Advance Praise


I can’t remember the last political novel I read with any enjoyment. But Harris’s writing is smart and deeply attentive to the importance of language itself in human relations, and his characters all have functioning hearts, even if bruised or buried. I’m pretty sure Joel is more conservative than I am, and I rooted for him, which felt good.”

Dr. Devon Miller-Duggan, author of Alphabet Year, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Delaware


This is not a tell-all tale, luckily for Micah’s coworkers, directors, (and assistant secretary!) but, still, it builds a picture of the bureaucracy that can only be built by someone who has lived through the joy and frustration of making a difference. This is a novel that offers a lively portrait of the realistic and fantasy life of a Pentagon staff officer—using a startling sense of humor to color the thoughts of a very earnest narrator.”

– Madelyn R. Creedon, former Assistant Secretary of Defense


Only Small Things Are Good draws you in with its hilarious, too-true notes on the travails of a Washington policy staffer but it keeps you hooked with Joel’s family story and increasingly essential questions about our country and our life together. Anyone who wonders what life is really like for us much-maligned beltway insiders, or misses worthwhile political discussions, should read this book. It left me wanting to urge nearly everyone in my office, ‘read this, and then we’ll really talk.

Jessica Rodgers, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State


Only Small Things Are Good is the Iliadic tale of a hero who, despite the tidal wave of events put upon him by the gods, remains determined to see his task through to the end. I’ve spent my time down range and I can only say: I wish everyone at the Pentagon had a friend named Sam-Bob. I hope you laugh or groan (or groan/laugh) as much as I did over this book.”

– Matthew Thomas, former Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry


Small Things offers a deft rendering of how policy is made in our nation’s national security bureaucracy, and of how a prophetic voice may be betrayed while speaking truth to power. As an academic who has worked in these institutions, I would highly recommend this novel to the seasoned Washington D.C. policy wonk and I would also extend this recommendation to everyone who seeks a better understanding of the civil servants—the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters—who are the backbone of these institutions.”

Dr. Elizabeth (Libby) Turpen, President and Co-founder of Octant Associates LLC