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I read the teaser article about this book in The Atlantic and was intrigued enough to read the actual book. I'm not a self-help or trendy non-fiction reader, so this book was quite the departure for me. However, the thesis presented in the article in the The Atlantic really resonated with me.
As an adult whose returned to college, I often find myself appalled at the lack of confidence and agency in the young women I take classes with. Often, in many settings from school to work I find myself as the only outspoken woman in a group, and even then, I know how much confidence I lack in comparison to my male colleagues.
I interned at a literary journal and while 70 to 80 percent of the classes, workshops and conferences for creative writing I attend are populated by women, strangely those numbers flip when it comes to who is submitting work to magazines and journals. It's strange that while the majority of writing students are female, an overwhelming majority of those who submit stories are male. It's something I've always found puzzling and concerning. But after reading this book it seems to me that a business, like writing, that involves monumental amounts of rejection, is something women in our society have not been trained to accept.
One of the main ideas in the book is that women are not given the same opportunities as men to fail and fail often enough to become well-practiced in failure, and thus when encountering failure in the real world for the first time as adults, we shrink back and learn we can't fail if we don't try. Which becomes learned helplessness. Women learn to only go for sure-bets and keep reinforcing their lack of confidence by avoiding failure. The book posits that failure, and lots of it, is a necessary building block of confidence.
I wish a lot attitudes and ideas in this book were not true. It was disheartening to realize how much we as women tend to work against ourselves and our success in order to be considered "good girls." There are three things I will take away from this book and internalize for life. Fail harder, stop ruminating, and own my success - I will never again credit luck for what I have achieved.
There are no great epiphany "ah-ha!" moments here, but rather confirmation backed up by scientific studies on why we, as women, lag behind once we leave the sheltered world of school to the business environment. But the book is quick to note, as well, that it's not as easy as Leaning In, because self-assertive women at work are labeled as aggressive bitches. And for this, the book has no solutions, save some very wide platitudes about blending male and female qualities to succeed in the workplace. And that is a very nuanced process that would probably take up another book.
Great read if you have a daughter, work with girls, or if you're doing everything right, but not getting ahead at work and can't figure out why.
33 of 36 people found this review helpful
Having heard the authors on the radio, I wanted to see what additional wisdom I could glean from listening to the whole book. I could barely make it through (and skipped a lot). The information was repetitive and laboriously presented. Worse, the book focused on the problem and spent little time talking about solutions. I guess I wanted more of a "what can we do about this" book rather than a "here's the problem" book.
The other problem was the narrator. Her high-pitched, lispy voice drove me a little nuts and didn't seem to fit the tone of the subject. I could hear her doing, for example, a YA novel, but this didn't seem like a good fit.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
Extremely valuable because now I can see my worth clearly and I am happy I don't have to act masculine or with male bravado in order to be Successful.
A good, engaging book, well performed. I'd have liked more detail on tips and practical advice, but it was a clear introduction on the issue. Plenty of food for thought
Robust, well researched and thought provoking material that can apply to women from all walks if life.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
loved the book and wish i had read it 10 years ago but will put it to use now that i have read it!