Nikki Haley has written three books. Here are five takeaways.

If you plan to run for president, they say, write a book. Nikki Haley wrote three.

The first book, “Can’t Is Not an Option” (Sentinel, 2012), depicts her growing up in Bamberg, SC, as one of four children in the town’s only Indian-American family. It also follows her rise in politics, from a little-known state lawmaker to the first woman and first person of color to serve as governor of South Carolina.

She published her second, “With All Due Respect” (St. Martin’s Press), in 2019 after leaving her post as ambassador to the United Nations in the administration of President Donald J. Trump. The 272-page memoir, released in a media blitz in which she reiterated White House claims against Mr Trump’s first impeachment and defended his character, traces her transformation from governor to diplomat. And her 2022 collection of essays, If You Want Something Done (St. Martin’s Press), whose title comes from a speech Margaret Thatcher put on the national debate stage, chronicles the lives of pioneering women.

Like all memoirs, Ms. Haley’s books tell a carefully curated story, skipping over controversies that would cast her in a less positive light. Here are a few things we learned from them.

Ms. Haley often says she was born and raised in a rural town of 2,500 people and two traffic lights, but says little about her campaign heritage.

Her mother and father, Raj and Ajit Randhawa, are from the Punjab region of India and left a life of wealth and comfort to come to the United States.

Ms. Randhawa, who lost her own father at a young age, grew up in a “six-story building in the shadow of the Golden Temple, the holiest site in the Sikh religion, to which she belongs,” Ms. Haley writes in “Can’t is Not an Option.” Ms. Haley’s mother had a chaperone for all her needs, including carrying her books to class, and earned a law degree when many Indian girls did not graduate from high school.

Mr Randhawa, the son of an officer in the British colonial army, grew up living with his uncle due to his father’s frequent transfers around India. He, too, is Sikh and highly educated: he earned a doctorate from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and became a professor of biology at Voorhees College, a historically black school in Denmark, SC

When Ms. Haley got her first job out of college in 1994 as an accounting supervisor for a recycling company and five of its subsidiaries, she walked into her first corporate board meeting to find “a conference table full of men,” she wrote in ” Can’t is Not an Option .”

She was the CEO — the first woman the business had hired — but that didn’t stop one of her colleagues from asking her to fetch a cup of coffee for someone else. Stunned, she picked up the phone and called her secretary.

“‘Pam,’ I said, ‘would you please get Paul a cup of coffee?'” she wrote, adding that her response was “instinctive” and “correct.”

The power movement briefly silenced the others in the room, she recalled.

“From then on, my colleagues treated me as an equal,” she said.

The anecdote hinted at her instincts and assertiveness as a politician – and her poise when distinguished by her gender. In the presidential campaign, she frequently refers to her opponents, all men, as “guys,” especially when trying to parry their attacks on her.

Ms. Haley drew criticism for downplaying the role of racism in the nation’s history while campaigning before a predominantly white Republican base. She insisted that the United States had “never been a racist country” and initially failed to mention slavery when a voter asked her about the causes of the Civil War.

But her first two books make it clear that Ms. Haley is intimately familiar with prejudice, having experienced racism and sexism in Bamberg and beyond.

As children, she and her older sister were entered in the Little Miss Bamberg pageant, only to be disqualified because the judges have historically named only one white and one black winner, and they were neither. (Her consolation gift was a beach ball.)

In restaurants and shops, she recalled, patrons would sometimes stare or whisper and point at her father, who wore a turban and, unlike many Sikh men in the United States, did not cut his hair. During a trip to Columbia, SC, the orchard owners reported her father to the police. “We got back in the car in silence,” she wrote in “Sincerely.”

And when she first ran for office, top consultants weighed in on her appeal during her run for state lawmaker and questioned whether a 31-year-old woman – and a Native American – could be a viable candidate. As she trailed in fundraising and trailed in the polls, she was also bombarded with ugly, racist attacks.

Those experiences fueled her efforts to persuade lawmakers to remove the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina Statehouse in 2015, after a white man shot and killed nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

But she also drew on her family’s immigration story to deflect criticism as she supported tough immigration laws, rejected pleas from black lawmakers to diversify her administration and highlighted the nation’s progress over past racial struggles.

“I passed by that same fruit stand traveling to and from Colombia when I was grown and in government,” she wrote in “With Due Respect.” “Every time I remembered my father’s pain and shame. But more importantly, I realized that the same thing would never happen today. South Carolina is a different place. My story is proof of that.”

Ms. Haley endorsed Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Trump’s rhetoric turned her off, she wrote in “With All Due Respect,” even as her own mother became a Trump supporter and the Republican Party appeared to be clearly veering further to the right.

Mr. Trump’s tone and language during the 2016 contest “brought me back to the Mother Emanuel murders,” she wrote.

“Trump touched a raw nerve,” she added. “The more he did it, the more I worried that some deranged person might react with violence.”

But eventually she reached out to Mr. Trump.

Their relationship goes back years. When Ms. Haley first won the Republican nomination in 2010 for the South Carolina governor’s race, Mr. Trump sent her “a campaign contribution in a gold envelope,” she wrote in “Sincerely.”

Describing her stint as UN ambassador, Ms Haley suggested Mr Trump sometimes changed course based on her advice. (Interviews with more than a dozen former senior administration officials suggest she has weighed her battles carefully.)

She sometimes praised Mr. Trump and he did not criticize him. But she took shots at two members of his administration who fell out of favor with him and with whom she clashed: John F. Kelly, the former chief of staff, and Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state.

Mrs. Haley met Bill Haley when she was an undergraduate at Clemson University in South Carolina, while he was attending nearby Anderson University. A native of Ohio, he grew up in foster care and knew how to make her laugh. The two hit it off and eventually started dating. Then she asked him what his full name was, she wrote in “It can’t be an option”.

“William Michael,” he told her. But Mr. Haley looked more like Michael, she wrote, and from then on she and all her friends started calling him that.

“When he transferred to Clemson as a sophomore, my friends became his friends, and before we knew it, he was universally known as Michael,” she said.

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