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Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,085 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Finalist for the NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work"

"Valerie has been one of Barack and my closest confidantes for decades... the 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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Viking
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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 Stanfo ...more
Denise Billings
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, might I say that I bought the book at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival where Valerie Jarrett spoke. I didn't have tickets to the event (they sold out immediately) but I hoped to get my book signed. I waited outside where the book signing was to take place. I was one of the first three people in line. We'd waited 20 minutes when we were told that Ms. Jarrett would not be signing books. It was a special event where "Friends of the Festival" had pre-paid for pre-signed books and a photo o ...more
I really enjoyed reading this book. Aside from the fact that it’s a significant plank in the Obama hagiography edifice, Jarrett is a genuinely likeable person with an interesting life. All this kept me reading when I might otherwise have been put off by the writing. Some of the most obvious problems (such as spelling mistakes!) could probably be attributed to the fact that the book was published really quickly. However, there’s a more fundamental problem. It feels as if the “collaborators” — I g ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Last year I read Becoming by First Lady Michelle Obama. In it, she mentions her meeting Valerie Jarrett and how that changed the trajectory of her career path. So, when I learned that Ms. Jarrett was writing a book of her own, I was excited to get a copy of Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward and read about her life, her perspective of the Obama administration, and how she sees the future.

Similar to Mrs. Obama's book, Ms.
Dan Bell
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.

In Finding My Voice, Valerie Jarrett discusses her upbringing, her early career in government, and her friendship with the future First Family. Overall, it was a pretty quick read that provided an interesting perspective of the Obama Administration, to include some challenges and successes. I appreciate that Ms. Jarrett acknowledged early in the book that much and more has to do with luck, as some senior government officials make it sound like they were de
Matt Graupman
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who is Valerie Jarrett? Even to political junkies like me, the longest serving senior advisor to President Obama (in fact, she was the longest serving senior advisor in White House history) was always somewhat of a mystery. Having enjoyed a long personal history with the Obamas and working quietly behind-the-scenes for the majority of her tenure, she didn’t really enter the American consciousness until after she left public service and was the subject of a misguided and startlingly racist tweet ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tops
Ok, so it was all I knew that it would be!!! I enjoyed hearing her story, her travels and her personal life as to what was expected of her but she chose to be happy! Not once did she bad mouth her spouse and that was simply wonderful to me. Her daughter has grown up and is successful and the cutest thing was the fact that her dad was on point which in turn did not allow any bullshit to enter her pathway!

Also, I will read any type of autobio/bio WRT the Obama Admin because I simply adore them as
Robert Pacilio
Wow. I loved Valerie...her back story; her honesty about her marriage; her slowly moving path to politics ; her tight relationship with the Obamas; her (and their accomplishments); and then the bitter ending with the awful, obstructionist Republican party led by McConnell. All clearly spelled out and filled with heart and soul. One really gets a gut check on just what it takes in this crazy world of polarized politics to accomplish something meaningful for the greater good of Americans--from the ...more
Daniel Cuthbert
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book and leave my thoughts below.

This is a rather interesting biography of a figure that I thought I knew a fair amount of from following the Obama presidency, but was pleasantly surprised to find some fascinating perspectives that really help make this particular biography a welcome read.
Her own personal biography is one that should prove to be an inspiration for those struggling to find a place in life. Easy to pick up and fascinating to go through, well worth a pick
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good read. Ms Jarretts early life and upbringing were interesting. She doesn’t hide the fact that she comes from a bit of privilege compared to the average back citizen like Michelle Obama. Her time in the White House was not a super interesting part of the story. It seemed to drag on. I am glad she found her voice. It’s obvious that she thinks very highly of her parents. Her story however describes her life as near perfect, short of her failed marriage. Though I enjoyed the read, I did ...more
Genie Bearden
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an extraordinary story of personal growth, hard work, amazing achievements, and optimism. Her story lifts you up and makes you proud to be an American. However, the description of Mitch McConnell and most Republicans’ efforts to thwart everything President Obama was trying to accomplish for the good of our country made me angry and sad. His accomplishments are legendary in the face of such opposition. Valerie also opened my eyes to the extraordinary work ethic necessary for a well-run White ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed listening to this book, read by the author.

An intelligent woman who worked her way up through the ranks to become one of President Barak Obama's most trusted advisors and who stuck with him through thick and thin!

As a woman and a woman of color, she gives an interesting and important voice to the political scene she was drawn into and of which she became an integral part.

