Ron DeSantis’ Memoir Reads Like It Was Written by ChatGPT: NYT Critic

  • The New York Times’ nonfiction book critic Jennifer Szalai tore into Ron DeSantis’ book on Monday.
  • Szalai wrote that DeSantis’ new book “reads like a politician’s memoir churned out by ChatGPT.”
  • She also wrote that the Florida governor’s book has no charisma.

A book critic for The New York Times has written a searing criticism of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new memoir.

“While his first book was weird and esoteric enough to have obviously been written by a human, this one reads like a politician’s memoir churned out by ChatGPT,” nonfiction book critic Jennifer Szalai wrote in her review on Monday.

She was referencing OpenAI’s generative AI tool, ChatGPT, which has been known to produce content ranging from college essays to full-length books.

Szalai also wrote that DeSantis’ memoir, “The Courage to Be Free,” appeared to be “courageously free of anything that resembles charisma, or a discernible sense of humor.” 

“His new book will leave some supporters, who have encouraged DeSantis to ‘humanize himself’ for a national audience, sorely disappointed,” Szalai added.

“In his acknowledgments, he thanks ‘a hardworking team of literary professionals who were critical to telling the Florida story,’ but presumably those professionals could only do so much with the material they were given,” she wrote.

Szalai is a full-time book critic and writes weekly book reviews for The Times.

It’s unclear if ChatGPT was used in any part of the book’s writing. Representatives for DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

DeSantis did write another book in 2011, “Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama.” It was meant as a takedown of then-President Barack Obama, and a direct rebuke of Obama’s first memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

The new DeSantis book gives readers a closer look at his life

“The Courage to Be Free,” a deeper look into DeSantis’ life, was released on February 28. The book contains some new information about his political career.

For one, DeSantis wrote about how he thought his Ivy League education at Yale and the Harvard Law School put him at a disadvantage when campaigning against other Republicans. 

“I viewed having earned degrees from Yale and Harvard Law School to be political scarlet letters as far as a GOP primary went,” DeSantis wrote in the book.

“The voters valued education and probably assumed that I was a smart guy, but those ‘elite’ universities had become so synonymous with leftist ideology and a ruling class mentality that most grassroots conservatives were understandably skeptical of those institutions,” he added.

DeSantis also included a passage about his marriage with Casey DeSantis, writing that he agreed to get married at Disney World on the condition that “no Disney characters could be part of our wedding.”

“I wanted our special day to look and feel like a traditional wedding. I didn’t want Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck in our wedding photos,” DeSantis wrote.

Insider’s Kimberly Leonard reported on Tuesday that DeSantis left out some major details in his book, including only the scarcest details about his parents, siblings, and friends. DeSantis also steered clear of publishing juicy gossip about his fraught relationship with former President Donald Trump.

The book’s release is a key indicator that DeSantis is looking toward a White House run in 2024, Leonard previously wrote. He has not announced his candidacy yet but is already deeply embroiled in a feud with his one-time ally, Trump.

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