2018, by Michelle Obama
This was a welcome addition to my reading list this year. I have always been fascinated by the Obamas yet I didn’t follow US politics closely when they were in office, which meant that many of the events recounted were new to me. I found Obama’s honesty about the challenges she faced refreshing because it resists the heroic narrative of success that signals that public figures are somehow a cut above the rest of us. Rather, Obama carefully illustrated how many people contributed to her journey to the White House, where good fortune played a part, and she did so without diminishing how hard she worked. She shares what was challenging and painful, as well as the sacrifices that were made along the way. She’s honest about the mistakes she made, and how her values were the cornerstone of purpose that informed her choices. I was particularly inspired by the passages that were written about Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson. I consider both women to be strong leaders in their own right.