George Bush will never be remembered for soaring rhetorical flourishes. His legacy as a speaker will be defined by abrupt — and much mimicked — phrases such as “Wouldn't be prudent” and “Read my lips.” But as much as he may have seemed at times to be distant at the podium, the man who put pen to paper in private was less self-conscious, at times personable and at times combative and, on occasion, quite funny. Unlike most presidents who author autobiographies shortly after leaving office — both to pay the bills and to offer an unchallenged defense of events that happened on their watch — Bush declined such offers, leaving historians the task of assessing his tenure. Instead he assembled a lifetime of letters and other writings into the revealing 1999 bestseller All the Best. What follows is a small collection of excerpts that capture pivotal moments in his life in his own words.