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NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART: Lessons in Courage, Power, & Persistence



Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Date and Time

October 17, 2018 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM October 15.


Bechtel Conference Center
Encina Hall, First floor, Central
616 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305


2018 S.T. Lee Lectureship

Few people have sat across from the Iranians and the North Koreans at the negotiating table. WENDY SHERMAN has done both. During her time as the lead US negotiator of the historic Iran nuclear deal and throughout her distinguished career, Ambassador Sherman has amassed tremendous expertise in the most pressing foreign policy issues of our time. Throughout her life—from growing up in civil-rights-era Baltimore, to stints as a social worker, campaign manager, and business owner, to advising multiple presidents—she has relied on values that have shaped her approach to work and leadership: authenticity, effective use of power and persistence, acceptance of change, and commitment to the team. 

In NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, Ambassador Sherman takes readers inside the world of international diplomacy and into the mind of one of our most effective negotiators—often the only woman in the room. She shows why good work in her field is so hard to do, and how we can apply core skills of diplomacy to the challenges in our own lives. 

But it’s important to remember that deals can be undone. Following Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Ambassador Sherman updated NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART to better articulate how our governmental structures are failing our diplomatic ones. 

In the dark political era we’ve entered since Ambassador Sherman first put pen to paper, she’s come to realize how increasingly important it is to understand the deeper nature of negotiation. Leaders talk about the art of the deal and discredit the art of diplomacy—while achieving neither and misunderstanding both. The fact is, whether you’re in politics or business, the world has become so increasingly complex that the diplomatic perspective has become indispensable to deal making. 

In utilizing her first-hand knowledge, Ambassador Sherman distinguishes between the diplomat and the autocrat. The former is inclusive and expansive, understanding that every decision is grounded in present and past history, with an obligation to the future; the latter is impulsive and reckless, and sees only what’s in front of him and what’s at stake right now. 

We need leaders who are tough, blunt, and realistic, it’s true—but those same leaders must understand the nature of power if they hope to use it effectively. They have to learn from loss and let go of the things they can’t control; learn how to build a team and recognize adversaries as partners in making real change; and, above all, they have to bring their authentic selves to the negotiation table. As Ambassador Sherman writes in the introduction to NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART: “When we are ourselves, even if that means letting our tears flow, we can be our most powerful.” 

Through personal stories drawn from a lifetime of public service, Ambassador Sherman has written a necessary text for today’s leaders. But NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART is so much more than a behind-the-curtain political memoir: it is a nuanced, revealing, and practical guide for any woman or man who wants to improve their negotiation game. 


 “A powerful, deeply personal, and absorbing book written by one of America’s smartest and most dedicated diplomats.”—MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT, 64th U.S. Secretary of State 

“Wendy doesn’t just write about the value of courage, power, and persistence, she lives it. She’s an example that a strong negotiator can also be a humane mentor.”—JOHN KERRY, 68th U.S. Secretary of State 

“An indispensable insider’s account of America’s negotiations with Iran and North Korea and a timely reminder of the importance of diplomacy… This book is also the personal saga of a woman navigating a generation of change in American politics. At an inflection point in our national conversations about diplomacy and gender, this book is illuminating on both fronts.” —RONAN FARROW, contributing writer, New Yorker, and author of The War on Peace 

“A compelling narrative, never needed more than today.”—ANDREA MITCHELL, chief foreign affairs correspondent, NBC, and news anchor, MSNBC 

Books will be available for sale 

Wendy R. Sherman is Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.  In January 2019, Ambassador Sherman will join Harvard Kennedy School as a professor of the practice in public leadership and director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership.  She serves on the boards of the International Crisis Group and the Atlantic Council, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group.  Ambassador Sherman led the U.S. negotiating team that reached agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran for which, among other diplomatic accomplishments, she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Barack Obama.  Prior to her service at the Department of State, she was Vice Chair and founding partner of the Albright Stonebridge Group, Counselor of the Department of State under Secretary Madeleine Albright and Special Advisor to President Clinton and Policy Coordinator on North Korea, and Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under Secretary Warren Christopher.   Early in her career, she managed Senator Barbara Mikulski’s successful campaign for the U.S Senate and served as Director of EMILY’S list.  She served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, was Chair of the Board of Directors of Oxfam America and served on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board and Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism.  Ambassador Sherman is the author of Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power and Persistence published by PublicAffairs, September 2018.


The S.T. Lee Lectureship is named for Seng Tee Lee, a business executive and noted philanthropist. Dr. Lee is director of the Lee group of companies in Singapore and of the Lee Foundation.

Dr. Lee endowed the annual lectureship at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies in order to raise public understanding of the complex policy issues facing the global community today and to increase support for informed international cooperation.

The S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecturer is chosen for his or her international reputation as a leader in international political, economic, social, and health issues and strategic policy-making concerns.