Becoming (book)

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Becoming (Michelle Obama book).jpg
AuthorMichelle Obama
CountryUnited States
PublishedNovember 13, 2018 (2018-11-13)
PublisherCrown (North America)
Viking Press (Commonwealth)
ISBN978-1-5247-6313-8 (Hardcover)
Preceded byAmerican Grown 

Becoming is the memoir of former United States first lady Michelle Obama published in 2018.[1][2] Described by the author as a deeply personal experience,[3] the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.[4] The book is published by Crown and will be released in 24 languages.[4] One million copies will be donated to First Book, an American nonprofit organization which provides books to children.[4]

It sold more copies than any other book published in the United States in 2018, breaking the record in just 15 days.[5]


The memoir was published on November 12, 2018.[6] According to anonymous sources and reported in The Atlantic, Obama has said Michelle had help from a ghostwriter.[7]


The book's 24 chapters (plus a preface and epilogue) are divided into three sections: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More. Becoming Me traces Obama's early life growing up on the South Side of Chicago, through her education at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, to her early career as a lawyer at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met Barack Obama. Becoming Us departs from the beginning of their romantic relationship and follows their marriage, the beginning of his political career in the Illinois State Senate. The section ends with election night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and Becoming More describes their life as first family.

Book sales[edit]

Total book sales, including hardcover, audio and e-books editions, sold around 725,000 copies in the United States and Canada during its first day, making it the second best-selling debut for any book in 2018.[8][9] Bob Woodward's Fear: Trump in the White House holds the record after selling around 900,000 copies during its first day.[8][9][10] However, Barnes and Noble reported that Becoming surpassed Fear in first-week sales and had more first-week sales of any adult book since Go Set a Watchman in 2015.[11] The book sold 1.4 million copies in its first week.[12] After 15 days, the book became the best-selling book in the US for the year 2018.[5]

By March 26, 2019, Becoming had sold 10 million copies.[13]


The review aggregator website Book Marks reported that 18% of critics gave the book a "rave" review, whilst 73% of the critics expressed "positive" impressions, based on a sample of 22 reviews.[14] It was an Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection.[15]


American musician Questlove curated a soundtrack for the book, called The Michelle Obama Musiaqualogy.[16]


Obama went on a national book tour conducted in arenas, often to sold-out crowds. The initial tour included 12 venues in 10 cities,[17] but expanded with its popularity; as of February 2019, another 21 cities had been added, including six in Europe and four in Canada.[18]


  1. ^ Barnes & Noble. "Becoming". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  2. ^ Haring, Bruce (February 25, 2018). "Michelle Obama Memoir 'Becoming' Set For November Release". Deadline.
  3. ^ Obama, Michelle [@MichelleObama] (February 25, 2018). "Writing BECOMING has been a deeply personal experience" (Tweet). Retrieved February 28, 2018 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b c Chow, Andrew R. (February 25, 2018). "Michelle Obama's Memoir to Arrive in November". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming breaks sales record in 15 days". BBC News. November 30, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Willis, Kelcie (September 12, 2018). "Michelle Obama announces 'Becoming' 10-city book tour". Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  7. ^ Dovere, Edward-Isaac (May 23, 2019). "Waiting for Obama". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 24, 2019. he'll occasionally point out in conversation that he's writing this book himself, while Michelle used a ghostwriter
  8. ^ a b Italie, Hillel. "Obama's memoir sells more than 725,000 copies". KFDM. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  9. ^ a b "Sales of Michelle Obama's book top 725,000 in 1st day". Press Herald. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  10. ^ Chappell, Carmin (2018-09-18). "Bob Woodward's 'Fear' sells 1.1 million copies in first week, a record for publisher Simon & Schuster". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  11. ^ Carras, Christi (November 19, 2018). "Michelle Obama's 'Becoming' Becomes 2018's Fastest-Selling Book, Says Barnes & Noble". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  12. ^ "Michelle Obama's book sells 1.4 million copies in a week". CBS News. November 21, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "Michelle Obama book sells 10 million copies". 26 March 2019 – via
  14. ^ "Becoming". Book Marks. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  15. ^ "First Look: Oprah's New Book Club Pick: Becoming, by Michelle Obama". November 12, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  16. ^ Stutz, Colin (November 20, 2018). "Questlove Expertly Curates Soundtrack for Michelle Obama's 'Becoming' Book Tour: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  17. ^ "Michelle Obama Extends 'Becoming' Book Tour Into 2019 With 21 New Dates". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  18. ^ Jean-Philippe, McKenzie (2019-02-25). "Michelle Obama Just Announced the Newest Celebrity Guests for Her Becoming Book Tour". Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 2019-03-02.

External links[edit]