In Revolution, Emmanuel Macron, the youngest president in the history of France, reveals his personal story and his inspirations and discusses his vision of France and its future in a new world that is undergoing a ‘great transformation’ that has not been known since the Renaissance. He chronicles his journey from his rural upbringing to the role of mentors in his life, key moments and seizing the right opportunities. The book is part biographical and part a manifesto of his vision for a more prosperous and vibrant France.
At the age of 39, Macron became the youngest president in French history.
Emmanuel Macron was born in Amiens on 21 December 1977. He studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, a master’s degree in public affairs from Sciences Po ( Paris Institute of Political Studies) and graduated from the École nationale d’administration in 2004.
Macron was elected to a second term in the 2022 presidential election, again defeating Le Pen, thus becoming the first French presidential candidate to win re-election since 2002.
After graduating from the École nationale d’administration in 2004, he worked in the Inspectorate General of Finances and then became an investment banker at Rothschild & Co. Macron was appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in François Hollande’s government in 2014, and resigned in August 2016 to launch his centrist and pro-European political movement En Marche! as part of his bid for the 2017 presidential election. He won the elec- tion on 7 May 2017 with 66 percent of the vote, defeating the National Front’s candidate, Marine Le Pen.
His renamed party, La République En Marche!, won an outright majority in the legislative elections in June 2017.
Favourite Takeaways -Revolution by Emmanuel Macron.
Change requires courage
We have become used to a world that we find disturbing, that deep down we do not wish to recognise or to confront head-on. So we grouse and grumble. In the midst of drama and despair, when fears take hold of us, we dwell on them. We want change, and yet we’re not really committed to it. If we wish to progress, make our country succeed, and build our prosperity for the twenty-first century in keeping with our history, we must act.
Because the solution depends on us. Success does not depend on making a list of proposals that will not be implemented. The solution will not emerge from building dubious compromises. It will be created by a different approach that pre-supposes a profound democratic revolution. It will take time. It will depend on only one thing: our unity, our courage, and our common will.
Family of Doctors
I was born in December 1977 in Amiens, the capital of the Pi- cardy region, into a family of hospital doctors. The family had recently entered the middle class — advancing, as one used to say, by toil and by talent. My grandparents were a teacher, a rail-road worker, a social worker, and a civil engineer. They all came from modest backgrounds. The history of my family is that of the historical rise of Republicanism in the French provinces between Hautes-Pyrenees and Picardy. Their advancement was achieved by dint of knowledge and, more precisely, for the last generation, through the medical profession.
For my grandparents, this was a fast track, and they wanted to push their children in the same direction. That was how my parents, and then my brother and sister, became doctors. I am the only one not to have taken that path. This was on no account because of any aversion to medicine. In fact, I have always had a taste for the sciences.
Choosing Own Path
For as far back as I can remember, I have always had that ambition: to make my own life choices. I had the good fortune to have parents who, while encouraging me to work, saw education as a training ground for freedom. They imposed nothing on me. They allowed me to fulfil my destiny. So I chose my life as if, at each stage, everything had been laid out ahead of me.
Things were not always easy, but at the same time, they were not complicated. I had to work hard, but I had a taste for it. I suffered failures, sometimes painful ones, but I did not allow myself to be diverted after making my choices. It was in these years of training that I forged the conviction that nothing is more precious than the freedom to choose one’s own future, the pursuit of a mission that one has set oneself, the realisation of one’s talent, whatever its nature. And talent is something that each of us possesses.
I suffered failures, sometimes painful ones, but I did not allow myself to be diverted after making my choices.
This conviction subsequently determined my commitment to politics by making me sensitive to the injus- tices of a society based on the status quo, regimentation, classes, and social mistrust, where everything conspires to block one’s personal fulfilment.
Love of Learning from childhood
My grandmother taught me to work. From the age of five, when school was over, I spent long hours with her, learning grammar, history, geography … and reading. I spent entire days reading out loud to her: Molière and Racine, Georges Duhamel, an author somewhat forgotten, whom she loved, as well as Mauriac and Giono. My grandmother shared a taste for study with my parents, and my childhood was punctuated by their concerned expectations whenever I came home from the least important school examination.
And so it was that I spent my childhood immersed in books, a little removed from the world. It was a sedentary life in an average French town; a happy life of reading and writing. I lived largely through texts and words. Things took on greater significance when they were described, and were sometimes more real than reality itself. The secret, intimate course of literature transcended outward appearances, giving the world all its depth, of which we only get a fleeting glimpse in our daily routine. One is not removed from real life when one reads. My only voyages then were those of the mind. I became acquainted with nature, flowers, and trees through the words of writers, and was made even more aware by the spell that they created.
I lived largely through texts and words. Things took on greater significance when they were described, and were sometimes more real than reality itself.
Other Interest: Piano and acting
Fundamentally, from those years, I learned to exert myself, and I learned how a desire for knowledge paves the way to freedom. Although, since then, I have discovered the pleasures of a hectic life and of responsibility, I have also experienced the joy of that sedentary life far removed from human hubbub. Our roots offer us protection. And, I believe, make us wise. I had only two other interests: playing the piano and acting. My childhood passion for the piano has never left me.
