Read: Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright
Drinking: Phoenix Mountain Oolong, Peet’s Tea
Madam Secretary is by far the best autobiography I’ve ever read. I was already well into my career path in International Affairs when I picked it up, but Albright instantly became a personal hero and figure to emulate. Her story, from Czechoslovak refugee to first female Secretary of State, is inspiring, particularly because she did the bulk of her life’s work at an older age.
Albright lays out her tale in a friendly, chatty manner that makes the reader feel like she is just over for a cup of coffee on a Saturday afternoon. Her triumphs and challenges are all laid out matter-of-factly. The most interesting parts of her story – her final path to Secretary of State – come after the challenges of divorce. Instead of wallowing or resigning herself to being an older divorced woman, Albright earned her doctorate and became an important international affairs figure during the decline and fall of the Soviet Union. Her unique experiences as a child shaped her views on that turning point in history and made her valuable to US policy makers.
It is strong, powerful women like Albright that inspire me daily to study international affairs and work to empower women all over the world. I highly recommend Madam Secretary to anyone who wants to be a powerful woman, wants to support women’s empowerment, or is interested in international affairs (or all three!).