In one sense of the word, Becoming seems a woefully inadequate title for a coffee table book full of images of Cindy Crawford, one of the most beautiful women in the world. But in its more Aristotelian definition – “any change involving realization of potentialities” – it’s more than apt. If you’re already rolling your eyes at an introduction that attempts to link models and philosophers, consider this: Crawford was a straight-A student who won a full ride to Northwestern to study chemical engineering (the instructor thought she was in the wrong class, though we’re guessing he wasn’t unhappy to be mistaken). To mark her 50th (!) birthday, the woman who virtually defined “supermodel” wanted to connect iconic images from her career with the lessons behind them; ones she believes are universal. And Cindy Crawford is someone who never stops learning. Some of those lessons were tough, like what the death of a three-year-old sibling can do to a family. Others were easier, like standing around in a bra for 30 minutes beats picking corn for minimum wage all day, anytime. And still others you learn only by having absolutely no blueprint beyond the one you draw for yourself: What to do when at age 17 you’re making five times more money than your parents, who have no advice to give you about what to do with it? Should you stay in Illinois (and school) or go to New York to be a model when you have absolutely no idea if you’ll succeed – when, in fact, the most important photographer in Chicago tells you that you won’t? How do you handle yourself when suddenly you’re part of a moment that changed the way the world sees you and your industry forever? Is posing forPlayboy a powerful statement of femininity or a career-ending decision? And finally, how do you become, to use a famous Vanity Fairheadline, “Cindy, Inc.”? A life like hers presumably belongs to someone with big ambitions and self-confidence to match, but Crawford tells Off Camera she never dreamed big enough for herself. The wisdom in Becoming belongs to someone who’s earned it through experience, observation, hard work and humility. For anyone forging a path in or outside of fashion, this is textbook stuff. With way better pictures.