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Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond [Hardcover]

Jane Maas
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Book Description

Feb. 28 2012

"Breezy and salty.” –The New York Times

“Hilarious! Honest, intimate, this book tells it as it was.” –Mary Wells Lawrence, author of A Big Life (In Advertising) and founding president of Wells Rich Greene

“Breezy and engaging [though] …The chief value of Mad Women is the witness it bears for younger women about the snobbery and sexism their mothers and grandmothers endured as the price of entry into mid-century American professional life.” –The Boston Globe

“A real-life Peggy Olson, right out of Mad Men.”  –Shelly Lazarus, Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather

What was it like to be an advertising woman on Madison Avenue in the 60s and 70s – that Mad Men era of casual sex and professional serfdom? A real-life Peggy Olson reveals it all in this immensely entertaining and bittersweet memoir.

Mad Women is a tell-all account of life in the New York advertising world by Jane Maas, a copywriter who succeeded in the primarily male jungle depicted in the hit show Mad Men.  

Fans of the show are dying to know how accurate it is: was there really that much sex at the office? Were there really three-martini lunches? Were women really second-class citizens? Jane Maas says the answer to all three questions is unequivocally “yes.” Her book, based on her own experiences and countless interviews with her peers, gives the full stories, from the junior account man whose wife almost left him when she found the copy of Screw magazine he’d used to find “a date” for a client, to the Ogilvy & Mather’s annual Boat Ride, a sex-and-booze filled orgy, from which it was said no virgin ever returned intact. Wickedly funny and full of juicy inside information, Mad Women also tackles some of the tougher issues of the era, such as unequal pay, rampant, jaw-dropping sexism, and the difficult choice many women faced between motherhood and their careers.



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Review

“You don’t have to identify with Peggy Olson on Mad Men — or even know who she is — to appreciate Jane Maas’s Mad Women… [a] breezy and salty memoir.” –The New York Times

"A witty, personal account of the 'real life Peggy Olson.'" —The LA Times

“One woman looks back at a time when the proposition that sex sells was just catching on, and, thanks to martinis, overflowing ashtrays, and the pill, propositions were all the rage.”Town & Country

"A dishy memoir about the drinking, sex, smoking and sexism that make that era in the industry ... so fascinating." —New York Post

“How authentic is Peggy Olson, the young secretary-turned-copywriter on Mad Men? Very real, judging from the fun memoir Mad Women by Jane Maas, a real-life Olson…. Mad Women isn't a straightforward memoir or companion book to the show. It's more a witty, impressionistic whirl through 1960s Manhattan… Fans of the show will see echoes of the fictional Sterling Cooper ad men in Maas' real-life colleagues. Maas is a great storyteller, and Mad Women stands enough on its own that even those who have never seen the TV show can enjoy the book…. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner could probably find a few good plots in the changes that Maas notes have so far escaped Sterling Cooper.” –The Hollywood Reporter

“Breezy and engaging [though] …The chief value of Mad Women is the witness it bears for younger women about the snobbery and sexism their mothers and grandmothers endured as the price of entry into mid-century American professional life.” –The Boston Globe

“A bracing and consistently engaging look at the realities behind the fetishized nostalgia of Mad Men.  Funny and informative, with the kick of a dry martini.” --Kirkus Reviews

"As a female copywriter in the 1960s, Jane Maas lived the Mad Men experience. In her new book, she tells us what really went on in those Madison Avenue towers. As you would expect, there was a lot of sex and scandal, but there was also so much more...She tells her story – the ups and the downs – with a sense of humor and honesty that is both refreshing and fun.... A vivid image of a woman determined to succeed against the odds, of the industry in which she thrives, and of the era in which her tale begins." --San Francisco Book Review

“Sex, money, liquor… and inspiration.  All the ingredients of Mad Men are present in Jane Maas’s account of her career in 60s Manhattan.” –The Observer (UK)

“Hilarious! Honest, intimate, this book tells it as it was.” -- Mary Wells Lawrence, author of A Big Life (In Advertising) and founding president of Wells Rich Greene

“I think of Jane Maas as a real-life Peggy Olsen. When I started at Ogilvy & Mather in 1971, a lowly Account Executive, she was already a creative director. She took me under her wing and taught me a lot about creative work that sells. Mad Women made me laugh. It also made me nostalgic for those legendary days when David Ogilvy roamed the corridors exhorting us all to come up with BIG IDEAS. And the book made me think again about working women. Jane reminds us that the challenge of being a good wife, a nurturing mother and a successful professional, all at the same time, still remains. In this respect, we are all Mad Women.” – Shelly Lazarus, Chairman of Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide

"In the Mad Men TV show, the males are depicted as shtupping their secretaries as they drink and smoke themselves to death, with nary a female copywriter in sight. In this damn funny book, the talented Jane Maas, who lived through those days of struggle and sometimes humiliation, tells it like it really was." – George Lois, Legendary Ad Man

“The funniest book I’ve read since From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.” --Jerry Della Femina, chairman and CEO of Della Femina Advertising and author of the best-selling From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor

