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A Fighting Chance | [Elizabeth Warren]

A Fighting Chance

As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher - an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington, DC, to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?
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Publisher's Summary

An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works - and really doesn’t.

As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher - an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: Could she come to Washington, DC, to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?

Thus began an impolite education into the bare-knuckled, often dysfunctional ways of Washington. She fought for better bankruptcy laws for 10 years and lost. She tried to hold the federal government accountable during the financial crisis but became a target of the big banks. She came up with the idea for a new agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers and was denied the opportunity to run it. Finally, at age 62, she decided to run for elective office and won the most competitive - and watched - Senate race in the country.

In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class - and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for working families.

©2014 Elizabeth Warren (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

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  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 05-02-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 05-02-14 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The fight for the middle class"

    Elizabeth Warren’s new autobiography reveals how her political career grew directly from a long career focused on the same issues she is championing in her public role. It is sort of a journal of how she got into the fight for the middle class. Warren spoke about growing up on the “ragged edge of the middle class” in Oklahoma. She tells about her childhood, her failed first marriage, trying to be a stay at home mom, going to school and becoming a law professor and of her successful second marriage. While a law professor she became an expert on the new changes to the bankrupt’s law. She and her students did research into causes and trends in the rash of bankruptcies in the 2000’s. She wrote articles in law journals and books telling about the problems and the pending collapse of the banks and the middle class. She blames most of the problem on the deregulation on the banking industry in the 1990s and the banking lobbyist. She tells of her work on a national oversight panel reviewing the bank bailout in 2008. She also tells about the fight for and then setting up of the Consumer financial Protection Bureau, her brainchild. She mixed policy points, with behind the scene anecdotes; she also does some big bank bashing Warren’s ability to translate complicated finance issues into plain English and parables that appeals to fair play is what rocketed her career. The book ends with her first year as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts giving us an inside glimpse at the horrible gridlock Washington is in. The book carries a message of hope that with the middle class pitching in we can put Washington into working order. Warren does a good job narrating the book.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-20-14
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-20-14 Member Since 2010
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    "The First Woman President of the United States"
    Where does A Fighting Chance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Fighting Chance?

    Senator Warren's flexibility in moving around and how the family managed to stay together in situations where many families would fragment or become bitter with one another.


    What does Elizabeth Warren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The intonation of her voice embraces the vocabulary and brings truth to the words most people in politics shake out of a campaign can with only hints of well rehearsed faux-sincerity in their tone.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really. I like to reflect on what I have heard and thus avoid blurring the important facts and events into a contextual experience only.


    Any additional comments?

    I am convinced that Elizabeth Warren is the real thing and have, for about two years felt that she is not in the position of influence in the Senate as only 1-voice in 100. Her campaign for president of this nation will bring to the forefront many of the issues and character aspects of other candidates, which may well create a surge of support from both sides of the ridiculous polarity that has so tragically divided this nation for the past two decades.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Millburn, NJ 06-03-14
    Amy Millburn, NJ 06-03-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Book. Great Narration."
    Any additional comments?

    I thought this book might be dry, but it was a really enjoyable narration of Senator Warren's personal story and her experiences with DC culture and her move into the political realm. I already lean towards her progressive ideas but I will say that she also cleared up some misconceptions I had about the financial crisis. Definitely worth a credit!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-01-14
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-01-14 Member Since 2008
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    "This book has "Audie" written all over it!"
    If you could sum up A Fighting Chance in three words, what would they be?

    For the People


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Elizabeth and all of those on both sides of the American political spectrum who are working for the American people.


    What does Elizabeth Warren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I normally don't like it when authors narrate their own books; they tend to be very flat. Janice Ian was an exception to this rule, and Elizabeth Warren is as well. I can actually picture her teaching classes at an elementary school, or even at Harvard Law school... her inflection is fantastic!


    Any additional comments?

    I have NO interest in American politics and very little knowledge of the financial issues that caused the 2008 US recession. Elizabeth Warren's memoir details the work she and many others did on behalf of the American people - in studying the practices that caused people and families to go bankrupt, reporting on the causes of the 2008 financial services breakdown, and in pushing for a consumer agency that requires banks and mortgage lenders to provide plain language in contracts. But make no mistake - with very few exceptions, this is not a dry, boring, treatise on American banks. This is the story of one woman, who came from humble beginnings, who became one of the American peoples' strongest champions.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 05-17-14
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 05-17-14 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "Zowie, Wowie!"

