Becoming Book Summary By Michelle Obama

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Becoming (2018) is the inspiring memoir of America's former First Lady, Michelle Obama, who defies what people think was possible when she found success in spite of expectations.

Michelle takes us through her life journey of growing up in a working-class Chicago neighborhood to becoming one of the most influential women in modern history.

From meeting and falling in love with Barack Obama to finding her own unique voice; this powerful story captures moments both intimate and historic as we follow Michelle on her remarkable path.

Becoming Book

Book Name: Becoming (The intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States)

Author(s): Michelle Obama

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 36 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Michelle Obama is the author of Becoming, an inspiring memoir that captures the incredible journey of how she found her voice and earned respect as a powerful leader.

Before becoming one of the most influential women in politics, Michelle graduated from Princeton University, attended Harvard Law School and held a position at the prestigious Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin.

In addition to her impressive career accomplishments, Michelle spent years in service-related roles for prominent organizations such as Public Allies and the University of Chicago Medical Center.

After becoming First Lady of the United States, she has written several books on her story and become an advocate for causes such as children's health and issues facing military families.

Through Becoming, readers get to learn more about Michelle's remarkable life story and gain insight into what it means to truly empower oneself.

Michelle Obama Breaks Protocol, But Forms A Human Connection Anyway

Human Connection

The inspirational story of one woman’s journey from Chicago’s South Side to the White House began on April 1, 2009 at Buckingham Palace in London.

It was here that Michelle and Barack Obama attended a reception for the G20 Summit, shaking hands and making small talk with other world leaders like Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Michelle enjoyed the experience, but she could feel out of place among the unfamiliar surroundings of the old world.

Fortunately, though, protocol was lightened by an unexpected conversation with The Queen of England at the end of the event.

They discussed footwear comfortability and shared a laugh together – something that Michelle wouldn’t soon forget.

In an attempt to create a warm connection, Michelle placed her hand on The Queen’s back as she normally would with any other person.

But what she didn’t know at the time was that this gesture differed greatly from etiquette standards.

The yellow press made her out to be a criminal for such conduct; however, instead of cowering away in shame, Michelle held strong to her own sense of humanity towards her Royalty – it may not have been conventional but still had a level of kindness attached to it that The Queen herself reciprocated through placing her white-gloved hand on Michelle’s back as well.

It Takes A Mentor To Nurture Ambition: Michelle Obama’S Piano Lessons Story

From the sound of ambition plinking from her great-aunt’s piano lessons, Michelle Obama was just four years old when she became determined to learn the instrument.

Growing up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood in the late sixties, Michelle was surrounded by music – both at home, with her father playing jazz records, and over at her grandfather’s house, where they had speakers hooked up to a stereo system that blasted everything from Ella Fitzgerald to John Coltrane.

It was this exposure to music that inspired Michelle to try out piano lessons with her great-aunt Robbie.

Though Robbie was strict, expecting each lesson and song to be done step-by-step without shortcuts, she could tell that Michelle had an enthusiasm for music that wasn’t easily dampened.

Just like any good student though, Michelle found herself temporarily deterred with determination prior to her first big recital – because there was no chipped key at the venue as a reminder of where Middle C lies on the keys.

But then again Robbie stepped in as “guardian angel” and calmly pointed it out so that Michelle could get on with what mattered most – show off her musical talent!

This encounter further confirmed not only Roberts’ faith in Michelle’s abilities but also planted the seeds of ambition within young Michelle Obama inspiring her spirit of hard work and determination thereafter.

Michelle Proved Her Doubters Wrong With Hard Work And Perseverance

Michelle was always a high-achiever, even when she attended elementary school.

But she found that having confidence in her intellectual abilities came in her later years of schooling.

Starting in high school, Michelle was able to grow and challenge herself academically, thanks to the progressive teachers who encouraged learning at Whitney M.

Young High School.

In addition, spending time with kids from the wealthier North Side of Chicago was also beneficial for her growth.

She met people who had a broader view of the world and its possibilities; kids who had access to vacations that involved skiing and designer purses that were far beyond what Michelle could imagine at the time.

What really gave her an edge in terms of confidence was meeting Santita Jackson, daughter of Jesse Jackson, and being welcomed into his family’s exciting and colorful household.

Even marching in the Bud Billiken Day Parade with them marked an important moment for Michelle: as she observed life in politics for the first time.

This marked a powerful realization for her; it wasn’t something she wanted to be part of forever – it just wasn’t for someone like herself who valued order and control over chaos.

Living Fearlessly And Working Hard: How Michelle Learned To Be A Working Mom From Her Mentor Czerny Brasuell

Living Fearlessly

When Michelle first arrived at Princeton University, she felt unsettled by the unfamiliar environment.

Everywhere she went on campus, it seemed like she was one of only a few non-white people.

It was so different from what she had experienced growing up in Baltimore, and it took some time to adjust.

