(CNN) – David Maraniss, who wrote the recently published Barack Obama biography, "Barack Obama: The Story," on Wednesday characterized the president's life as "an effort to avoid traps."
"He had the trap of being born on an island further than any land mass in the world. He had the trap of being bi-racial, trying to figure himself out, the trap of a dysfunctional family," Maraniss said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien." "And when people look at him today, you know he's often seen as too cautious, and I think there's a reason for that."
Maraniss, the current associate editor of the Washington Post, said the book, which chronicles Obama's young life, provides insight into why "he acts the way he does."