Memo to the President Elect:
How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership

by Madeleine Albright


Harper Collins, 2008. ISBN 978-0-061-35180-8.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 07/09/2008

Nonfiction: History/Current Events

"Concentrate on duties that will restore our country's reputation and keep us safe," Madeline Albright urges the next president of the United States in her 2008 book, Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership. She outlines her ideas as to what our commander in chief should expect once in office and how he can repair America's standing in the world. She gives numerous examples from history that are pertinent in world politics today and discusses the important issues of the election: Iraq, unrest in the Middle East, etc.

While Memo to the President Elect is written to the next president, the average American can get a lot out of it as well. Albright's work is candid and full of gems of wisdom. Not only does she give us an idea of what a strong president should be, but she gives priceless advice that can be applied to all aspects of life and leadership. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes:

"Aim high but keep your words down to earth."

"The absence of critical thinking can lead even the most well-intentioned people into disaster."

"You will set a course and pick your fights only to find that some fights have picked you."

I loved this book. It is an academic read, yet it is gripping and thought-provoking. I found myself writing down many of Albright's profound quotes to refer back to later. I also found myself looking at our presidential candidates in a whole new light. Election year or not, this is an amazing read. Madeleine Albright is one of the most influential women of our time, and every American woman—and voter—should listen to what she has to say.


Madeleine Albright, christened Marie Jana Korbelová, was born in Prague, Czechloslovakia, in 1937. She and her family moved to the United States in 1948. Albright graduated with a BA in political science from Wellesley College in 1959. She received her masters and doctorate degrees from Columbia University. Albright was the first female secretary of state, serving under President Clinton. She is currently a professor at Georgetown University.

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