dedication to their country and considers the rewards, limitations, and uncertain future of public service.

Author Bio

John Yochelson has served as the president of Building Engineering and Science Talent since establishing it in 2001 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as president of the Washington DC–based Council on Competitiveness, as well as senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the International Herald Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun.


"A quiet but compelling case for working in policy research and advocacy."—Kirkus

Loving and Leaving Washington is John Yochelson’s personal odyssey, tracing a youthful yen for public service through years of nonprofit leadership and now, unhappily, to growing doubts about the capacity of our political system to produce good government. Our democracy is being tested. John brings experience and fresh thinking to the challenge of restoring his vision of effective, satisfying public service.”—Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve 

“Any student considering a career in public service will find that John Yochelson’s memoir is full of valuable insights about creating meaningful social and economic change. He offers not only his own rich experiences with high-level decision makers but also a keen analysis of the economic and political landscape of the United States.”—Shirley Ann Jackson, president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

“For anyone who wants to learn more about public service and the need for bipartisanship to get things done in Washington. John Yochelson’s advice and commonsense approach are much needed today and will be particularly valuable for the next generation of leaders.”—Sam Nunn, former U.S. senator and current co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

“John’s story of collaboration, compromise, and true public service sets the bar for what the next generation of political leaders must be. This kind of public service, which solves the nation’s problems rather than defining success in terms of political gain, is the only way to deal with the serious challenges we face today.”—Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School and author of On Competition

Table of Contents

1. Call to Action
2. Surrounded by Strivers
3. Pegged as Average
4. French Connections
5. Path of Choice
6. Call of Duty
7. Tour in Germany
8. The Club
9. Breakup
10. Swallowed
11. Recovery
12. Transitions
13. Center of the Action
14. Think Tank Entrepreneur
15. Time to Step Up
16. Topped Our
17. Turnaround
18. Stress
19. Coast to Coast
20. Shifting Ground
21. Reality Check
22. Talent Search

Also of Interest