Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead

“I’m making trouble!”

That’s what Rho says, anytime I ask him what he’s doing.

It’s also what I get for listening to Cecile Richards’ excellent memoir while we play, or cook together.

Make Trouble recounts Richards’ lifetime of activism, from refusing to say the Lord’s prayer in school to serving as the president of Planned Parenthood during a tumultuous decade.

She has a lot of stories to tell – and they’re all excellent.

There are the big moments you know about – her mother’s gubernatorial campaign and win, lobbying for reproductive coverage in the Affordable Care Act, testifying on the Hill. Reading (or in my case, listening) to her tell those stories in her own words is both thrilling and intimate.

But the more personal stories were the ones I was enthralled with. I couldn’t help but smile when she talked her family’s Thanksgiving traditions and the excellent marriage advice she outlines in chapter 7. I laughed as she fretted over her daughter that spent 20-hour days working on the Clinton campaign in Iowa, making sure her apartment was tidied and her boots got shined.

Women like Cecile Richards fueled my professional ambitions, and in not shying away from chasing big jobs and making a bigger impact. But Make Trouble is also a field guide, of sorts, to help you with the juggle of career and family.

It’s not easy, and requires both luck and privilege (which Richards acknowledges throughout the book).

But Richards makes it look fun, fulfilling, and imperfect.

Just like life.

If you want a laugh and a crash course in activism, I recommend picking up Who Thought This Was A Good Idea and We’re Going To Need More Wine. What Happened is also an excellent (and somewhat cathartic) book. And you will definitely want to pre-order this book (I got a preview copy and could not put it down).

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