What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership, and Power

Marianne Schnall. Seal (PGW, dist.), $16 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-58005-496-6

Schnall (Daring to Be Ourselves), founder and executive director of Feminist.com, poses the title question to 29 diverse contributors including sociologist Michael Kimmel, journalist Soledad O’Brien, songwriter Melissa Etheridge, lawyer Anita Hill, and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson. The inclusion of seven elected officials, six congresswomen, and one governor provides instructive insight into just what it takes to succeed. Not surprisingly, former secretary of state Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama are referenced widely, as are Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 bestseller Lean In and Jennifer Siebel Newson’s 2011 award-winning documentary Miss Representation; both Sandberg and Newson are interviewed as well. The format is conversational, with Schnall as engaged as her subjects. Answers to the governing question vary. Some look inward: “When it comes to politics, women have an internal glass ceiling.” Most take a critical look at the roles of media and money (for example, the expense of campaigning). Read in one gulp, the book feels repetitive, but that’s appropriate given Schnall’s mission of “encouraging women and girls as leaders and change agents in their lives, their communities, and the larger world.” Agent: Tracy Brown, Tracy Brown Literary Agency. (Nov.)