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on March 17, 2004
This book has been all that I hoped for and more. The book, in a nutshell, basically says that to get ahead in life, in career, in everything, women need to stop acting like little girls.
Replete with examples from Ms. Frankel's consulting clients, this book gives practical, no-holds-barred evaluations of such behaviours as feeding people at the office, working too hard, asking questions instead of making statements, and "asking permission." That last was a revelation to me.
As Ms. Frankel points out, we are all raised in a society that says you should get proper approvals before taking a step---any step. But men learn when to ask and when to just go ahead. Men learn how to apply the rubric "It's easier to get forgiveness than to get permission." Ms. Frankel pointes out that children, not adults, ask for permission to do perfectly rational things. I had never considered how detrimental to my career the habit of asking permission had been. But I decided to give Ms. Frankel's suggestions a try. I went to my boss and said, "I cannot come in on Friday." My boss looked nonplussed. I was petrified, but proud. I had done it. I had Made A Statement instead of Seeking Approval. And he didn't demur. He said, "Okay," and we went on with the day.
If you are feeling frustrated by the glass ceiling, if you feel stuck and can't figure out why you can't get further in your career ambitions (and if you're a female), this book is definitely worth the investment. It opened my eyes to things I did that I never even thought about, things that presented an image of an incompetent child---not a competent, composed, and capable woman. My image is now improving, and yours can too.
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on April 20, 2004
My wife brought this book home and I took a peek. Yes, this author hits the nail on the head. Women in the workplace too often look for approval from others and when they don't do something right, apologize too quickly. Guys are naturally competitive and don't expect apologies. We're into using strengths and opportunities to the max as we move forward. If you are looking to others for approval, this book is for you. For the mental software to be your best and how to make the most of any personal or work situation, read Optimal Thinking: How To Be Your Best Self. When you use Optimal Thinking, you optimize yourself, others and your results regardless of your gender or your circumstances.
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Men are men. Women are women. Right? The matter of gender is easy enough to establish, but in Lois P. Frankel's book, "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers" we learn there are underlying mores and premises to follow if women want to be at the top of a company. These rules are unspoken, but Frankel demystifies the process by which some women hurt their success by playing into the cultural roles prescribed to them growing up.

Frankel presumes most women grew up in a home that oppresses women from growing up into full adults. What may have been true for 1954 is not as true today. However, her challenge is still with merit, and in 2004, it crosses the gender barrier. e men should be taking notes from Frankel. There are plenty of little boys among us who need to work as men.

"Rosie the Riveter" ads during WWII encouraged women into the workplace, but often as factory and shipyard works. There was no "Annie the Accountant" or "Sally the CEO" campaigns. Being all you can be means being more than you were as a child. Frankel helps show how women can be more than little girls in the office place, and garner success as a result.

It is important to note that as much as this is an important book for women who esteem to be seen as professional should read, men also should read it. Not every man has reached his potential, and some fall to the same problems, in a masculine variation, as do some women. Fear, exhibited through the lack of initiative and an overborne, unnecessary kindness, holds many people back.

Objective, straightforwardness is much of what Frankel asserts.

Being professional doesn't mean you need to convert into a stomping intimidator, but it does mean being firm, not wincing when rejection is forthcoming, and thinking about more than immediate relationships. It is about getting the job done well, in concert with others, but never becoming weak while doing it all. You have expertise. You have training. You have what it takes.

Although Frankel is a professional coach, her book itself shows a coach is not needed. You need to be in control of your career, without worrying about the next person. Retain your ethics, your integrity and your aplomb, but it is your job to lead the way through your professional life. No parents, no coach, no friends are responsible for this.

I fully recommend "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers"
by Lois P. Frankel. Follow it up with the classic Dale Carnegie book, "How To Win Friends And Influence People," to learn the other side of the professional relationship balance.

Anthony Trendl
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on February 23, 2004
The only complaint I have about this book is the title. This is a great eye-opener for anyone who is stuck or wants to get further. Dr. Frankel's advice was so right on for me. I've always felt politics was a dirty word and thought just working hard was enough. Silly me! I promise, this isn't just about "girls!"
Stan B.
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on May 28, 2009
Who it's for: If you've ever slaved away like a little ant hoping to get noticed, while Dave seems to spend half his day chatting to the boss - and still gets all the good assignments, then this book is for you.

There are 7 sections covering everything from politics to personal branding to how we communicate. Read it cover to cover or simply pick it up, review one of the 101 `mistakes' discussed and ponder.

And while I disagree with some of the suggestions, I could not agree more with the core message - that success comes not from acting like a man, but by acting like a woman instead of a girl.

