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My Own Words

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,114 ratings  ·  813 reviews
The first book from Ruth Bader Ginsburg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993—a witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture.

My Own Words offers Justice Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Sarah I enjoyed the audio book which featured recordings of RBG reading many of the excerpts from the record. RBG is a fascinating and driven woman, and you…moreI enjoyed the audio book which featured recordings of RBG reading many of the excerpts from the record. RBG is a fascinating and driven woman, and you will learn about her as a writer and as an interpreter of law. There is no effort here to shine much light on her private life, and the best humor comes from speeches by her husband. It is really the original writings of RBG with a bit of intro or context, not a Kitty Kelly style bio of the woman. Pair this with Notorious RBG and you begin to get a fuller picture, but the fandom pov of that book makes it a little too light weight, I like the two extremes together, like salted caramel, they balance each other.(less)
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4.06  · 
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 ·  5,114 ratings  ·  813 reviews

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Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Biographies of strong women are greatly appealing to me, which led me to acquire and commence this book by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, supported (and likely guided) by Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams. It was only after I began reading that I realised that I was again not receiving a memoir or biography, but a compendium of thoughts and reflections by a female Justice of the US Supreme Court, known in the vernacular as the Notorious RBG. The reader attentive to my reviews will likely shake a ...more
Jessica Jeffers
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm kind of disappointed. I don't think I'm going to rate it at all because my disappointment primarily stems from the fact that I expected this to be an actual memoir when it's really a collection of old writing and speeches, edited and introduced by official biographers. It's interesting enough, but I didn't get as much from it as I wanted because it was significantly less personal than I expected.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard an interview with Justice Ginsburg about her new book. Justice Ginsburg stated it was a collection of her writings and speeches since she was in the eighth grade. I have read a great deal by and about Justice Ginsburg over the years so was familiar with most of the material presented. Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams of the Georgetown Law Center are writing Ginsburg’s official biography which will not be released until after she leaves the Court. They wrote the opening introduction and a ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Interpretation of Justice

She has been called notorious, controversial, scandalous, contentious, more recently said to have "lost her mind" (quote from an empty-headed jack-o'- lantern)..but that's ok- such attributes have made her an effective trailblazer and pathmaker in her judicial career. For the words from a petite 5' 1" female frame to be heard and pondered with a degree befitting the seriousness and impartiality required of the highest court in the land, they must erupt on occasion
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Before you start throwing things at me for giving this book such a low rating, let me make one thing very clear: The two stars are no reflection on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's writings or thoughts. If there was any reason I devoured this book, it is because I quickly became a fan of RBG when reading about her broad-mindedness and her passion for equality and her efforts to bring both into the shaping US jurisprudence. I would love to read more about her and her legal opinions, but not in this book.

Mellie Antoinette
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t know anything about Ruth Bader Ginsburg before starting this book. Other than at some point in my youth, she miraculously appeared on the Supreme Court like some kind of judicial immaculate conception. All this is to say that for me she was not an icon, she was not anyone I could associate any particular words, legal positioning or political stances with. She was just a lawyer (insert pun here)!

She is no longer just anything anymore. Told using archive recordings, court transcripts and
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, her eyes twinkle as she responds, “My answer is, when there are nine.”

My Own Words is much more than a biography or a memoir. It is also a collection of lectures, writings, and Court decisions by one of only four female justices in the history of the United States Supreme Court. I didn’t find it to be an easy read, even though it is not filled with difficult legal language. It does contain weigh
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It's not an exaggeration to say that I fear the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg more than I do nuclear war. I feel like the country could possibly recover from the latter, but I'm really not sure about the former. This says a lot about the character of the Court in modern times--its politicization, the wisdom of having life tenure, the desecration of Gorsuch's confirmation, and not a small bit about how lucky we are to have such a brilliant, pioneering, charming person anchoring the liberal wing of ...more
Daniel Chaikin
Mar 29, 2017 marked it as abandonned
I got about 2/3 through on audio (over 8 of 13 hours). It was worth the time I put into it, but there were large sections that were essentially repetitive or that didn't add much and that weren't necessary that interesting the first time. So, I decided to move on to another book.