Marilyn Katz
Thank you, Goodreads, for my copy of this book. I found it a quick read that I thought should have been more interesting. I really wish Ms Jarrett had concentrated more on her early years and family then her years at the White House. Those early years were fascinating
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed listening to the first half of the audiobook. Valerie Jarrett had an interesting upbringing and story to tell. However, once it got into the political stories and ties, my interest diminished.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal and poignant.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
It was ok. Nothing earth shattering. It was kind of boring at times and went into too much detail about her extended family. I have enjoyed other Obama staff memoirs more.
Donna Barnes
I received this book as a gift from my husband, and I pushed it to the front of the queue when I saw who it was about. I normally don't like memoirs, but I enjoyed Michelle Obama's so much, (and all of Hillary's) that I thought I would like this equally well. And I did. There's so much to like --- she gives an inside look at Chicago politics (where she first started working for Washington and then the Daley son). Then, she develops a relationship with the Obamas and follows them into the White H ...more
Dee Dee G
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this and learning so much about Valerie’s early life. So many life lessons that can be learned from her.
Beth A
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great story of one woman’s personal journey intertwined with the winning and running of the White House for 8 years. It will make you cry about the terrible turn the country has taken since the end of the Obama era but Jarrett still has hope and so shall I.
Many of the Obama-era memoirs agree on the telling of their stories. If you have read many others, some of this will be covered ground. Jarrett's early life, before meeting Michelle Robinson, and the late-term stories on election night 2016 will be new -- and for me were rich in unexpected details. I knew little about Jarrett, and this recording, by the author herself, provided new insight.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that everyone will be able to relate to on some level. It's about trust, faith, family, friendship, sisterhood, leadership, and perseverance. As I read a few things Ms. Jarrett and I had in common, I was immediately drawn in.

She has her life all mapped out but realizes that her life is not going according to plan. She writes candidly about the dissolution of her marriage and her decision to leave a prominent job at a law firm that she didn't love. Situations that were frightening
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, first-reads
Valerie Jarrett has led a very interesting life – and written this book to tell about it. I found that I was engaged in what she was writing about, as well as how she was writing it. The book is very “readable” and interesting. I liked learning about some of the things that go on behind the scenes in various political situations. I won an ARC of this book from GoodReads.
Kumari de Silva
I read this book for a book club.

Valarie Jarrett worked hard and had a fascinating life. The early part of the book was what I liked best. Her words on her family and her childhood were warm and interesting and lovely. If I were a writing short stories teacher I would say, "Yes! you are writing what you know, and it jumps off the page." It was a very good way to learn the history of Chicago, of the South Side, of Hyde Park, (the neighborhood where I grew up.)

But as the book went on I found it s
Neil Crocker
A nice, simply (ghost?) written book by a very competent woman who enjoyed great personal success and found herself in the right place at the right time with the Obamas. She is very flattering of others but does not particularly reveal her own "secret sauce," which she must have to have had the access and success she has had. The only people she really throws under the bus, despite her years of inside access, are her ex husband and John Boehner. I'm glad I read it but it had a lot less color and ...more
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to learn how she structured her life. It also gave some insights of some of the behind the scenes in the Obama administration. It not only was a book about her life, but also some history involved. It was very well written.
Dominique King
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Valerie Jarrett's story of being a long-time friend to Michelle and Barack Obama and serving as one of the longest-term senior advisor during President Obama's term in the White House. I enjoyed the story of her unique childhood experience, when her doctor father moved his family to Iran (where Valerie was actually born) in order to take advantage of a job opportunity when good opportunities were not really available for black surgeons here.
The family found it's way back to Chicago during the 6
Dawn M
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Points of View

Enjoyed getting to know this optimistic, accomplished woman and about her path to the West Wing as a senior advisor to President Obama. Many lessons about staying the course and focusing on your true North during life's inevitable storms. Thought provoking references to having "a village" of family to raise your children with rich support systems and at the same time find your voice in the halls and board rooms of influence. The author takes us with her on an amazing, accomplished
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, I loved this book and the honesty of her telling her story. It is very readable and nuanced. I am amazed to realize how old I am and how much "younger" people have accomplished and how focused they are. I was so proud of our country and what it was accomplishing and how many dedicated, talented people were taking roles in making the Obama years such a success.
What I really want to write about is how mad I am that awful people are spamming this book on Amazon. So many one star reviews by
Valerie Jarrett is an extremely accomplished woman with a redoubtable pedigree. This autobiography tells her extraordinarily unique story, from her childhood in Iran where her father was a chief pathologist of a hospital and formidable internationally renowned medical researcher, to her return to the United States, her rather arrow-straight path through Stanford and Michigan Law, the challenges of her marriage, her pivot to public service after corporate law, and of course, the intersection of h ...more
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Valerie Jarrett was the longest serving senior adviser to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Before joining the White House, she served as the chief executive officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, commissioner of Planning and Developmen ...more

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