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From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work, and Politics

Princeton UP,

15 min read
7 take-aways
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What's inside?

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s personal renewal inspires her call for a renewed and better America.

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Anne-Marie Slaughter, a US State Department veteran, academician, think-tank president and prolific author, describes her odyssey of personal renewal after a highly publicized leadership stumble almost ruined her career. She equates the stages of her journey with what she sees as necessary national change for Americans and America. She defines her position of “privilege,” the flaws in her prior thinking and the lessons she learned supporting underrepresented women. Slaughter tells a compelling story as she shares her vision of a renewed America that fosters increased social support, inclusion, grace, and the voluntary ceding of power and opportunity from those who currently have it.


Anne-Marie Slaughter’s journey of renewal inspired her to delve into America’s need for renewal.

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s journey of renewal – which inspires her call for an American national renewal – began during what she describes as “the worst day of my professional life.” As CEO of the nonprofit think tank New America, Slaughter fired several staff members. They then publicly accused her of pandering to the demands of the organization’s funders. The incident created a media uproar, threatening the livelihoods of more than 100 people who worked at New America, including Slaughter. 

While Slaughter acknowledges her advantages as a self-described “privileged,” professional white woman, and she recognizes that many people have faced far worse crises and problems, these events propelled her on an odyssey of brutally honest self-examination, leading to her process of personal renewal.

Slaughter started with a call to then-Atlantic Media chairman David Bradley, who served on her board. His advice was to “run toward the criticism.” He didn’t comfort her by telling her everything would be fine. Instead, Bradley stressed that even if only...

About the Author

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professor emeritus at Princeton University, leads the nonprofit think tank New America. She was the first woman to serve as the US State Department's policy planning director. She is also the author of Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family, The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World; The Idea that Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World; and A New World Order.

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