“Truth is more fascinating than fiction. Maas tells the fascinating truth about mad men and the women in their boardrooms and bedrooms who juggled work, husbands and children successfully – and had as much fun doing it as you will reading about it.” – Anne Tolstoi Maslon, former ad woman and author of Women’s Work, Private Scores, and Trials

“I thought I knew a lot about the advertising business, but Jane Maas gives us a unique peephole into the inner workings of Madison Avenue. Mad Women is a candid insider’s view of the women--and men--who made modern advertising and what drove them. Great reading.” -- Bob Liodice, CEO, Association of National Advertisers

“Maas’s humorous yet authoritative account of her life in advertising during the Mad Men era is a welcome look behind the curtain into a traditionally male world… Maas mixes personal stories with advertising history, making this a compelling read.” –Publishers Weekly

“Part respectful homage to a glamorous and golden age, part good gossip over lunch at 21, Mad Women proves that behind every man’s career, another successful woman is pedaling even faster to get where she is today.” --BookPage

“Don’t be misled by the title: this book is far more than an overdue antidote to the fantasy ad world of Mad Men: under the guise of a Madison Avenue memoir, Jane Maas slips in a shrewd and witty first-hand sociocultural history of America in the sixties and the seventies from a woman’s point of view. A smart, funny, irreverent woman.” – Bruce McCall, New Yorker writer and cover illustrator

“I read Mad Women in one delicious gulp. This is a terrific book, full of humor and information about the Mad Men - - and women - - of the world of the 1960s. Written by Jane Maas, one of the great ladies of advertising.” --Patricia Bosworth, author of  Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

“Jane Maas nails the story of the early “mad women” in advertising.  I know.  I lived the story at two different agencies.  Yes, there was all of that sex at the office. Yes, there were three-martini lunches – sometimes with a chaser of brandy or crème de menthe or drambuie.  (I still have a headache.) But would I do it all over again?   Absolutely.  Those years were a gas, captured perfectly by Jane Maas’s funny and bittersweet book.” --Linda Bird Francke

“Jane Maas has written a book about advertising that isn’t just for advertising people, although God knows they will find it fascinating. So will fans of Mad Men, who can compare the real thing with the TV series. Women of all ages will see themselves in its pages. Most of all, Mad Women is for anyone curious about what life was like in another century - - before computers, before cell phones, before equality.” -- Laurel Cutler, groundbreaking futurist, 2011 inductee Advertising Hall of Fame

About the Author

JANE MAAS began her career at Ogilvy & Mather as a copywriter in 1964 and rose to become a creative director and agency officer. Ultimately, she became president of a New York agency. A Matrix Award winner and an Advertising Woman of the Year, she is best known for her direction of the “I Love New York” campaign. She is the author of Adventures of an Advertising Woman and co-author of the classic How to Advertise, which has been translated into 17 languages.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Mad Men Sept. 14 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being a huge fan of the series Mad Men, I thought it would be fascinating to get a women's point of view from someone who has actually lived it. This book will NOT disappoint. It is a quick and easy read with some eye-openers and insights into Madison Avenue from a women's perspective. It also describes signifcant attitudes toward working women in the 60s. Well worth the read, especially if you are fascinated by the infancy of the world of advertising.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  110 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard to believe but very, very true Dec 14 2011
By Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Over the years I've read a number of books about advertising, including those by Jane Trahey and Jane Maas. Today's it's hard to believe the world Maas evokes, where account executives were mistaken for secretaries and women humbly accepted lower pay for the same (or superior) work.

If you're old enough to remember, the book will evoke painful memories. I remember talking to women who calmly acknowledged they were paid less for their work but at least they got a foot in the door. "Do women hold those jobs?" was a common question all through the 1970s and even early 1980s.

Maas brings back those times with wit and convincing detail. I'm not sure how younger women will resonate with the book. I had trouble putting it down.

For a visual equivalent, buy or rent the movie, The Best of Everything, by Rona Jaffe, and stay for the writer's comments. Not only did these women put up with inequality, they did so while wearing uncomfortable suits with "hose and heels." Some wore girdles. Panyhouse appeared in the very late 1960s and weren't popular till the 1970s.

A good book for your favorite Mad Men fan or anyone who likes to study advertising.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mad Women- Not All That Mad Dec 7 2011
By Kindred - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When I was a little girl watching Bewitched, I decided that one day I was going to own my own advertising agency. I could write copy and storyboard concepts that Darrin couldn't begin to imagine. Oh yes, I would be a generally awesome business person (with a fabulous London Fog trench coat with matching umbrella, but I digress). Then I grew up. Life got in the way, not to mention being told many times that I sure did have big dreams for such a little girl... I happened to be in my twenties at the time.

So, I was happy to read a memoir written by a woman who managed to succeed where I stumbled. Not only that, she did it a decade earlier than my attempts. I looked forward to hearing about the process, the battles, the hits and misses. Well, I got a few. The author went at this project focused on comparing her experiences to the TV show Madmen. Unfortunately for me I haven't been watching Madmen. Fortunately for me it seems that the writers follow the basic trope of standardized TV characterization so I could follow along fairly easily.

