In contrast, consider Ronald Reagan’s success in his first year. Reagan understood the importance of surrounding himself with A-list staffers, having served as the governor of California for two terms. When he was elected president, he asked James A. Baker, one of the most gifted political operatives in Washington, to be his chief of staff. One of the reasons Reagan was able to attract a man of Mr. Baker’s caliber was the president’s reputation as a generous leader with a genuine interest in letting the men and women around him shine. With Mr. Baker at his side, Reagan achieved arguably one of the most successful first two years of any president in history.