Friday, October 01, 2004

The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

In Jack Covert Selects

From the CEO of one of my favorite companies, 800-CEO-READ, Jack Covert reviews The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters by Margaret Heffernan, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 288 Pages, $24.95 Hardcover, September 2004, ISBN 078797143X. His comments, on Heffernan's book, reinforce the mission of this blog:

Margaret Heffernan wrote an article in 2002 for Fast Company, because she sensed that something was amiss in woman's careers. So she launched an experiment and asked for women to share their experiences. Turns out the response was overwhelming. She was inundated with emails from women all over America; some were offering solutions to common problems and others were in dire need of advice. In her own words:

"My fast company experiment confirmed -- beyond my wildest imaginings -- what I had seen in my own career and the careers of many women I'd worked with and for: that women are still abused, undervalued, and alienated in a business world that still can't recognize and respect them; that the pressure to align personal and work values is urgent and unrelenting; and that many women are inventing solutions that, if they were shared, could make us a lot less lonely."

The book is filled with vignettes as told by real women in the business world today, discussing many different issues. Looking at the chapter names alone will give you a good idea of what is covered: Start Smart; Geishas, Bitches, Guys -- and the Invisible Women; Balls to the Wall: Toxic Bosses and Hostile Environments; The Emperor's New Clothes; Power and Where It Comes From; Sex, Love and a Vision for Life; The Whole Life; How High Can You Go?; Breaking Up Is Hard to Do; The Entrepreneuse; The Parallel Universe.

Women in the workplace, according to Heffernan, are certainly allowed to grow, and make a contribution in the early stages of their careers. But somewhere along the way, they are left to feel like trespassers when they want to get into top management. They are made to feel like gatecrashers. And she suggests that instead of crashing the party, women leave, and start their own party. And this book invites you to join this party, by learning from the participants' experiences. This book is not about complaining, but about the fact that women are problem solvers, and there are many solutions offered in this book which I truly believe you will find useful because it tells it like it is.

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