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Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,621 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Fourteen years before Kirsten Gillibrand succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton as senator from New York, she heard her future mentor say these life-changing words: “Decisions are being made every day in Washington, and if you are not part of those decisions, you might not like what they decide, and you’ll have no one
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Ballantine Books
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This book is about mobilizing women (and men) to get off the sidelines and become active in effecting beneficial change in society. The author is challenging women to become involved in changing society toward benefitting women. Gillibrand said men learned this lesson a long time ago. In so many words change will not happen until more women become active in all areas of government. Gillibrand says politics is one big way to change the country and we need to put more women in position to make ...more
If you're like me, you're reading this book because you want to find out how to get to where you want to be in your own life by learning how someone else got to where they wanted to be in theirs. (p. 19)

Nope. That is not why I read this book. Also, now that I have read this book, I know I am nothing like Kirsten Gillibrand.
I read this book because I am sometimes unpredictable, even to myself. Politics = Not my thing. I engage in the bare minimum necessary for proper civic duty (I vote and I keep
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
My only disappointment with this book came when I finished it - it looks like the only people reading/reviewing this on goodreads are women. It's important for men to read this book too!
Elizabeth Mosley
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was an easy, light read. I wish there had been more substance. The overall theme of the book is that one shouldn't be content to "sit on the sidelines" of life. If there is something you care about, you should get involved in some way to try to affect change. This is a great message. My main problem with the book was that I just felt like it didn't have much weight. Beyond the above platitude, there wasn't much meat. Maybe it's because Senator Gillibrand just hasn't had enough time yet in ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it. I am a huge Kirsten Gillibrand fan but honestly my feelings are somewhat mixed towards this read. For that reason I rated it a 3-STAR although 3.5 is probably more accurate.

For some background color let me share that I recently read Elizabeth Warren’s new book A Fighting Chance and the recent mid-term congressional elections heightened my interest in political figures. Prior to reading this book I knew a great deal about Senator
Maya Smart
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Part-memoir, part-playbook, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World” is a refreshingly practical addition to the women’s empowerment shelf, especially for women who aspire to public service. True to mission, the book even ends with a note that the women’s congressional softball team could use another starting pitcher. She’s talking to you, dear reader. Get in the game!

The book chronicles the life of an extraordinarily accomplished woman leader, but
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with other reviewers; this is more memoir than a “how to”. However much can be learned from Sen. Gillibrand’s stories. I really found her struggles as a working mother relatable. Excited to see what the future holds for her!
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kirsten Gillibrand's book has inspired me, and not because I'm a lawyer or congresswoman with a family and crazy busy life. She inspires me with her complete empathy for those who need help in any capacity, regardless of how similar or different they are to her. Her overarching purpose of the book is to inspire women everywhere to speak up and get involved when and where we are moved by what is important to us. This does not necessarily mean running for office; it can be something as simple as ...more
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) comes from a family of politically active women, and her book is part memoir about her experiences in politics so far, and part call to action (for more women to get into politics, and for policies to fix inequities working women face in our country).

Gillibrand's story is interesting, and there are a lot of anecdotes in here that I found revealing and eye-opening as a man in my late twenties. Gillibrand recounts different instances of sexism and condescension
Reading books by sitting politicians is probably almost always a mistake and this proves that rule. It's full of gee whizz folksiness calibrated to build Sen Gillibrand's personal political brand. Tracy Flick indeed.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Kristen chose politics as a career. She asked around her high powered New York woman network what she needs to do to get elected and made a list. She worked hard to check everything on her list and got elected. That is all. She did not see burning issues that compel her to run. . She is not observant, visionary, passionate or a strategist. After reading this book I concluded she is not eligible to be president.
Claire Cioni
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it

I liked this more than I anticipated.

Favorite parts: her stories about being an overeager, earnest fangirl towards Hilary Clinton during Hilary’s senate campaign, her critique of the whole “having it all” shtick, her honesty about her struggles with weight and appearance, and her no bullshit attitude towards her work.

I met her at an airport in 2012 and she was super nice and friendly. Sadly, I did not make enough of an impression to be in the book. Rats.
John Bohnert
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Before I read this fascinating book, Kirsten Gillibrand was just a name of a New York U.S. senator.
Now, she's become a person that I admire greatly.
A good memoir & call to action for women. Published in 2014 however, it didn’t really help me with my #ReadTheCandadites goals. The parts about her advocacy on things like military sexual assaults cases were very interesting, but I was already familiar with her work in those areas. I did learn about her personal balance of family, young children, and political life, plus discovered she’s both very perky and can curse a blue streak when necessary.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-challenge
I enjoyed this book. I'd say it was a memoir first with some encouraging words for women to get off the sidelines and a tad bit of guidance on how to do so second. Based on the title I imagined it would be less of a memoir and more of a roadmap for this sideline-getting-off-of that I should be doing. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I "read" quite a bit of it by audiobook for convenience and to pass the time (while cooking, driving, etc) and was pleased at how enthusiastic KG is about her work but
Sep 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
It is good to send the message that women need to stand up for themselves, and it's cool Hillary Clinton wrote the note in the beginning, but are the photos in the middle strictly necessary? I told my mother, and she told me that's just vanity.

