The maverick (and very funny) governor of Colorado tells his story, from early loss to college on the ten-year plan, to remarkable business and later political success.
In just over a decade, John Hickenlooper has gone from a craft-brew entrepreneur to mayor of Denver to governor of Colorado, hailed by many political analysts, the New York Times and Fox News alike as a solid contender to be the next vice president. It is an unlikely tale of success, quintessentially American yet utterly exceptional. In The Opposite of Woe, Hickenlooper tells his own story of determination and daring, from business to politics, in his singularly sharp and often hilarious voice.
After taking ten years to graduate from Wesleyan University, Hickenlooper found himself laid off from his first job in the oil industry. Lacking a day job, he rented a space in one of Denver’s sketchiest neighborhoods and opened a brew pub. Honest, likable, and practical, Hickenlooper turned out to be a natural at running a restaurant; the pub was a huge success and did a great deal to revitalize a struggling neighborhood. In fifteen years, he blossomed from a small-business owner into a millionaire at the helm of a string of pubs in Denver. He was such an influential member of the community that he acted on the encouragement of many and ran for mayor, essentially on a lark.
And then he won. So began an eight-year run as one of the most creative and successful mayors in the United States. Hickenlooper doubled down on his political career by running for Colorado governor in 2010, which he also won, and then won again. He has tackled a host of pressing and volatile issues in a true battleground state: immigration, fracking, capital punishment, guns, the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, legalized marijuana. Time and again, his administration has persuaded ideologically opposed constituencies to agree on a middle path and move forward—all while dealing with a tragic series of wildfires, “biblical” floods, shootings, and the assassination of a cabinet member.
On display throughout is the rare candidness that has made him not only wildly popular at every step of the way but remarkably successful at getting things done. Cowritten with journalist and cabinet member Maximillian Potter, The Opposite of Woe is a fresh—and refreshing—angle on our political landscape from one of its brightest rising stars.
John Hickenlooper was inaugurated as the governor of Colorado in 2011. The first professional geologist to become a governor in the history of the nation and the first brewer since Sam Adams in 1792, he previously served as mayor of Denver, an administration for which Time magazine named him one of the five top big-city mayors in America. He chairs the National Governor’s Association and was named one of Esquire‘s “Americans of the Year 2012.”