Finding My Voice

My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward
Narrated by: Valerie Jarrett
Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (372 ratings)

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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

"It's obvious in Jarrett's narration that she isn't...comfortable with #TMI...nor a practiced performer...but that makes the intimate moments she does share, in a familiar yet professional voice, all the more evocative." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Revisiting her illustrious career, from inner-city Chicago to the White House and beyond, Jarrett reveals the life-changing events that, though perilous at the time, enabled her to become a virtuoso corporate and philanthropic leader, and a valued presidential adviser." (Booklist

"An insightful addition to a growing shelf of books by insiders from the Obama administration." (Kirkus Reviews

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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”.

3 people found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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I loved it!

This is a great book for people who want an inside view of what it’s like to work in the government in many different capacities. Having Valerie narrative was especially nice. It felt like a new friend telling you her life story. I would recommend it to all women.

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Really Good Book!

I really enjoyed this book. Especially loved the inside and behind the scenes look at the Obama campaign and then his administration.

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All the stars for this beautiful memoir

This is definitely one of the best audiobooks or books period that I’ve ever read. It reminded me of the format of Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” (which I absolutely adored). Like “Becoming” it left me wanting to hear more and more. I learned a lot, identified with some of her workplace struggles, empathized with her experiences, and was inspired by her vision. Truly this book was a wonderful pick-me-up from the divisive politics that we now live in and has given me more hope in my every day life. It has grounded me in the potential of what the US could be when we work towards justice and equality at every turn.

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Biography and political junkie

The two descriptions above are in reference to me so this was right up my alley. I saw Ms Jarrett on The View talking about her book and am not disappointed that I purchased it. I found it quite enjoyable. Her family’s history, way back to the 19th century, was so different from what you typically hear about Black people during that era. I’m not going to give details because I like being surprised so don’t want to ruin it for others. Nonetheless, it’s a very interesting book and I loved being “inside” with the Obamas. Thanks Valerie.

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Inspiring Story

I had the opportunity to hear Valerie Jarrett speak in San Francisco. She was a wonderful storyteller. I wish more of her voice as a storyteller had come through in the book. At times it seemed to be a mix of voices — perhaps a result of the editing process. That said, it was interesting to learn more about her life; and I would recommend the book.

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Very Good Listen

This book provides a wide perspective on the rise of Obama, the major supporters of his agenda and the obstacles that they alll had to face with dignity and decorum. Valerie Jarrett''s. place of birth and upbringing give us a much broader view of the US issues. This book is historical and educational.

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Interesting

It was a very intimate look on the inside of her personal relations with the Obama's and the Authors own struggles . A bit long