Report: Obama Wants His Memoir to Beat Michelle's Book Sales, Points Out She Used a Ghostwriter

Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama / Getty Images
May 23, 2019

Former President Barack Obama wants to beat the book sales of his wife Michelle's bestselling memoir when he publishes his own and even dings her for using a ghostwriter, according to a new report.

Obama, who has already written two memoirs, is trying to finish his third, which will reportedly cover his political career from 2004 to the present. Following the smashing success of Michelle Obama's Becoming, which has sold more than 10 million copies and could wind up the bestselling political memoir ever, Obama is feeling pressure to beat her, The Atlantic reports:

The writing has been going more slowly than he'd expected, and according to several people who have spoken with him, the 44th president is feeling competitive with his wife, whose own book, Becoming, was the biggest release of 2018 and is on track to be the best-selling memoir in history. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others in this story, these sources note he'll occasionally point out in conversation that he’s writing this book himself, while Michelle used a ghostwriter.

It's not out of character for the famously competitive Obama, who in 2018 repeatedly demanded credit for the nation's robust economy under President Donald Trump.

"Just say thank you, please," he said.

The Obamas received a collective $65 million advance for their books from Penguin Random House, according to Financial Times.

His previous books, Dreams From My Father (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006), were both bestsellers.

Obama's latest book doesn't have a title yet, and it won't be released this year. The Atlantic reported a 2020 release could have the effect of distracting from the Democratic Party's primary battle and re-litigate controversial decisions he made in the White House.

Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in Illinois in 2004 and delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that year, rocketing him to political stardom. He was elected to the presidency in 2008 and reelected in 2012. However, Hillary Clinton's stunning loss in 2016 to Trump threw a wrench into his political legacy.