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The President's Picks

Stack of Books

I admit, I buy more books than I actually have time to read, but here is a list of my current favorite books, magazines, and national organizations to follow. Check back for periodic updates. Send me your recommendations.

BOOKS

Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work and in Life By Cathie Black (2007)
Don’t assume that this book should only be read by women seeking the corner office, just because Ms. Black is an accomplished corporate President herself. Her advice is down to earth and applicable for professional women at every level in an organization. I found myself wanting to apply for a job at Hearst Magazines just to work with Cathie Black. She’s the smart, insightful, and funny mentor that we all wish we had.
Harvard Business Review on Women in Business – from the HBR Paperback series (2005).

This book is a compilation of eight articles originally published in Harvard Business Review (HBR). I have not seen a more recent release of this book, but I continue to find articles relevant to women’s issues periodically in HBR.

For additional articles visit www.hbr.com. and search for author Sylvia Ann Hewlett. Dr. Hewlett, the founding president for the Center for Work-Life Policy, has written several outstanding articles on issues facing working women. Most notably, Dr. Hewlett co-authored a HBR Research Report titled "The Hidden Brain Drain" which explores the disturbing trend of large numbers of qualified women dropping out of mainstream careers.

How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business Success By Margaret Heffernan (2007).
This book is at the very top of my "try to find-time to read this" list. Heffernan, a five time CEO herself, articulates what it means to lead from a female perspective better than any other book I’ve ever read. She interviewed hundreds of women entrepreneurs and she shares her observations of them in this brilliantly written book. You will be inspired and proud to be the best female leader you can be after reading her book.
Leadership – inspire, liberate, achieve By Tom Peters (2005)
Thank you, Tom Peters! A business woman could never be as brazenly pro-female as Mr. Peters is, without facing enormous criticism. It’s worth picking up this book for Chapter 3 alone. Where else can you read one of the top management gurus of our time make statements like "As leaders, women rule," "Fire all male salespeople," and "Tomorrow belongs to women."
Play Like A Man Win Like A Woman By Gail Evans (2000).
For a long time I avoided this book simply because the title seemed to contradict my own philosophy about working women. When I finally read it, I felt an immediate connection with Gail Evans. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of the issues facing working women comes across loud and clear. Evans does an excellent job of explaining how and why men behave the way they do in business. This kind of insight and understanding into the male psyche is very helpful to working women.
Why Women Should Rule the World By Dee Dee Myers (2008).
The title of this book alone should be enough to make you want to buy it. While the content is definitely heavy on political references, Myers delivers her message in a refreshingly humble and humorous way. Her story of life as President Bill Clinton’s Press Secretary is a perfect example of how bright and outwardly successful women still struggle behind the scenes to gain the respect and acceptance they deserve in a male-dominated work environment.
Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It By Cali Ressler and Jody Thomspon (2008)
This book tells the story of the Results-Only-Work-Environment (ROWE) established by the authors at Best Buy. It is a persuasive account of what can happen when a corporate culture shifts to caring more about results than time spent at the office. ROWE is a dream-come-true for high achieving working women who can out perform their colleagues, but can’t compete with them on office “face time.” The authors do a great job of demonstrating how an organization that has the right cultural fit for you can have enormous impact on both your success and your sanity.

A WORD ABOUT BOOKS TARGETING WORKING MOMS

There are a number of books written specifically for working moms. They have very catchy titles and colorful covers. I own quite a few of them. The problem I have with most of them is that the tone of the book is either too light-hearted (as in witty with no substance), too touchy-feely (as in therapy with a group hug) or too heavy-hearted (as in emotional anguish for the working women who longs to be home with their children).

While these scenarios may accurately depict the experience of some working moms, it does not reflect my own. For that reason, I do not have many books to recommend in this category, but I’ve listed one, and I continue to look for others.

How She Really Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-At-Work Moms By Wendy Sachs. 2005.

Sachs, a highly accomplished writer, successful freelance television producer, and working mom delivers an important message in this book: Work is good for women, from our heads to our souls! She combines relevant statistics, references from the literature and her own personal experience into one humorous and poignant book that I think all working moms would enjoy.

Be careful not to confuse this book with "How She Does It." Both are on this recommended reading list, but this one is specifically for working moms and the other one is not.

MAGAZINES

Books are fantastic, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of a quick, easy-to-read magazine. Who doesn’t grab a couple magazines for the airplane when you’re headed out on a business trip?

  1. Pink
    UPDATE AS OF 7/29/09:I received my copy of Pink magazine yesterday along with a cover note letting me know this would be the final issue of Pink. Shoot! I'm both surprised and disappointed. This was a great magazine for professional women! I don't know of anything else like it, but if you do, please let me know. Pink is continuing with their daily e-note which you can subscribe to on their website at www.pinkmagazine.com .
  2. Working Mother
    For years I’ve subscribed to Working Mother magazine and if you’re a working mom, I suggest you get a subscription, too. Twelve issue per year are available at www.workingmother.com. The content is sometimes less career-focused and more mom-focused than I’d like it to be, but I always feel re-connected to working moms when I’m done reading it.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

  1. Catalyst (www.catalyst.org)
    • Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. If you are not familiar with their work yet, you’ll want to be.

    • Membership is at the organizational, not the individual level.

  2. NAFE (www.Nafe.com)
    • The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) was founded in 1972. The organization has a rich history of providing education, networking, and public advocacy to empower its members to achieve career success and financial security. Members are female executives, women business owners, and others who are committed to NAFE's mission: the advancement of women in the workplace.

    • Individual membership gives you access to a biweekly e-newsletter and other NAFE publications.