• Tough Love

  • My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For
  • By: Susan Rice
  • Narrated by: Susan Rice
  • Length: 22 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (810 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A 2020 Audie Award Finalist

Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice - national security advisor to President Barack Obama and US ambassador to the United Nations - reveals her surprising story with unflinching candor in this New York Times best seller.

Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Susan Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan now shares the wisdom she learned along the way. Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, DC, she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Rice’s elders - immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other - had high expectations that each generation would rise. And rise they did, but not without paying it forward - in uniform and in the pulpit, as educators, community leaders, and public servants. 

Susan too rose rapidly. She served throughout the Clinton administration, becoming one of the nation’s youngest assistant secretaries of state and, later, one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors. Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the US response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration. 

Although you might think you know Susan Rice - whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya - now, through this audiobook, you truly will know her for the first time. Often mischaracterized by both political opponents and champions, Rice emerges as neither a villain nor a victim but a strong, resilient, compassionate leader. Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.

©2019 Susan Rice (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Tough Love

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Necessary, Transparent, Educating & Timely.

The Audible sample forced me to purchase this format in the interim of purchasing a hard copy…the prologue speaks penetratingly for itself.

The Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice is one of the few autobiographies I have fully engaged which kept my attention from the first page to the last over a one day reading span.

Her honoring and reverencing of her family lineage were with humility and proudness. Rice’s specific reflection on the discord between her parents and the effect it took on her and her brother will slightly tug on one’s heart strings.

Yet, on those unbreakable parental shoulders the siblings stood on, came from the historical sacrifices and presence of her father, Mr. Emmett, a Cornel professor and governor of the Federal Reserve, and her mother, Mrs. Lois, the Godmother of the Pell Grants (I'm a proud recipient which afforded me great relief in attending school while raising children) and later becoming the Vice President in navigating to the now known College Board. Rice's safeguarding in her generational lessons, notes, teachings comes from the backdrop of one parent's descendants of slaves, and one parent's descendants of immigrants, such a unity.

I wrote down dozens of words, passages and quotes throughout my listening, where her direct and no holds bar narration made the experience more personal and intriguing. The 5 Points and In the Time of Crisis…you’ll need to read the book to fully comprehend.

Aside from her groundbreaking presence in the white house, Rice has her B.A, from Stanford University, a former Rhodes Scholar earning both a master's and doctorate degree from Oxford University. Her educational and professional success comes from her parent’s lessons that she termed as “plain yet powerful”: "Don’t take no for an answer when the question is: Can I? - Family comes first and must stand together - Don’t forget where you come from.” Great lessons everyone should apply to their life's trajectory.

Susan Rice shares a non-duplicated and evidential detail in who she is, and how she evolved to become the woman she is today by her important roles working with both the Clinton and Obama administrations, serving her country, and sometimes being the scapegoat for political situations. All proven to be worthy experiences to endure and evolve from with the love and support by her close knit of relatives, friends, colleagues and mentors such as Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger. Ultimately, the profound and non-wavering support from the 'love of her life' - her husband, her two children, brother and an unbreakable family tree.

Rice made it crystal clear that the skin of her color would not hold her back on any accord while overcoming personal trials and tribulations while utilizing those tough love lessons to preserve, excel and succeed.

“The combination — being a confident black woman who is not seeking permission or affirmation from others — I now suspect accounts for why I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men,” she writes, “and perhaps also why I have long inspired motivated detractors who simply can’t deal with me.” For me, one of the strongest passageways from her book.

Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice provided me with comprehensive history and present lessons that will resonate with me forever…such a necessary read for today’s climate.

Rice has no cut cards, and her book will be gifted to my children.

32 people found this helpful

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Susan Rice for President!

We need tough. We need facts. We need the insight into how policy becomes action. We need to be a team. We need someone who can brush off (at least publicly) being villified only for profit and political gain. She would be my choice for our next "Boss."

8 people found this helpful

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Excellent Memoir

Susan Rice was the Ambassador to the United Nations during Obama’s first term. She was the National Security Advisor during the second term. Prior to that she was a career State Department diplomat in charge of part of Africa.

