How George Got His Groove

The late-blooming Bush was a failure at 40. But he changed his life and found a road that led him to the statehouse and beyond. Here's how

Tom Dickey ducked into George W. Bush's office and found his boss in a rare pensive mood. It was the spring of 1986 in the West Texas town of Midland, and Dickey, a young geologist at Bush's oil-exploration company, Spectrum 7, had come looking for some optimism--usually a good bet from Bush. After all, Bush was that lean, kinetic, glass-half-full kind of guy who loved edgy verbal sparring and dumb nicknames (he called Dickey "Total Depth," a drilling term that matched his initials). But this time Bush was fresh out of optimism. With his cowboy boots propped up on his desk,...

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