More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth

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“People say “follow your gut” but I don’t know what that means. I say follow your enthusiasm. Follow the path that makes you feel most alive. Even if that means confronting fear along the way —because making friends with fear is a necessary part of self-growth.”

Our summer reading list has been dedicated to memoirs. From Thick by Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom to The Bold World by Jodie Patterson. All of the books on our list have two qualities in common: amazing writing and the celebration of the Black experience! Our July book club pick is More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth. 

We had an opportunity to chat with the award-winning journalist and debut author last week! She shared the meaning of More Than Enough, how to be a thoughtful mentor, and the importance of trusting your intuition. Check out the Twitter Moment here!

“Healing comes from learning to love and accept all of who you are — even the parts that were forged by fire. We all fall down. We all get hurt. It’s how we pick ourselves back up that builds character and teaches us to trust ourselves.”

Book Review by Aishamanne Williams 

“More Than Enough” Elaine Welteroth’s inspiring debut memoir, is bound to make you laugh, might make you cry, and will definitely make you believe in yourself. 

In the introduction, readers learn that research shows that, on average, a girl’s confidence peaks at just nine years old. “Nine,” Welteroth says. “That pains me.” The book follows her journey from the moment she was born, throughout her childhood and adolescence, and into her adulthood while mapping the many factors that can affect a young biracial girl’s confidence in America. The world may know Welteroth for being the youngest editor-in-chief in Conde Nast history, the second African-American to hold such a title, and Teen Vogue’s first black beauty director—and she embraces this early on, dedicating the book to those who Shonda Rhimes describes as “First. Only. Different.” But Welteroth also acknowledges that being a “FOD” comes with many challenges, and a powerful opportunity to “rewrite rules, to redefine norms, to represent for the communities that haven’t had a seat at the table before.” More Than Enough is defined by the question she poses in the introduction: “what good is a trailblazer who isn’t willing to leave signposts along the way that make it a little less confusing, less lonely, less disorienting for the next woman or person of color?” 

Every chapter of More Than Enough is a signpost, packed with pieces of wisdom from Elaine and beginning with memorable quotes that relate to the lesson she learns in the following chapter. Chapter titles include Born Enough, Brown Girl Boss, Black Enough, I Am Not My Hair, The College Crisis, Are You My Husband?, A Seat at the Table, and more. She accomplishes her mission of sharing her life beyond the headlines and social media highlight reels; the experiences in this book are so intimate and comfortably shared, it feels like talking to a friend who happens to be a successful black woman who is telling you her behind-the-scenes journey to where she is today. 

Elaine acknowledges that this book does not and cannot, at age 33, tell her whole life story. But what it does is offer a seat at the table. She says, “As a culture, we love a celebration. We love a first. We hold them high. We all marvel at headlines and highlight reels. But we often have no idea about the marks and scars and bruises that come with breaking through glass ceilings.” This book shares her scars; it illuminates the path to success for those who don’t see much room for people who look like them and thus are deeply inspired by those who make it through. It is not a how-to guide on making it into the industry, and it isn’t really about the industry at all. It is a culmination of Elaine’s experiences that come together to relay one message: you are more than enough.