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Tough Love

My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For
Narrated by: Susan Rice
Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (148 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice - national security adviser to President Barack Obama and US ambassador to the United Nations - delivers an inspiring account of a life in service to family and country.

Although you may think you know Susan Rice - whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya - in Tough Love, the author reveals the truth of her surprising story with unflinching honesty. Often mischaracterized by political opponents, Rice emerges as neither a villain nor victim but a strong, compassionate leader.

Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Rice connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan shares wisdom learned along the way.

Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, DC, she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Rice’s elders - immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other - had high expectations that each generation would rise. And rise they did, but not without paying it forward - in uniform and in the pulpit, as educators, community leaders, and public servants.

Susan, too, rose rapidly. She served throughout the Clinton administration, becoming one of the nation’s youngest assistant secretaries of state and, later, one of President Obama’s most trusted advisers.

Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, to Libya, Syria, a secret channel to Iran, the Ebola epidemic, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s leaks, the US response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.

Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love culminates with an appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.

©2019 Susan Rice (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Necessary, Transparent, Educating & Timely.

The Audible sample forced me to purchase this format in the interim of purchasing a hard copy…the prologue speaks penetratingly for itself.

The Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice is one of the few autobiographies I have fully engaged which kept my attention from the first page to the last over a one day reading span.

Her honoring and reverencing of her family lineage were with humility and proudness. Rice’s specific reflection on the discord between her parents and the effect it took on her and her brother will slightly tug on one’s heart strings.

Yet, on those unbreakable parental shoulders the siblings stood on, came from the historical sacrifices and presence of her father, Mr. Emmett, a Cornel professor and governor of the Federal Reserve, and her mother, Mrs. Lois, the Godmother of the Pell Grants (I'm a proud recipient which afforded me great relief in attending school while raising children) and later becoming the Vice President in navigating to the now known College Board. Rice's safeguarding in her generational lessons, notes, teachings comes from the backdrop of one parent's descendants of slaves, and one parent's descendants of immigrants, such a unity.

I wrote down dozens of words, passages and quotes throughout my listening, where her direct and no holds bar narration made the experience more personal and intriguing. The 5 Points and In the Time of Crisis…you’ll need to read the book to fully comprehend.

Aside from her groundbreaking presence in the white house, Rice has her B.A, from Stanford University, a former Rhodes Scholar earning both a master's and doctorate degree from Oxford University. Her educational and professional success comes from her parent’s lessons that she termed as “plain yet powerful”: "Don’t take no for an answer when the question is: Can I? - Family comes first and must stand together - Don’t forget where you come from.” Great lessons everyone should apply to their life's trajectory.

Susan Rice shares a non-duplicated and evidential detail in who she is, and how she evolved to become the woman she is today by her important roles working with both the Clinton and Obama administrations, serving her country, and sometimes being the scapegoat for political situations. All proven to be worthy experiences to endure and evolve from with the love and support by her close knit of relatives, friends, colleagues and mentors such as Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger. Ultimately, the profound and non-wavering support from the 'love of her life' - her husband, her two children, brother and an unbreakable family tree.

Rice made it crystal clear that the skin of her color would not hold her back on any accord while overcoming personal trials and tribulations while utilizing those tough love lessons to preserve, excel and succeed.

“The combination — being a confident black woman who is not seeking permission or affirmation from others — I now suspect accounts for why I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men,” she writes, “and perhaps also why I have long inspired motivated detractors who simply can’t deal with me.” For me, one of the strongest passageways from her book.

Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice provided me with comprehensive history and present lessons that will resonate with me forever…such a necessary read for today’s climate.

Rice has no cut cards, and her book will be gifted to my children.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Memoir

Susan Rice was the Ambassador to the United Nations during Obama’s first term. She was the National Security Advisor during the second term. Prior to that she was a career State Department diplomat in charge of part of Africa.

The book is well written and researched. This is Rice’s memoir of her life to-date. She tells of the problems of being an African-American female attempting to excel in a white man’s world. Rice attended Stanford University. She won a Rhodes Scholarship and graduated from Oxford University with a master’s and doctorate in International Relations. She was born and raised in Washington, D. C. Rice tells of her personal and professional life. It is great to read about an ultra-high achiever. I enjoyed reading the interesting memoir. The book could have been a bit shorter, but it is a highly readable.

The book is twenty-two hours and nineteen minutes. Susan Rice does a good job narrating her own book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Susan Rice for President!

We need tough. We need facts. We need the insight into how policy becomes action. We need to be a team. We need someone who can brush off (at least publicly) being villified only for profit and political gain. She would be my choice for our next "Boss."

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Very enjoyable.

This was a lot of fun to listen to. I appreciate Susan's candor. She is a relatable class act, and I appreciate her service to our country.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed Tough Love

Fascinating book- loved the behind the scenes perspective of so many events in the last 20 years. No matter your politics you will learn something.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Filled with heart

A wonderful story of courage perseverance and love of country! Read beautifully by the author herself makes it even more poinnient !

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • JJ
  • 11-25-19

Beautifully written

Honest and beautifully written. This is an amazingly intimate look at the life of Susan Rice and her time in the Obama Administration. I can’t recommend it enough!

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Everyone needs to read this book.

People like Susan Rice are demonized on TV. For years and years I heard every bad opinion. It is so refreshing to finally get to know her in her own words. I learned a lot and have a better outlook on the world. A must read and a great gift idea.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Tough Love Equals Tough Career

I was presently surprised by Susan Rice and this book. She came across to me as honest and forthright about her experiences at the highest level of government. Ms. Rice is strong and vulnerable. She stood strong in the face of withering criticism that was mostly unfair. They (Democrats and Republicans) made her the fall guy for Benghazi. Her mother warned her not to go on the morning shows to explain the tragedy. There was no way to accurately explain the situation so early in the investigation. The elder Mrs. Rice forsaw the beating that Susan was about to take. I feel like I have a much better understanding of diplomacy and foreign relations thanks to this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Everyone should read Tough Love

Thank you, Susan, for making the effort to write and read Tough Love aloud for us. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your inspiration and the example you set, not only for women but for all mankind. For someone so young, you have been through an amazing number of major world events. As a part of the silent majority, I long for the integrity and professional decency of years past, as when you were a critical part of our security team, and pray we can get back there before all is FUBAR.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful