October 2020 Book Recommendation
Becoming by Michelle Obama goes through the life of Michelle from a young person growing up in the upstairs suite of her aunt and uncle’s house on the South Side of Chicago, to the White House in Washington where she served as the First Lady of the United States of America.
Michelle highlights many experiences that shaped her early life. She watched her father’s strength and determination as he coped with a debilitating health condition (that eventually took his life). Michelle was a promising student that was fortunate to benefit from opportunities to access enriched education. However, she had to sacrifice substantial amounts of time to cross Chicago in order to attend classes.
Michelle appears by nature to be purpose-driven and guided by a passion to make positive change - yet she admits to a chronic underlying questioning about whether she is “good enough”.
Michelle became the First Lady of the United States when her husband Barack Obama was elected as the president. In this role she was able to make a positive impact by promoting fitness and access to healthy foods. Under her leadership a fruit and vegetable garden was established on the White House grounds.
A few key messages stood out for me - from a woman in leadership perspective:
It is important to step back and strategically focus before undertaking new initiatives (as she did when she took on her new role at First Lady). This can take time, but it is worth it.
Young people need to be nurtured to grow and develop into their adult roles. This is especially true for young people from minority groups. It is important to connect with and mentor young people.
To be an effective leader, you need to lead by example.
Before reading this book, I really didn’t know a whole lot about Michelle Obama. I had heard a few things about her in the media and I respected her positive leadership ability. Having now read Becoming by Michelle Obama, I’m really impressed by her confidence, perseverance and her ability to adapt to a high-profile political life that she had never aspired to. I especially appreciate how as a mother she has been able to maintain and shelter space for her family amidst the turbulent world around them.
If you're not much of a reader,
this book is also available through Audible, an online platform that creates audio versions of novels.