“Mandatory reading... for everyone who cares about the efficacy of American government.”

—Josh Bolten, former White House chief of staff (G. W. Bush)

“If you care about reinvigorating trust in our democracy, read this book!”

—Mack McLarty, former White House chief of staff (Clinton)


About Christopher P. Liddell

Christopher P. Liddell has held senior roles in politics, the private sector, and philanthropy. He was White House Deputy Chief of Staff during the Trump Administration, and has been involved in three presidential transition cycles, including the White House operational head of the transition to the Biden Administration, where he played a key role. In the private sector, he has been Chief Financial Officer of several major companies, including Microsoft and General Motors. Liddell graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering from Auckland University and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

About Year Zero: The Five-Year Presidency

Building an effective White House is critical to its success—and to democracy in the United States.

Designing, planning for and operating a White House has never been more important given the challenges the nation faces. Liddell offers a strategic approach on how to build an effective and successful presidency. He demonstrates persuasively that action must be early, comprehensive and visible-starting in what he calls Year Zero, the year before governing. His book lays out the concrete steps and recommendations that would significantly improve how the White House should function, and through that trust in one of our fundamental institutions.


“...a definitive nonpartisan playbook for presidential success.”

—Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group

“...not only a superb guide to the way the modern presidency works—or doesn’t work. It’s also a compelling manifesto for modernizing presidential transitions.”

—Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford

“I have little doubt that this book will become the Bible of presidential transitions, required reading and re-reading in every serious presidential campaign and in every White House for the foreseeable future.”

—Charles M. Cameron, Princeton University

“The wise, nonpartisan, counsel [sic] in this book comes from a professional who has worked on all sides of presidential transitions and who orchestrated, from the inside, the most challenging transition in the history of the presidency.”

—James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University

“Future presidents will be wise to follow his advice.”

—George C. Edwards III, Texas A&M University

“...a must read for every candidate, campaign staff member and citizen who cares about the future of American democracy.”

—Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, The Brookings Institution

Featured Article

The Five-year Presidency, National Affairs

I don’t remember turning off a light — not when I closed my office door in the West Wing for the last time, nor as I walked through the White House to the Oval Office a few minutes before Joe Biden’s inauguration as the country’s 46th president. Yet America’s transition from one president to another resembles nothing so much as the flip of a switch: At noon on January 20th, it’s instantaneous.

Read the full article