Just Who Will You Be? - Maria Shriver

Just Who Will You Be is a candid, heartfelt, and inspirational book for seekers of all ages. Inspired by a speech she gave, Maria Shriver's message is that what you do in your life isn't what matters. It's who you are. It's an important lesson that will appeal to anyone of any age looking for a life of meaning. In her own life, Shriver always walked straight down her own distinctive path, achieving her childhood goal of becoming "award-winning network newswoman Maria Shriver". But when her husband was elected California's Governor and she suddenly had to leave her job at NBC News, Maria was thrown for a loop. Right about then, her nephew asked her to speak at his high school graduation. She resisted, wondering how she could possibly give advice to kids, when she was feeling so lost herself. But in the end she relented and decided to dig down and dig deep, and the result is this little jewel. Just Who Will You Be reminds us that the answer to many of life's question lie within -- and that we're all works in progress. That means it's never too late to become the person you want to be.






Published in 2008, this book form of Just Who Will You Be? serves as an extension of the commencement speech Maria Shriver gave at her nephew's high school graduation. 


 Traveling with her father as he ran for Vice President in 1972, the media coverage of that year inspired young Maria towards the goal of becoming an award-winning journalist / news anchor. Starting as a coffee runner, Shriver eventually does work her way up to a position at NBC News... a job she was asked to resign ("conflict of interest") once husband Arnold Schwarzeneger became Governor of California. Shriver also touches a bit on her famous family; being a part of the Kennedys, the niece of John, Robert and Ted; how her father, Sargent, founded the Peace Corps while mother Eunice created the Special Olympics.


The structure of the book is set up as 1) Intro 2) Main Speech 3) Thoughts after giving speech. At the back of the book Shriver also includes a "Pledge List", a list of ten affirmations she uses to keep herself motivated and includes blank lines for readers to write in their own favorite affirmations. My favorites of the ones Shriver shares are "I pledge to use my voice to empower myself and others" and "I pledge to avoid using the word 'just' to describe myself (ie, 'just a mother)."


Shriver encourages her audience to determine what their core values and beliefs are and use those as a foundation for working toward future successes. If you want to go for fame, ask yourself what you want to be famous FOR. She also incorporates reminders that it's okay, even healthy, to change and adjust your beliefs as you go along. Basically, her message boils down to the often used, if sometimes vague, "be yourself".


There's also an original Shriver poem included, though she does pull some inspiration from Dr Seuss's Oh, The Places You Will Go!. The poem itself is a little cringey, the rhythm a little off. There's a definite "pep talk from mom" feel to it, but the sentiment is nice.