I like how it refers to Malala. I think Malala Yousafzai's book delivered a similar message in a more moving way. I immediately gave that book to my father, since I thought he would benefit better. I don't want to give him this book, since it's just a
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is clearly meant to motivate women to get more involved in politics. The tone is very conversational and it is a quick read.

After brief descriptions of her childhood, education, and early career as a corporate lawyer, Gillibrand discusses her first steps into volunteering for political campaigns, connecting to democratic party organizations, finding an appropriate race to run in, and doing the leg work to get her own campaign off the ground. This is a years long process, and Gillibrand
Krisi Amey
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Off the Sidelines was an important book to read. I like Kirsten Gillibrand – and I wanted to know more about her. I believe that her memoir helped me to understand more about her – and a little bit more about politics in general. While I still have no desire whatsoever to be a politician, Gillibrand’s book helped me to see that maybe I’d like to be a little more involved with it. While I personally wouldn’t want to use this book in a full classroom setting, I think it would be interesting if our ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014
So inspiring and thought provoking. Shares some highlights if her early years and how she was inspired to get into politics by then First Lady Hilary Clinton. She then talks about the issues she covered in the house & then the Senate. She talks about different issues such as learning how to blend work and family, being a working mother, weight, being kind and why she serves. It's a call to action for women and something akin to Lean In with a more political bent. And I love how she talks ...more
Part campaign biography, part political manifesto. Interesting to see the thought processes of one of the few women in Congress who have talked openly about the intense sexism still going on (or who at least will write it down in their memoir).

Interesting especially in light of current choices for candidates for president in 2016 (but that's fair to say about any political book for the next 18 months)
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Senator Gillibrand inspires me...especially in her fight for gender equality!
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
So inspiring! Made me want to get out there and change the world, in whatever small way I can.
Grant Brunner
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I could do without the magical thinking advocacy.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Love her voting record, but her hubris is pretty nauseating.
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pretty standard politician memoir, but for me it's enhanced by its sprinkling of profanity.
As Gloria Steinem said, brilliantly, “The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off.” So here’s my blunt truth: I’m angry and I’m depressed, and I’m scared that the women’s movement is dead, or at least on life support. Women talk a lot these days about shattering the glass ceiling, but we also need to focus on cleaning the so-called sticky floor, making sure all women have a chance to rise. Loc158

Overall I enjoyed Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World. Gillibrand's
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-candidates
Too few people believe that you can be ambitious, feminine, and a decent person at the same time.

I have a lot of respect for Senator Gillibrand and even more after reading this book. I've been reading a lot of political memoirs this year (thanks 2020 book club!) and I was shocked when Sen. Gillibrand had a whole chapter about her weight and appearance. And yet, this is something that every female politician has to deal with. Her candor in revealing her dress size and her struggles with weight
Ericka Clouther
I read this because Gillibrand is one of the 2020 Presidential candidates. Unfortunately, this isn’t a policy book; it’s part memoir and part resume of her legislative pursuits on behalf of New York. That said, I think it’s difficult to be a woman/mother in my age-group and not be delighted by Gillibrand’s personality. She’s funny and very relatable and to the extent that she mentions her current policies, which is not very much, I’m in agreement with her positions.

On the other hand, she tried
Laetitia-Laure Brock
"If you're like me, you're reading this book because you want to find out how to get to where you want to be in your own life by learning how someone else got to where they wanted to be in theirs."
Definitely not why I picked up Kirsten Gillibrand 's book Off The Sidelines ;-) This is definitely not an how-to-guide, despite the author's attempts to sneak in some how to lists here and there. It's a political memoir meant to build the author's personal brand. Nonetheless, Kirsten is one of few
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
It's hard for me to judge this book since it was written for women and I am not a lady type person.

But Mrs. Gillibrand seems to be a very nice and dedicated public servant. If she were to win the election, I wouldn't be sad.
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Reading Along Wit...: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “Off the Sidelines” 1 4 Oct 28, 2014 06:16PM  

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Kirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand is an American politician and the junior US Senator from New York, in office since 2009. Previously, she served in the United States House of Representatives, representing New York's 20th congressional district (2007–09). She is a member of the Democratic Party.
“How, in this country, the wealthiest country in the world, can we allow children to go hungry?” 5 likes
“If women in all stages of life don't get involved and fight for what we want, plans will be made that we may not like, and it'll be our own damned fault. I think about this everyday. It's true at every level, from the Capitol to your city's town hall to your neighborhood school. We need to participate, and we need to be heard. Our lives, our communities, and our world will be better for it.” 3 likes
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