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,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!