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Thank you for reading Spin Doctor. As an
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Suggested Questions for Discussion
How much privacy should
public figures have? Do we have a right to
know their health profile, for example, if
it has no bearing on their performance?
What do you think Jack
is afraid will happen if his secrets are
Do you think Jack was
right to obfuscate his past with his
friends? Would they really have thought less
What is the metaphor of
the Bay Bridge?
Why do you think Evan
and Bob are friends? Why is Jack friends
with both of them?
When do followers,
whether staff or the public, owe their
loyalty to a public figure and what should
they do if they feel the public trust has
been violated? Does a staffer have a moral
obligation to not use inside information to
embarrass the boss? Does your position on
this extend to life beyond politics? How
much loyalty do you owe your employer?
What are Linda’s
motivations for spending time with Jack? Do
you think she is sincere?
Who do you believe
about Lixubistan? What should the US do?
Do you think Jack is
satisfied with his relationship with women?
Which of the women do you think he should
have stayed with?
Would Jack have been
able to climb so high politically had he
been honest about his background from the
outset? Was spinning his father's death
If Cunningham had not
been such a questionable successor to
Dexter, should Jack have been concerned and
taken the action he did?
Do you think Dexter was
a good president? Was he a positive
character? Does the moral ambiguity of his
health crisis diminish his presidency? Would
you vote for him?
Do you think it is
possible that Dexter was moved by Jack’s
concern and faked his collapse at the
The novel begins with
the quotation from Joseph Conrad: “You know,
I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie. Not
because I’m straighter than the rest of us,
but simply because it appalls me. There is a
taint of death, a flavor of mortality in
lies which is exactly what I hate and detest
in the world.” Why do you think the author
included this quotation? What does it mean?
Did you ever feel as
though spin doctor Jack Abbot was spinning
his story to you, the reader, or were you
convinced of his sincerity throughout?
Jack rationalizes that
"spinning" is not the same as lying. Is
there a difference? Is simply telling the
truth always the right thing to do?
Can you blame Jack for,
as he says, "putting [himself] in a better
light?” Is it relatively harmless and common
to do this? Do you know people outside of
politics who are guilty of the same thing?
Do you think Jack made
the right decision at the end of the book?
us know your suggestions for discussion
questions and we will add them to this list.