New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, recently joked that Ebola patients should read his new book while being quarantined, but Cuomo's book sales have been no laughing matter.
Amid a series of negative-to-tepid reviews, Cuomo's "All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life" sold a mere 545 copies during the second week since its release, a 43 percent decline from the 945 copies sold during its first week on the market, according to the New York Times.
In the wake of Cuomo's joke, Politico published a particularly scathing review titled "Quarantine This Book," in which its author wrote:
[E]ven in the already low bar that is the political biography genre, Cuomo’s book seems unique in the degree to which current controversies circling the governor are not just glossed over, but ignored completely. It’s as if Larry Craig tried to write a memoir without mentioning the Minneapolis airport. (He actually did try to do that, but no publisher bit.)
Let’s begin with the book’s title. For someone who was tapped to run an $8 million dollar gubernatorial campaign at age 24; chosen to be an assistant district attorney in a prestigious jurisdiction after having failed the bar exam four times; picked to chair New York City’s Homeless Commission after just a few years of housing policy work; nominated as a U.S. Cabinet secretary while still in his thirties; and then quickly viewed as a mega-state gubernatorial heir apparent—all due primarily to his lineage—the title All Things Possible is more than a little ironic. Yet Cuomo doesn’t acknowledge the irony; quite the opposite, actually. He recently called his lineage “politically, a negative.”
[sharequote align="center"]"It’s as if Larry Craig tried to write a memoir without mentioning the Minneapolis airport."[/sharequote]
Cuomo clearly takes ample pride in the up-from-the-bootstraps story of his Italian immigrant ancestors, but the book’s attempts to conflate his forebears’ rise with his own gilded path as the son of a powerful three-term governor fall flat. Indeed, those less well-born—that is, approximately 99.99 percent of the population—may bristle at the insinuation, which might help account for the book’s chilly reception to date.
But a more plausible explanation for the book’s reception is evident once you get beyond the cover: It’s just not that interesting.
On Amazon, "All Things Possible" has been panned, with a 1.2/5.0 rating based on 589 reviews as of this writing.
Bloomberg claims that most Amazon reviewers are conservatives who have not read the book, pointing to a Facebook thread from a group opposed to New York's SAFE Act gun control legislation in which the group suggests that followers consider publishing negative reviews of the memoir, and the fact that a third of one-star reviews come from those who have reviewed no titles other than Cuomo's. Conversely, "Team Cuomo has decided to sit this one out."
While "All Things Possible" has not been well-received, the New York governor reportedly received an advance for the book of over $700,000.
Governor Cuomo has likely hurt himself through a series of alleged ethical lapses -- detailed in an extensive New York Times exposé published back in July of 2014 -- culminating in "The Grey Lady's" refusal to endorse the sitting governor in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Perhaps not surprisingly however, the Times recently endorsed Cuomo over his Republican opponent in the general election, where Cuomo is poised to sail to an easy victory and return to Albany.
Recent polls show the incumbent holding a 20-plus point advantage over his Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.