But I was expecting more. Yes, there was sex and drinking and even (gasp!) cigarette smoking. And those of us of a certain age aren't going to be shocked by the chauvinism here. I doubt any of us came through that era unscathed but frankly, Ms. Maas got through less scathed than the `average girl'. That's probably not a popular opinion, but I call `em as I see `em. And she does freely admit that she would not have survived without her housekeeper/nanny/all around extra family member who was with the family for many years. Not to mention her husband who supported her in all the best connotations of the word.

The last portion of this slim collection does deal with the myth that women can have it all. You can as long as you have plenty of help, understanding employers, and don't mind a heaping helping of daily guilt.

Maybe in another fifty years women will find a way to have it all. But for now, if you feel as if you're the only one drowning, you should read this and breathe a sigh of relief. Just make it a short sigh; dinner's not going to make itself.
Yet.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal March 3 2012
By Steven Lance - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Forget "Mad Men," Jane's book is The Real Deal. She names names. She tells it like we all knew it really was. Shame on us for our neanderthal attitude towards women - and brava to brave women like Jane who were willing to play by rules that worked for her - while accepting (but still challenging) the realities of The Boys Club.

It was people like Jane who inspired me to go into advertising - and people like her who taught me to be a mensch. Maybe not as quickly as I should have, but the end result is that I honestly believe I'm a better person for it. Advertising as a business is generally on the cutting edge of market trends...and as women rose to their rightful place at the table (side-by-side and sometimes above) their male peers, it was our industry that was one of the few to break the glass ceiling.

If you've never been inside advertising, this is a must-read. The true story of what it was like in the era of Mad Men. If you were (or are) in advertising, you'll love the honesty, integrity and heartfelt walk down memory lane.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect companion to Mad Men March 22 2012
By Diane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
If you want to get in the mood for the return of Mad Men this Sunday, pick up a copy of Jane Maas' memoir of life on Madison Ave. in the 1960s. She is a real-life Peggy Olson, who worked her way up the ladder from copywriter to creative director to eventually owner of her own advertising agency.

Maas worked for advertising guru David Ogilvy at his agency, and her descriptions of life on Madison Avenue-the constant cigarette smoking, drinking at work and office sex- validate the writers of Mad Men. She has some amusing anecdotes, but as one of the few working mothers at Ogilvy, her observations about working when most of the other moms stayed home with their children are informative. Her older daughter, four years senior to the younger daughter, recalled all the things her mother missed, but the younger daughter was proud to have a working mom.

Jane's husband Michael was an enlightened man who fully supported his wife's career. And then there is Mabel, the woman who lived with the family during the week and cared for the children and the household. Without Mabel, Jane would not have been able to have a career. What did working mothers who did not have the money to afford a caretaker do back then? Daycare was not an option.

Maas interviewed other women who worked in advertising to get their observations. One thing I found interesting was that at one agency, when the women got promoted from secretary to copywriter, they started wearing their hats in the office- all day. It was "a badge. It proclaimed that you were no longer a secretary." The male copywriters had their own private dining room, but the women couldn't eat there. They were served lunch at their desks by their secretaries. And they ate with their hats on.

Maas was a key person on one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever, the I Love New York campaign. I found this section of the book utterly fascinating. Maas worked closely with Governor Hugh Carey, and he was so impressed with her work, he asked her to plan his wedding, although she had never done anything like that before.

Leona Helmsley, the so-called Queen of Mean, offers to back Maas in an agency of her own, and that turns out to be a big mistake. Helmsley offers to introduce Maas to her important friends and to help make her agency a huge success, but in the end, she treated Maas as poorly as she treated most people who worked for her. Helmsley is larger-than-life and not in a good way. Let's just say everything you have ever heard about her is true and then some.

Mad Women is a fabulous look at what it was like to work in a mostly-male domain of advertising in the 1960s. Maas is a terrific writer, and being a copywriter, she knows how to say a lot with a few words, and make those few words have a punch. It's the perfect book to get you in the mood for the start of season five of Mad Men.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY, AN "F". MEMOIR-WRITING, AN "A" March 15 2012
By Tom Messner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Page 136. "Lemon" was not the first DDB Volkswagen ad as Mrs. Maas purports. But "Lemon" was clearly the advertising headline of the century. The first DDB VW ad was "Think small" in which the Beetle was not pictured at the bottom of the ad in the Maas description, but rather in the top left. But ironies of ironies for a book that purports to lioness-ize ad women of the 60s, Mrs. Maas misses the fact that the headline "Lemon" was written by a woman, Rita Selden.
But after flunking history, Jane Maas does deliver a great memoir of an educated woman married to a successful architect in mid-century who raises two children
while succeedlng as a copywriter at two very successful agencies with very competitive atmospheres: Ogilyy and Wells Rich Greene. The most affecting story she tells actually is the relationship between her, her family, and the nanny she hired who herself comes out as a great heroine of the Mad Women Era along with Jane.
This is a quick read and as a companion piece to Andrew Cracknall's history of the period, works and is worth the time.
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