The book is well written and researched. This is Rice’s memoir of her life to-date. She tells of the problems of being an African-American female attempting to excel in a white man’s world. Rice attended Stanford University. She won a Rhodes Scholarship and graduated from Oxford University with a master’s and doctorate in International Relations. She was born and raised in Washington, D. C. Rice tells of her personal and professional life. It is great to read about an ultra-high achiever. I enjoyed reading the interesting memoir. The book could have been a bit shorter, but it is a highly readable.

The book is twenty-two hours and nineteen minutes. Susan Rice does a good job narrating her own book.

7 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable.

This was a lot of fun to listen to. I appreciate Susan's candor. She is a relatable class act, and I appreciate her service to our country.

5 people found this helpful

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Really enjoyed Tough Love

Fascinating book- loved the behind the scenes perspective of so many events in the last 20 years. No matter your politics you will learn something.

5 people found this helpful

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Save your money and time

Susan Rice has not done herself a favor with this overly obsequious and pedantic autobiography. The frequent references to having to deal with misogynous counterparts, the excess white male privilege of American society and her objection to being characterized as abrupt and arrogant obstruct any useful insight she might share on her time in the Obama Administration. It appears as if she has overdosed on the Obama Kool-Aid.

I found it interesting to note the similarity between her and John Bolton to whom she professes to dislike and disagree. They appear to be more of a matched set of bookends rather than distinctly different in policy and perspective.

Her statements about Edward Snowden are particularly unfair and off base. Snowden provided the American public a glimpse of how our government works- spying on its citizens, eavesdropping on foreign leaders and intent on obtaining metadata on everyone in this country- and he should be praised not condemned. If she thinks Snowden’s picture ought to be in the dictionary next to the definition of traitor then her picture should be next to the definition of sycophant.

Save your money and time but if you must read this book check it out from the library and save your money for something worthwhile.

5 people found this helpful

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  • JJ
  • 11-25-19

Beautifully written

Honest and beautifully written. This is an amazingly intimate look at the life of Susan Rice and her time in the Obama Administration. I can’t recommend it enough!

3 people found this helpful

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Filled with heart

A wonderful story of courage perseverance and love of country! Read beautifully by the author herself makes it even more poinnient !

3 people found this helpful

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Keep your money instead

it's curious to observe the mental gymnastics Susan employed to rationalize committing atrocities and violating international laws set out by the geneva convention. Seems fascists all think alike.

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As these things go it was pretty good

Standard disclosure I am politically independent, and while I have some extreme views on particular issues, I am a Radical Centrist ideologically. Just to give you an idea American Right and the new "Progressive Left" both scare the proverbial feces out of me, though there are specific instances where I can honestly agree with either side on specific issues. I am interested in Governance and Policy and making the government work for people and realizing the promise of the Constitution for all Americans, not the iceberg of sectarian politics we have have impaled the country on. While I voted for Obama, I think during hist tenure his many foreign policy objectives and achievements have largely been short sighted and detrimental in the long run to American interest in both action and inaction. I think there was a real pattern of first order decision making with some very third order consequences, especially when it came to Russia, Iran and Middle East in particular. And, having said that I still would have voted for him because I always thought he was the best candidate running despite my various policy disagreements and frankly his base scared me less than the people who hated him.
I like Susan Rice, I think she is an earnest down to earth public servant. I have illusions about ambition, or elements of this book that are self serving, and frankly a white wash. But, just like when she speaks she tries to be forthcoming with obvious limitations of what she can say and should say. I think what made her an effective diplomat and civil servant is the same quality of being forthcoming with opinions, facts etc. Just to contrast that with another public servant who's career I admire and namesake, Condi Rice. A woman of great achievement and tremendous credentials who much like Susan Rice has rarely been treated fairly by the opposition. All of Condi's communications and utterances are made behind a wall of discretion, and it is almost impossible to get an idea of her real convictions or views. With Susan I think the one thing you can always get is what he really felt and thought about an issue, whether speaking or writing. So yes I would recommend this book if you are interested in the administration, foreign policy, security issues, decision making, or just what Susan actually thought. I think there is also a lot of unspoken honesty between the lines that illuminating.

2 people found this helpful