    In 2006, James Scurlock produced "Maxed Out: Hard Times in the Age of Easy Credit." That was the first time I'd heard of Elizabeth Warren, and what she said in that movie was meaningful for me personally. Even though I have an undergraduate degree In Business Administration and a Doctorate in Law with a Certification in Tax Law, I thought I just didn't understand finance. In the 1990's and the first 8 years of the 21st century, I could not understand what was happening in the housing and credit markets. I knew retirees on Social Security with small pensions buying half million dollar homes; single mothers working in entry level retail jobs driving new BMWs; and people who worked at Starbucks taking long Paris vacations.

    How was this possible? It sure didn't fit with my business education and its fiscally conservative approach. But I wasn't working in banking or finance, so I just thought things had changed and I hadn't kept up. I stayed away from Adjustable Rate Mortgages and Cadillac SUVs, and wondered what I was missing that everyone else was buying into. Besides, I had student loans to worry about.

    I wasn't missing a thing. A good portion of the country, puzzled by Byzantine mortgages and lured by (in hindsight) too-good-to-be-true car loans, were living an ersatz American dream. When I saw Warren in "Maxed Out" in 2006, I was first relieved. "I'm not an idiot!" I thought. "It doesn't make sense, and here's a Harvard Law professor pointing at the Emperor's New Clothes." My relief turned to horror by the end of the movie - Warren was certain the economy was going to tank, and two years later, it did.

    Warren's "A Fighting Chance" (2014) is a biography of sorts; an explanation of how 'The Great Recession' (2008 - ?) happened; a paean to motherhood, grandmotherhood, and the importance of family; an indictment of the lack of oversight and political machinations that made 'too big to fail' possible; and common sense suggestions to help people out of financial difficulties caused not because they were stupid, but because there were a lot of people engaged in deceit, if not fraud.

    Warren's Oklahoma drawl and her homespun analogies make what banks and other lenders tried to obscure in legal labyrinths understandable. In arguing for regulation, Warren talks about the "exploding toaster". As Americans, we expect the Consumer Products Commission (CPC) to warn us if a product is dangerous. Warren discusses her unflagging work in establishing the US Consumer Protection Financial Bureau to warn about "exploding loans." She also talks about the concentrated efforts of banking lobbyists to make the Bureau "for show", and to stop Warren from heading it.

    The lobbyists got the second half right - Warren's not the head of the Bureau. She is, however, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). What's the right cliche? Be careful what you wish for? Warren's far more of a threat where she is, introducing bills to protect college students from excessive debt, for example - than she ever could have been as head of the Bureau.

    There's been talk of a Warren presidential run in 2016, and all I can say is "I hope not!" She'd be an accidental president, as William Howard Taft - who longed for an appointment to the US Supreme Court - was. And, please - don't put her into the Vice Presidency to shut her up, or balance out a ticket. Let her do what she does best: protect the average person from financial predators. If she stays in the Senate, more support - and if she doesn't, how about Attorney General?

    I guess I'm gushing more than a little here, but that's to be expected with Hero Worship ( capitalization intended). This is a great book, especially if you are wondering how the world's greatest economy suddenly ended up on the short list for the train to 'hell in a hand basket.'

    22 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Evans Mills, NY, United States 05-19-14
    Rebecca Evans Mills, NY, United States 05-19-14 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "11 hours and 17 minutes of pure inspiration"

    Loved every minute of this book. Elizabeth Warren's message is beyond clear and inspirational. Great insight of the inner workings of the financial industry from an expert.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    231326 Silver Spring, MD, United States 05-17-14
    231326 Silver Spring, MD, United States 05-17-14
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    "A Caring and Emotional Appeal for Real Change!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Fighting Chance the most enjoyable?

    She's a great teacher! On the Frontline Episode she interviewed for (regarding the Bank Bailouts and Credit situation for Americans on the brink), her tears told the whole story.