However, once Michelle began getting involved with the Third World Center (TWC) organization on campus and started working as an assistant to Czerny Brasuell, a bold and beautiful young Black woman, things quickly changed.

Czerny became her role model; a single mom who managed to juggle not only all of her work responsibilities but also take care of her son with grace and style.

Michelle watched in awe as Czerny zoomed around New York City on their business trip — leaping out of double-parked cars and running into stores with perfect ease.

At one point, when they were unable to find a parking spot, michelle found courage to jump into the driver’s seat for the first time – because of Czerny’s expression that said “just get over it and live a little”!

Czerny inspired Michelle to have confidence in herself and gave her the strength to pursue her dreams despite any obstacles that may arise.

It is because of this powerful mentorship from Czerny that Michelle perservered at Princeton University and eventually planted the roots for becoming successful candidate for Harvard Law School afterwards.

It Takes Michelle A Change In Pace For Her To Fall For Barack Obama

Michelle was hesitant to go out on a date with Barack Obama.

She had heard rumors about this “striking young man”, but wasn’t sure if the Harvard professors that praised him were just taken with his half-smart appearance in a suit.

Even worse, he was an hour late for their first appointment and smoked cigarettes!

However, Michelle eventually agreed to a date and on their first meeting, she quickly realised her opinion of him was wrong.

He had taken two years off before attending Harvard Law and radiated with confidence.

Plus, unlike many other people around the firm, money was not the one thing he cared about—his goal was to make a difference.

When they attended their colleague’s barbecue later that day and watched Barack play basketball for a bit afterwards, something changed inside Michelle.

She felt like she could slow down for once and match his pace as his Hawaiian casualness seemed oddly calming –and eventually they shared their first kiss over some ice cream!

From then on there was no doubt in her mind that this would be the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

The Power Of Connection: How Michelle Obama Found Meaning After Her Father’S Death

When Michelle Obama and Barack Obama started dating, they thought it would be a time full of joy and hope for the future.

Unfortunately, that was not to be as Michelle’s father fell ill with multiple sclerosis before passing away due to complications.

This was an emotional blow for her and her family; though he was only 55 years old, suddenly he appeared frail and weak.

Despite this loss, the couple found solace in finally living together after Michelle had finished at Harvard Law School while Barack continued working there.

The next year caused great changes, as Michelle left her high-paying job at a law firm to work more closely with people who needed help rather than corporate contracts.

Around the same time, she met Valerie Jarrett who helped inspire her on this journey and even got her a job as an executive director of a non-profit in Chicago called Public Allies.

Just 5 months after their meeting, Michelle and Barack were married in October of 1992 yet didn’t have much time for a honeymoon as November was an important election year.

Barack worked hard for Project VOTE!, helping 7,000 register to vote in one week alone.

These drastic changes inspired by great passion led them to their eventual rise towards success.

Michelle Learns To Embrace Ambition Despite Skepticism And Fear


When Barack decided to run for office, Michelle was less than thrilled.

She was highly dubious of politicians and didn’t trust the political process at all.

Her past experiences had shown her that politicians are often self-absorbed and rarely contribute positively to society.

What’s more, they’re rarely present at home due to their demanding jobs.

Michelle, who wanted Barack to focus on finishing his book (so he wouldn’t have to return the publisher’s advance) tried her best to persuade him against taking on such a big step in life, but the promise of making a real difference in their community outweighed any of her or his hesitation.

In the end, she gave what can only be described as an “uneasy approval” and supported Barack in his endeavour.

Despite being skeptical about it all, she knew that if anyone could make an impact as a politician it would be her husband – with his inspiring words and persuasive nature – who’d been able to win over an auditorium of sceptical older women one sweaty summer night in Roseland!

How Michelle And Barack Obama Handle Confrontation Differently — And How Their Family Persevered Despite False Accusations

When Barack Obama chose to enter politics, he and Michelle knew that it would be an uphill battle.

Though they had different ways of handling confrontations and personal attacks, Barack’s resilience had so far managed to keep their spirits high.

However, when Barack ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in 1999, things quickly changed.

His opponents launched bitter personal attacks against him that tore at the very fabric of his character – one editorial called anyone who missed a key vote “gutless sheep” and his primary opponents stooped even lower, dredging up falsehoods about his level of professionalism and even going as far as accusing him of “using his child as an excuse not to go to work.”

The dark reality is that politics brings out the worst in people.

Even when you make decisions out of genuine care for your family – like Barack did by staying with Malia during her ear infection – it can still be spun into something more sinister and end up hurting those closest to you.

But despite this, Barack remained resilient in the face of adversity and eventually welcomed Sasha into their family in 2001.

Michelle’S Transformation From Skeptical To Supportive Of Barack’S Political Aspirations

Michelle’s opinion about politics didn’t seem to be getting any better with time, as Barack was often away from home due to his role in the state senate.

The situation became so hard that they even had to go for couples counseling.

With their family dinners becoming such a rare treat, it was no surprise that Michelle was not enthused with the idea of Barack running for Senate when it came up.

