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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best seller

Finalist for the NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work"

"Valerie has been one of Barack and my closest confidantes for decades.... [T]he world would feel a lot better if there were more people like Valerie blazing the trail for the rest of us." (Michelle Obama) 

"The ultimate Obama insider" (The New York Times) and longest-serving senior advisor in the Obama White House shares her journey as a daughter, mother, lawyer, business leader, public servant, and leader in government at a historic moment in American history.

When Valerie Jarrett interviewed a promising young lawyer named Michelle Robinson in July 1991 for a job in Chicago city government, neither knew it was the first step on a path that would end in the White House. Jarrett soon became Michelle and Barack Obama's trusted personal adviser and family confidante; in the White House, she was known as the one who "got" him and helped him engage his public life. Jarrett joined the White House team on January 20, 2009 and departed with the First Family on January 20, 2017, and she was in the room - in the Oval Office, on Air Force One, and everywhere else - when it all happened. No one has as intimate a view of the Obama years, nor one that reaches back as many decades, as Jarrett shares in Finding My Voice

Born in Iran (where her father, a doctor, sought a better job than he could find in segregated America), Jarrett grew up in Chicago in the '60s as racial and gender barriers were being challenged. A single mother stagnating in corporate law, she found her voice in Harold Washington's historic administration, where she began a remarkable journey, ultimately becoming one of the most visible and influential African-American women of the 21st century. 

From her work ensuring equality for women and girls, advancing civil rights, reforming our criminal justice system, and improving the lives of working families, to the real stories behind some of the most stirring moments of the Obama presidency, Jarrett shares her forthright, optimistic perspective on the importance of leadership and the responsibilities of citizenship in the 21st century, inspiring listeners to lift their own voices.

©2019 Valerie Jarrett (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A stirring volume illuminating the power of intelligence and grace...Jarrett narrates her journey from Iran, where she was born to American parents, to the West Wing, where she was one of President Obama's most trusted advisers." (O, The Oprah Magazine

"Jarrett had charted an ideal path for herself - 'law school, work, marriage, baby, bliss.' Then her marriage...imploded. She was a single mom and a miserable, mediocre associate at a law firm. The separation and subsequent soul searching prompted her to leave the firm and climb into Chicago politics. The rest was history.... Jarrett’s early struggles relay a...life lesson. Her early, mistaken view was that 'it was somehow a sign of strength if I had the self-control to never waver from my intended course.'” (The New York Times

"[Jarrett] shares the stories you're dying to hear about what it's like to advise (and just hang out with) former President Barack Obama." (Bustle

What listeners say about Finding My Voice

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Insightful

Jarrett’s parents were educated. Her father was a pathologist and geneticist. Jarret lived her first five years abroad. Her father was posted at a hospital in Shiraz, Iran. Before returning to the United States, they traveled the world. Her great grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor, was the first black student to attend M.I.T. He graduated in 1892 and became the country’s first black architect. Jarrett tells of her early life, education and difficulties with racism. Jarrett graduated from Stanford University and Michigan Law School. She went to work for the City of Chicago. She was Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor when she hired Michelle Robinson. When Obama became president, she was a Senior Advisor during both terms. Jarrett covers her working life in depth.

The book has the feel of being written by a team. Rebecca Paly and Tanner Colby, who are listed as collaborators, are both well-known ghost writers. The story itself is so inspiring it raises above the “team writing”. I think the publisher needs to heavily edit and maybe rewrite some of the book and to re-issue it. Then it would be a great five star read.

The book is eleven hours and twenty-three minutes. Valerie Jarrett does a good job narrating the book. Her narration helps overcome some of the “team writing”.

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Riveting

A front row view of Valerie Jarrett’s youth and professional career rise to the most powerful role of her life.

Loved it!

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Loved it! Maye

Great book, kept my interest from the beginning to the end. It’s a must read! I highly recommend this book.

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Interesting Read

Fascinating to hear what happens behind the scenes of a WH staffer and confidante.

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Great Read

This book read well to my listening ears. It offered me some beautiful memories of her life and her time in the White House.

1 person found this helpful

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Great listen

I really enjoyed hearing Valerie tell her own story, and I'm happy she didn't outsource the narration.

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  • kt
  • 02-25-22

Good

If you have read Barack and Michelle’s book then there is not much here outside of her personal life since their lives were closely entwined. Otherwise its a very nice read.

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Valerie Jarrett Makes it Real

Powerful, honest, insightful. Rare view of the executive level heart and strength. Well done!

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An Awesome Read

Valerie Jarrett has an incredible story. As a Chicagoan, I am so impressed with her work and roots in our city. This book encourages my audacity to hope.

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Thank you for sharing your story.

This book was an unexpected and inspiring delightful treat. So much of your personal journey resonated with me. Particularly the opening scene of you in your office crying. Despite never having that particular experience, as a big firm attorney I have felt that feeling of doing all the right things and checking all the boxes and still not feeling happy. Wanting to do something more and trying to figure out how to find your passion while juggling the needs of daily life. I can’t even express in words how much I needed this book. Thank you.