Meeting wife – Bridgette as a teenager
It was at high school, through theater, that I met Brigitte. Love sneaked up on us unawares. Initially it was through a meeting of minds that then developed into an emotional closeness, and, after that, without resistance from either of us, a passion that endures to this day.
Every Friday, I would spend several hours writing a play with her. That carried on for months. When the play was completed, we decided to stage it together. We discussed everything. Writing became a pretext for seeing each other. And it came to me that it was as if we had always known each other.
A few years later, I had managed to create the life that I desired. We had become a couple, inseparable, despite the headwinds.
At that time, she had three children and a husband. For my part, I was nothing more than a student. She did not love me for what I had, for my situation, for the comfort or security that I offered. She gave up all that for me. But she did it with a constant concern for her children. Not by ever imposing anything, but by gently helping others to understand that the inconceivable could become reality.
Our family is the bedrock of my life, my anchor. The history of our country has inculcated in us a tenacious will not to concede anything to conformity when our belief is strong and sincere.
Over those years, I formed the conviction that what inspired me was not simply to study, to read, or to understand, but rather to act and seek to bring about concrete change. I therefore turned to law and economics. It was then that I chose to go into public service. Along with a few others, who became and have remained faithful friends, I prepared for the competitive examinations for admission to the National School of Administration.
One Year Internship in the Civil Service
I was accepted and was immediately sent to do a year’s internship in the civil service. That is where government employees begin their practical training and acquire initial experience. I enjoyed that year of internship and learning. I have never supported dissolving the National School of Administration.
French Embassy in Nigeria
And so I began my service to the state at the French embassy in Nigeria. During those six months, I had the good fortune to work with Jean-Marc Simon, a remarkable ambassador. Subsequently, I was appointed to work at the Prefecture of the département of Oise. That allowed me to discover a different facet of the state — the state at a grassroots level, locally elected representatives, the civil service.
Private Sector – Rothschild & Co.
Following those years, I chose to quit the “Service”, as it is called, and to go back to the private sector and the world of business. I wanted to learn its grammar, to tackle international issues, at the same time knowing that one day I would go back to public life. Throughout those years, I maintained a continuing interest in politics — by contributing to the journal Esprit, by keeping company for a time with close associates of Jean-Pierre Chevènement, and then by joining, albeit temporarily, the Socialist Party, where I did not find my place, although it enabled me to explore the Pas-de-Calais region where, over time, my family and I built strong ties.
And so it was that I left the public sector to join the merchant bank Rothschild & Co. Everything there was new to me. For several months, I learned procedures and methods from the youngest as well as the more experienced. Then, under the guidance of the most well-versed, I delved deeper into this strange profession, which requires an ability to understand a business sector and its challenges, to advise business leaders in their strategic choices, and to provide them with support in executing them, surrounded by a pack of technical experts.
Over the years, I discovered the considerable power of commerce, but above all I learned a lot about the world.
Deputy Secretary General
After being elected president of the Republic, Hollande made me a proposal to join the team at the Élysée. I worked with Hollande for two years as Deputy Secretary-General, handling matters relating to the Eurozone and the economy. And not everything was done well. I asked to be relieved of my duties two years later. I left my position in the government in July 2014.
I did not apply for a political post, or a managerial post in a large firm, or in the civil service, as is often the case. I preferred to work, as they say, on my own account, to take on new projects and to teach. I did not plan to go back into politics.
Minister of the Economy, Industry and Dig-ital Affairs.
And then I was called back by the president to become Minister of the Economy, Industry and Dig-ital Affairs.
Allegiance to France not Individuals
I owe my allegiance only to my country — not to a party, a position, or a person. I accepted the duties that I took up only because they allowed me to serve my country. I stated that at the outset, and I never deviated from my pledge. When the obstacles placed in my way, the absence of new ideas and new people, the terrible lack of imagination, and the general torpor showed me that useful work was no longer possible, I drew the necessary conclusions and resigned.
My concept of official duties is neither one of promoting a career nor of waiting in line for promotion. It is one of a shared commitment, based on service. Nothing else counts for me, and certainly not the criticism or calumny of those whose loyalty is reserved not for their country but for a system in which they know exactly how to use every single benefit and monetary advantage for their personal gain. That’s what things have come to.
Launching En Marche!
After the Paris attacks in the autumn of 2015, I witnessed what seemed to me to be errors, and sometimes even serious political mistakes: the abandonment of a strategy that was indispensable in order to seize new economic opportunities in our country, the absence of a real desire for reform and a greater European ambition, and the choice of a sterile debate on the withdrawal of citizenship — a debate that divided the country without providing a response to events. When financial crisis and society’s despair were feeding into extremism and violence, at a time when our neighbours were finding solutions to permanently reduce unemployment, the real state of emergency that needed to be declared was, in my view, one of an economic and social nature.
I did not hide these differences of opinion. As for my actions as minister, they were hindered by the cumulative effect of misjudg- ments, a lack of people with technical expertise to call on, and the personal hidden agendas of others.
I decided to take a political initiative by launching the movement En Marche! on 6 April 2016, in Amiens, the city of my birth. Whatever difficulties we encoun- tered, that initiative was never intended to be “anti”, but “for”.
All the Best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.