The Light We Carry
#1 NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • ONE OF TIME’S 100 MUST-READ BOOKS OF 2022 • In an inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed, #1 bestselling memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today’s highly uncertain world.
There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?
Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles—the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.
“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.
“A deeply personal and hugely inspirational exploration of ‘what keeps us upright in the face of uncertainty . . .’ In other words, perfect for now.”—O Quarterly
“A joy to read.”—Los Angeles Times
“Reaffirming . . . What makes the book special is that it builds on parts of Becoming, and [Michelle] Obama serves as mentor and guide.”—The Washington Post
“Obama’s road map for uncertain times resonates in ways that other self-help books do not. . . . Through her stories, experiences and thoughts, we’re finding the light with her.”—The New York Times
“[Michelle Obama’s] clear-eyed confidence is a model for anyone searching for reason, strength, and optimism in tough times.”—Lucy Feldman, Time’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2022
“Miraculously, these self-help bromides don’t come across as cloying, mainly because Obama is so disarmingly honest about her fears, failures and all-too-human flaws. . . . You can’t argue with the hard-fought wisdom of such an accomplished woman.”—The Guardian
“Though Obama makes it clear she still struggles with plenty of self-doubt and doesn’t have all the answers, she provides a pretty thorough road map to living a fuller, kinder, better life.”—USA Today
“A heartening pep talk from the former first lady.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In The Light We Carry, Obama shares ideas for quelling what roils our stomachs and ways to move forward. She’s like a big sister whispering in my ear, ‘You are enough.’”—Philadelphia Inquirer
“Encouraging, sometimes funny, always chummy . . . The Light We Carry contains a multitude of other poignant, amusing anecdotes and helpful advice for all types of readers.”—BookPage
Read an Excerpt
At some point when I was a child, my father started using a cane to keep himself balanced when he walked. I don’t remember exactly when it showed up in our home on the South Side of Chicago—I was maybe four or five years old at the time—but suddenly it was there, slim and sturdy and made of a smooth dark wood. The cane was an early concession to multiple sclerosis, the disease that had given my father a severe left-legged limp. Slowly and silently and probably long before he received a formal diagnosis, MS was undermining his body, eating away at his central nervous system and weakening his legs as he went about his everyday business: working at the city’s water filtration plant, running a household with my mom, trying to raise good kids.
The cane helped my dad get himself up the stairs to our apartment or down a city block. In the evenings, he would set it against the arm of his recliner and seemingly forget about it as he watched sports on TV, or listened to jazz on the stereo, or pulled me onto his lap to ask about my day at school. I was fascinated by...
“I’ve learned it’s okay to recognize that self-worth comes wrapped in vulnerability, and that what we share as humans on this earth is the impulse to strive for better, always and no matter what. We become bolder in brightness. If you know your light, you know yourself. You know your own story in an honest way. In my experience, this type of self-knowledge builds confidence, which in turn breeds calmness and an ability to maintain perspective, which leads, finally, to being able to connect meaningfully with others—and this to me is the bedrock of all things. One light feeds another. One strong family lends strength to more. One engaged community can ignite those around it. This is the power of the light we carry.”
Also Available from Michelle Obama
The #1 bestselling memoir now in paperback
A guided journal for discovering your voice
BECOMING: ADAPTED FOR YOUNG READERS
The #1 international bestseller with a new introduction by the author
Crown is proud to partner with these international publishers for the worldwide publication of The Light We Carry. An English-language edition will be published in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa by Viking, an imprint of Penguin General at Penguin Random House UK. The book will also be published in translation in 13 additional languages:
(Spanish) Plaza & Janés/Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, (German) Goldmann Verlag/Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe GmbH, (Portuguese Brazil) Objetiva/Companhia das Letras, (Portuguese Portugal) Objectiva/Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, (Simplified Chinese) Penguin Random House China, (Danish) Politikens Forlag, (Dutch) Hollands Diep, (Finnish) Otava Publishing Company, (French) Éditions Flammarion, (Italian) Garzanti, (Norwegian) Kagge Forlag, (Romanian) Editura Litera, and (Swedish) Bokförlaget Forum.