What she didn’t tell him at the time was her lack of faith in him to succeed; he’d just lost the race for Congress as well!

Despite her doubts, she agreed, as long as if he lost it would be his last political venture headed down this path.

Surprisingly, his Republican opponent then dropped out of the same?!

The US Senate seat however only made things worse since Barack couldn’t spare more time at home.

As if guided by some kind of cosmic destiny, circumstances then presented itself in the form of an invitation for him to give the keynote speech at 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Not one to shy away from challenges, Barack stepped up and gave an inspiring speech from his heart which gained much admiration from both party and nation alike.

To add on top of everything else that has been going on; when announcing his run for President 15000 people showed up despite it being a cold winter day!

It was then that Michelle truly felt a sense of duty towards those Americans who believe in her husband and saw him as hope-bringer – thus brought about a change of heart she now held towards politics!

Michelle Obama Found Ways To Normalize Life For Her Daughters In The White House

Michelle Obama

When Michelle Obama’s husband, Barack, ran for president in 2008, everything changed.

Michelle was determined that her children, Malia and Sasha, maintain some sense of normalcy amidst the hustle and bustle of campaigning and security protocols.

Michelle worked hard to keep life as normal as possible despite all the attention their dad was receiving.

The couple created family routines like playing cards with campaign staff while on the road and going out in search of ice-cream shops when they arrived in a new town.

Secret Service agents even became like friends to the girls!

When Barack won the election, Michelle was committed to making sure that Malia and Sasha still felt like life at home – though it meant making adjustments due to more rules and restrictions around them.

One of Michelle’s priorities was to ensure that her kids were able to have family and friends over for visits.

Michelle Obama’S Garden At The White House Was A Risky Endeavor But It Successfully Shined A Light On Childhood Obesity And Home Life

As a First Lady, Michelle Obama was among the most influential of her time.

She had to navigate many unique challenges as she served in the White House, including finding ways to stay connected with the public and make policies that support the administration’s agenda without appearing as an elected official.

Thankfully, Governor Clinton gave her fair warning about potential pitfalls along her journey.

From day one, Mrs.

Obama was eager to make her mark.

One of her first initiatives was Let’s Move!

which aimed to tackle childhood obesity in America – an issue that triples over 30 years now affecting one in three American children.

As part of this program, she advocated for creating a White House garden on the South Lawn which would promote healthy eating habits by growing vegetables and herbs locally.

After some negotiations, about 1,100 square feet was cleared for use and she hosted a planting day with fifth graders from a nearby school to start creating the vegetable patch.

The garden eventually yielded 90 pounds of produce from its first harvest and by the end of Mrs.

Obama’s tenure at The White House it provided 2,000 pounds of food each year!

Although being First Lady is not an elected position, Michelle Obama did much more than just host dinners like her predecessor; she used her platform to make change and empower others through crucial awareness campaigns that benefited people all across America and beyond.

Michelle Obama’S Journey To Make An Impact Despite The Challenges Of Being First Lady

Obama'S Journey

When Michelle and Barack Obama were the First Family of the United States, going out on a romantic date was hard to arrange, so when they found time for it one night in their first term, they decided to go for dinner and a Broadway play.

Unfortunately, the presidential motorcade caused massive traffic disruptions, attracting unwanted press attention – not an ideal date.

Come the second term, Michelle was still struggling with handling some of the negative press; particularly false rumours about her husband’s place of birth gaining popularity.

Such rumours only served to embolden dangerous individuals, one among them responsible for shooting at the White House’s residential floor with a semiautomatic rifle.

The damage took months to fix but while reminded Michelle of why security protocols were in place; an egg shaped bruise still visible on the bullet-proof window facing her reading room.

This tragedy drove home how violent crime affects everyday people and inspiredMichelle to make gun violence one of her causes – she attended Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral, met with community leaders and even took kids from Harper High School on a tour of Howard University.

All this simply ensuring those affected by such examples understand that there can be hope despite their circumstances – as she too had to once gain confidence by accepting “Yes I am” despite doubts postulated by herself at the start of her governance journey .

Despite once being affectionate towards politics, today Michelle has no urge to run for any office.

Michelle Obama’S Greatest Achievement: Raising Two Amazing Daughters Despite The Demands Of Public Office

As Becoming closes, Michelle Obama reflects on her journey over the past few years of striving and personal growth.

Looking back, she is proud of the successes that were achieved during her time in the White House, such as Let’s Move!, Joining Forces, and Let Girls Learn.

All of these programs have improved the lives of many people around the world.

However, Michelle recognizes that her greatest achievement is something no one else can compare to – raising two wonderful daughters who are becoming independent and confident young women.

Being a mom was always her primary goal, even while she was juggling all the demands of public office.

That is why Becoming ultimately serves as an epilogue to Michelle Obama’s story – providing readers with an inspiring reminder that we can do anything if we have dedication and strive to achieve our dreams.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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