Just Who Will You Be? | Maria Shriver

Summary of: Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question. Little Book. Answer Within.
By: Maria Shriver


In ‘Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question. Little Book. Answer Within.’, Maria Shriver embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery, addressing the pivotal question: who do we want to be? While sharing her experiences – from her early ambitions in journalism to the challenges she faced with her identity as she navigated through high-profile roles and living in the public eye – Shriver encourages readers to listen to their inner voice and pursue their own authentic lives. Through transformative experiences and critical questions for young individuals, this book summary highlights the importance of defining our own identity for a fulfilling life and the need to recognize and embrace change and growth.

Maria Shriver’s Journey

Maria Shriver, a former network anchor at NBC News, was once mistaken for a model while shopping with her son, and it made her realize how she never considered herself a housewife. Her father’s political background and attending the Democratic National Convention as a teenager inspired her to pursue a career in journalism. She rose up the ranks and became a successful reporter and producer. Although she relished her role as a newswoman, having grown up in the Kennedy family, she began to question her identity, sharing that “life happens to you, and – bingo! – your idea of who you think you are just goes up in smoke.” Maria is now fulfilling her next act and continuing to grow in her personal and professional life.

Maria Shriver’s Identity Crisis

Maria Shriver, a former news reporter, lost her job when her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, became the Governor of California. With her identity shattered, she gave a commencement speech at her nephew’s graduation, asking the audience the same question she was struggling with: Who is the person you want to be? This question became the basis for her inspiring book.

The Real Meaning of Fame

Maria Shriver’s speech reveals how the pursuit of fame can impair one’s identity and what it really means to be famous.

Maria Shriver’s speech, delivered at her nephew’s high school graduation, begins with her wondering why she was asked to speak. She deduced it was because of her famous husband, close association with the Kennedy family, and past career as an NBC News anchor. Shriver ultimately concluded it was because of her fame, the one thing she was equipped to advise on.

Shriver’s speech conveyed how society’s allure towards fame can be deceptive. Teenagers particularly are fascinated by celebrities, who we are inundated with daily in the media. They are exposed to images of individuals who possess everything that is deemed desirable–beauty, wealth, and success. Inherently, these values are not wrong but achieving them does not guarantee a happy and fulfilling life.

Shriver explained that being famous isn’t a meaningful pursuit in and of itself. Instead, one should focus on fulfilling their authentic selves and finding their unique place in the world. The speech urged the audience not to equate success with fame. Instead, it should stem from the impact of their actions and the purpose that underlies these actions. Shriver’s summons to finding fulfillment through inner voice recognition is a lesson that reflects the significance of character, integrity, and vision.

In conclusion, Shriver’s speech reminds us that fame may seem seductive because it creates a facade of a lifetime of happiness. However, it’s crucial to attack one’s self as distinct from the crowd and not be governed by what others deem to be valuable. Instead, individuals need to question what is meaningful to them and pursue that wholeheartedly.

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