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For more than two decades, Frankel has been advising women to recognize and then stop making various "unconscious mistakes" which have sabotaged their careers and (probably) many of their personal relationships as well. However, the fact remains that countless men as well as women have made the same mistakes and suffered from the same consequences. True, even throughout U.S. history, society has assigned quite different stereotypical roles to men and women. Perhaps not until World War II, for example, were most women allowed to combine full-time employment with marriage and/or parenthood. Even then, many of the women relinquished their jobs to men after the war ended. They, their daughters, and their granddaughters were again strongly encouraged to accept the role of a subordinate, deferential, compliant, cooperative, "Stepford-ish" role in the home, in the community, and even in the workplace.
"Attempts to act counter to this socialized role are met with ridicule, disapproval and scorn." Frankel goes on to observe, "Whether it was Mom's message -- 'Boys don't like girls who are too loud.' -- or, in response to any angry outburst, a spouse's messages -- 'What's the matter? Is it that time of month?' -- women are continually bombarded. with negative reinforcement for acting in any manner contrary to what they were taught in girlhood. As a result, they learn that acting like a 'good girl' is less painful than than assuming more appropriate behavior for adult women (and totally acceptable for boys and adult men.)" Two reactions to that brief excerpt: First, my own experience suggests that Frankel's observations were more true 10-15 years ago than they are today. Also, finally (!), we are beginning to appreciate the full value and substantial benefits of what Daniel Goleman calls "emotional intelligence" in the workplace: nurturing associates, building consensus, empathy, expressing feelings as well as ideas, etc. Traditionally, these values have been more associated with women than with men. With the decline of the "command and control" management style, in combination with Free Agency (which was in great part a response to that style), males as well as females are expected to develop emotional intelligence.
There are two other societal phenomena worthy of note: The increasing number of two-income households and the increasing number of single-parent families. The former requires a different division of labor, of tasks once viewed as gender-specific; the latter requires one adult to be both mother and father. These two phenomena have done much to invalidate the "role" which Frankel's describes in the brief excerpt. I also want to suggest again, that Eleanor Roosevelt's statement which Frankel quotes ("No one can make you feel inferior without your consent") is as relevant to males as it is to females. As the enormous sales of books written by the Twin Doctors (McCraw and Schlesinger) and others have clearly demonstrated, males as well as females are eager -- many even desperate -- for guidance on how to find greater meaning and fulfillment, great joy and satisfaction in their personal as well as professional lives. Self really does matter.
Frankel's sensible advice on how to avoid or correct various "unconscious mistakes" does NOT preclude being a lady or a gentleman. On the contrary, as presumably she would agree, the most highly respected and admired executives are -- by nature or of necessity -- polite, thoughtful, sensitive, and considerate persons. Why? Organizations today heavily depend upon effective human as well as electronic networks. Those human networks are based on trust and comprised of women as well as men, led by those who possess qualities of character and temperament once associated almost entirely with women.
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on February 24, 2004
I loved "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office!" I've been in the workplace for over 30 years, struggling with making myself be heard and taken seriously, especially by men. Dr. Frankel hits the nail on the head with so many of her suggestions! As a woman raised during the 50's, many of the messages I received about how to act in order to succeed, especially in corporations, need to be altered. I particularly related to the following points: "Worry Less About Being Liked", "Never Ask Permission" and "Apologize Sparingly". These speak directly to personal issues for me and by having Dr. Frankel's book on my desk to remind me, its helping me to change some of these very
deeply rooted behaviors. A Must Read for women, especially those who've been around for a few years!
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on March 14, 2004
Thank you Ms. Frankel! One more important point to add: In the climb to the corner office, keep in mind that you never, ever get a second chance to make a first impression. Women show far too much humility about their talents, skills and accomplishments. If we want people to value us, we must first show that we value ourselves - by making sure our accomplishments are visible to targeted audiences. If we want people to hire us, promote us, buy from us, and invest in our companies, they have to know who we are, what we have accomplished and why they should have us on their teams! Self-promotion is a valuable business tool that careerwomen must add to their strategies for success. (Review by: Marion E. Gold, award-winning author of "Personal Publicity Planner: A Guide to Marketing YOU."
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on February 24, 2004
Don't be put off by this title! This book addresses the adult woman in the workplace. This is a read by an author who clearly has made her own way in the world of work and has helped many other women to do the same.
Practical, insightful, down to earth and real. This book is for grown up women who want to stop self-defeating behaviors and embrace the freedom of being the completely competent, powerful, fun person they are.
I'll never cry in the workplace again. I'll never again feel I'm asking for too much by simply being clear about what's needed to complete a project .
This is a book for the bedside table and for the top of your desk.
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on March 17, 2004
How to undo years of socialization of gender roles while working in business? This is a dilemma that women are facing as they push on the glass ceiling. What if the glass ceiling were as much self-created as part of corporate culture? These are some of the issues that Lois Frankel attempts to address in "Nice Girls."
Her analysis of gender training (such as Nice Girls Aren't Loud) are pretty much what I heard as a child. Yet...what a delicate line women must walk, as being tough is interpreted as bitchiness instead of hard-headed business savvy. So here's the problem; Frankel advises worrying less about being liked, advises apologizing sparingly -- not profusely and frequently, but that isn't the same as permission to have a take-no-prisoners attitude. While occasionally being disliked is going to be hard on women who work cooperatively and not in a hierarchical manner, Frankel explains why niceness may short-circuit the path to a deserved top spot.
While Frankel's book has excellent advice about avoiding subtle but destructive body language and practices like apologizing and making declarative statements into questions, as well as failing to blow one's own horn as needed, there are other books that explain the male-dominated playing field such as "Hardball for Women." It's not enough to understand our own failures to mesh into a world where men pretty much make the rules, it's also important to understand the rules thoroughly. "Rules favor the rulemakers, and when they don't, the rules are changed." Look at the troubles of Carly Fiorina and the attitudes towards Martha Stewart to see some of the pitfalls that can trap someone while following the advice in Frankel's book without understanding all the rules or new rules of behavior.
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