That's not always a good thing.
The problem with President Obama, his biographers say, is that he's also a writer: a man who likes to think about the big picture and the long term. He's a thinker who happens to also be the most powerful actor on the world stage.
"He's such a writerly guy," said Ron Suskind, author of Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President. And not just because the president has already written two autobiographies. In Obama's head, he's both the all-knowing narrator and the main character, Suskind said.
Obama's "trying to always think ahead, not get caught up in the 24/7 news cycle," said Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One. The problem with thinking ahead, Suskind said, is that "when the president acts, all those variables change."
Staying detached and thinking long-term may have helped Obama get major legislation through Congress, like the stimulus package and the 2010 health care reform law, his biographers said at a panel at The Atlantic's Washington Ideas Forum. But a president who focuses on the long-term can pass up on tangible moves that could create better circumstances for citizens right away.