Ginsburg is very interested in women's rights and in women becoming a growing part of the legal field and of the judges. She sees her life where the country went from having almost no female judges to having three on the
Una Tiers
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a long time fan of Justice Ginsburg, I enjoyed much of this book. Who knew she was a supernumerary in operas and that she and another justice wrote one.
Her accomplishments are almost alarming. Highly recommended, but if parts don't suit, skip because there are treasurers within.
Lisa Montanaro
Fascinating memoir/biography about the incomparable Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I thought I knew a decent amount about her but this book made me realize how little I really did. My knowledge of her just scratched the surface. I am in awe of her... as a person, lawyer, professor, wife, colleague, friend, trailblazer, researcher, feminist, and jurist. The body of work that she has contributed to our society, our law schools, our courts and our world is astounding. And she does it all with calm, grace, hu ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book gives samples of RBG's writing- from 8th grade, court cases, lectures, opinions and dissents. I adored her before reading this, but this reading has garnered even more respect and admiration after reading her relentless work. She is brilliant, thought provoking, and grounded. Added benefit: my vocabulary expanded tenfold. :)
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A balm. Especially recommending the get to hear RBG speak!
Feisty Harriet
I waffled between 3 and 4 stars, this is not the memoir I was hoping for. It is, instead, a collection of writings, briefs, official SCOTUS opinions, and transcripts of speeches from RBG throughout her professional life, with a little biographical information in the chapter headings and a few pages of photos. Some of the writing is fairly dense, official opinions and briefs from the Supreme Court are not exactly light reading. The span of RBG's career is covered, her work at the ACLU and her met ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anything that touches RBG gets five stars.
Diana Long
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A glimpse into the life and thoughts of one of the most admired and respected woman during my life time, this book was amazing. Being an audio edition of her book, parts were in her own voice and felt more personal. From her youth she was confronted with antisemitism but she didn't let that or the fact she was a woman stand in her way. She talks fondly and lovingly of meeting her husband who was not only her soul mate but a true partner in life, he couldn't have been prouder of her accomplishme ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I cannot express how much I loved this work. The closest I can get is when I die I'd like to be buried with this book. Despite the fact that she's been around & doing extremely important work for decades, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has only recently become this huge cultural icon, which I can't complain about. Which explains why it seems there's a bit of disappointment with this work; rather than a straight up biography it's a collection of her writings from the 8th grade up until July of this year ...more
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I think it is a great concept, but I would've preferred more of a biographical style. Legal decisions don't make for a quick read, though it was worthwhile.
I am inspired and in awe. The book highlights a terrific woman, one I aspire to emulate in professionalism and skill and sheer badassery. The book is largely a collection of essays, speeches and judicial writings and it works very well to shed a light on the mind and character of the Notorious RGB. The entire volume is very well-rounded with later texts referencing earlier content, I cannot imagine the effort it must have been to create a cohesive book from the sheer wealth of available work. Pu ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely phenomenal. Inspiring and life affirming for a girl who chose to pursue the law as not only her career but her life calling. Many many great speeches and decisions in here from Ruth that really showcase what groundbreaking justice she has been and will continue to be.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely do this one on audiobook! It contains archival recordings of some of RBG's speeches and bench announcements. You'll just want to speed it up a bit: she's a very deliberate speaker.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok, I finished this halfway b/c I had to return it back to the library. What I read of it, I liked.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Let's start with the common sense of Justice Scalia, "I attack ideas. I don't attack people. Some very good people have some very bad ideas. And if you can't separate the two, you gotta get another day job" (41). My next step is the Scalia/Ginsburg: A (Gentile ) Parody of Operatic Proportion. While in law school, the composer Derrick Wong heard music while studying the Supreme Court opinions entitled "Scalia J Dissenting." Unfortunately, my thoroughly enjoyable read of these initial pages of her ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: feminists, women, law junkies, liberals, conservatives, moderates
Shelves: reviews
A must-read for any and all feminists and/or law junkies.

The Notorious RBG is an amazing woman, truly. There's a lot of hype in pop culture about her (the Conclusion of the book mentions her prominence on T-shirts, mugs, and in the play Ginsburg/Scalia), and that doesn't always necessarily mean something, but in this case it does. The book is a collection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's speeches, writings, and even some bench announcements (official things she's written as a Supreme Court justice). Unl
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here's the thing about RBG: she's got such a sharp intellect, you're likely to cut yourself on it if you're not careful.

The first time RBG was part of the team that sued for sex discrimination (or maybe it was the second) someone gave the Courts a very long list of laws that were written to include specific gender descrimination language.

RBG turned that list into a hit-list: laws that she wanted changed.

She went on to change them.

Here's the other thing: she doesn't dissent unless the dissent hol
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an American hero. Not only is she brilliant, she's also very good at expressing her views and explaining legal issues in terms everyone can understand. This book is a fascinating overview of her important work as a professor, lawyer, judge, and Supreme Court justice, particularly her advocacy of gender equality and civil rights.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-authors
Some parts took me more time than usual since I know nothing about the judiciary system in the US. But after this I would like to learn more about it and the system of my own country. It is amazing how much sex discrimination there has been in the laws. Even if I was not a feminist, just by reading about these cases I would have become one.
Lindsay Nixon
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Humility and grace. That's the take-away from the book. Her marriage = relationship goals! The book was a long slog, it was too long for me, but I get that it's an anthology of a long and productive life. I do recommend the audible here so you can hear all the clips and recordings.
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A personal role model of mine, RBG makes me believe in my conviction to be a feminist. These collections of her writings and speeches are inspiring and something we need to preserve for generations to come to illustrate how she was a credit to our society.
Alison Tyne
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: npr
Well, I gave it a good old try. Tried to read it three separate times, both in book form and via audiobook, and couldn't get more than halfway through. Considering this book read. I'll just wait for the memoir.
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My Own Words 1 7 May 13, 2018 10:06PM  
White Whale Femin...: Feminist Book Club: October = My Own Words 5 13 Sep 27, 2017 07:53AM  
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Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) and one of three female justices currently serving on the Supreme Court (along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan).
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“Rabbi Alfred Bettleheim once said: “Prejudice saves us a painful trouble, the trouble of thinking.” 19 likes
“Feminism … I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, 'Free to be You and Me.' Free to be, if you were a girl—doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers—manmade barriers, certainly not heaven sent.” 17 likes
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