    That story is that a handful of people in a position of power and trust abused both, and left the rest of America to pay the bill when the margin call came. She isn't afraid to tell you what she thinks, and will say it on the record... "The game is rigged!"

    In this book, however, what you get is more about what makes her the person that she is now. She's sharing painful things that shaped her life, and stiffened her resolve to make America work the way it's supposed to. She is now a Senator, and believe me, she's not going to take her teeth off the hind ends of those who have been abusing their power in DC.

    For the record, I am not a resident of her state, nor a member of her political party. I am writing this as a person very moved by what I heard; it makes me want to know more about her monetary policy, and how her financial theory could dig the US out of the hole we're in.


    What other book might you compare A Fighting Chance to and why?

    AYN RAND's Atlas Shrugged, because it too showcases how corruption destroys a nation of creators, builders, and leaders.

    The only difference is that Senator Warren isn't suggesting that those who produce and create something of value break off and form their own society. She (Senator Warren) wants those people to work with her to fix this broken economy, and punish those responsible (even criminally in some cases)!


    What does Elizabeth Warren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her voice and emotion add depth to the words she's written. It's her story, in her words, and in her voice; who better to tell it?


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If you've got a drive across the country, this book will take care of you for about twelve hours; when you arrive in Washington, DC...you'll want to visit your representative in person, and with the information she's given you in this book, ask those questions they don't want to hear, and demand an answer.

    Then, pay a visit to Senator Warren's Office, and ask to shake her hand, and say, "Thank you!"


    Any additional comments?

    We've got to start being responsible for ourselves again, because the people placed in office are sometimes asleep at the switch. Sometimes they are literally looting the place for whatever they can get their hands on while in office. Regardless of political belief, a thief is a thief, and Senator Warren is going to expose each and every one of them.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Johnson 06-26-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Not for everyone"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I have to give Warren credit for reading it herself. I don't think anyone else could have come across in the same way... or the way she intended. Her read does sound a bit motherly as if she knows it all.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Elizabeth Warren again?

    I like Elizabeth Warren, really, I do. But this book was too focused on all the bad bankers and politicians, with little or no advice for the common people. Perhaps that was the topic for one of her other (many) books. I chose this due to the rating and a bit disappointed.


    Which character – as performed by Elizabeth Warren – was your favorite?

    The stories about her role in COP were the best... that and the ones about her dog(s). She's dead on when her child tells her "You're not funny".


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Fighting Chance?

    10 Chapters and about 9 of them could/should be cut. Her troubles in running for the senate or growing up in OK. Add to it all the fairly flat stories of some poor bastard that lost there job or house.... reads too much like a political commercial.


    Any additional comments?

    Let me sum up the book right now: She's very knowledgeable of the economic situation that went on during the downturn in 2008. Warren did her best... won some, lost some. She had a hard run for senate, but won. She likes dogs but both die in the book :( No true advice to the people except: Save more, spend less, don't get sick, read/understand before you sign anything and you should care about the political environment around you because you're getting screwed (if you didn't know that already).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marlie Stroud Riverside, CA United States 06-18-14
    Marlie Stroud Riverside, CA United States 06-18-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Excellent Book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! Elizabeth Warren is a true leader for the people, the middle class. She's a brilliant and astute humanitarian. She writes very well and I will miss her voice when I walk my dogs in the morning


    What other book might you compare A Fighting Chance to and why?

    Any of the biographies of FDR.


    Have you listened to any of Elizabeth Warren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    NO.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it's way too long. But it hold together when listened in shorter periods.


    Any additional comments?

    I really love her attitude, sensitivity and general feeling for the people in this country. I look forward to watching her career in the Senate if not the White House. She represents the 'power of the people'.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas New Mexico 06-18-14
    Thomas New Mexico 06-18-14 Member Since 2005

    kestrel

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    "Draft Her"

    This should be read by every rank and file common American. She is a scrapper willing to fight for us, "we the people". I think we should draft her in 2016 for president. At the same time throw out all of those party hacks that only seem to be able to support the moneyed corporations and "one percenters", who think "We The People" just means them. We need someone who would actually do what the people need and want. Let's Draft her.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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