More Than Enough Book Summary - More Than Enough Book explained in key points
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More Than Enough summary

Elaine Welteroth

Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

3.7 (45 ratings)
30 mins
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    More Than Enough
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    With the support of her parents, Elaine learned to embrace and be proud of her race at an early age.  

    Elaine remembers the day she realized she was different.

    She was three years old, and her preschool teacher had just given her and her classmates an assignment: using images from magazines, make a collage representing your family.

    Even at that young age, Elaine had inklings of her otherness. Newark, California, the tiny town where she was raised, was overwhelmingly white. Sure, there were a few first-generation Asian, Mexican and Indian families, but a cultural melting pot it was not. Elaine’s family simply didn’t look like anyone else’s.

    Her father, Jack, was white. Her mother, Debra, was black. And Elaine’s older brother, Eric Charles, was – like little Elaine herself – caramel-taffy brown.

    In the classroom, surrounded by busy white toddlers, little Elaine tried to find images that looked like her family. Finding a dad was easy enough – sort of. She found a white, suitcase-carrying businessman (Jack actually worked as a carpenter). Finding a black mom and a brown brother proved much harder.

    So she did what any little girl might do: she copied her classmates and used images of white people.

    When her mother saw Elaine’s handiwork, she delivered one of her classic lines –“Houston, we have a problem” – and sat Lainey down at the kitchen table. It was time to have the Race Conversation.

    With the help of her mom, Elaine redid her collage, this time using more accurate cutouts from Ebony and Essence magazines. When they were done, they taped the collage up by Elaine’s bed as a reminder. Elaine wasn’t, and never would be, white; she was black – and that was something to be proud of.

    Elaine was lucky. Her parents provided unconditional love and support. She may have felt out of place in the classroom. But back home, she was taught that she was perfect, that she was enough, just the way she was.

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    What is More Than Enough about?

    More Than Enough (2019) is part memoir, part manifesto. It details the triumphs and travails of Elaine Welteroth’s journey to success, beginning with her small-town childhood and ending with her decision to leave her seat as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. But it’s more than an inspiring success story. It also offers wisdom, tips, warnings and encouragement to anyone who’s ever been told that they aren’t enough just the way they are. 

    Best quote from More Than Enough

    I think the better ending to this story is . . . Elaine leaves Condé Nast. – Ava DuVernay

    —Elaine Welteroth
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    Who should read More Than Enough?

    • Aspiring journalists  
    • People who’ve been told they aren’t enough
    • Dreamers struggling to realize their dreams

    About the Author

    Elaine Welteroth is a journalist, author and editor. In 2016, at age 29, she rose to the position of editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, making her the youngest editor in publisher Condé Nast’s history and the second woman to hold such a position within that institution. Before her historic promotion at Teen Vogue, she held editorial positions at Ebony and Glamour. More Than Enough is her first book.

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