Read This Book!

The hardback was published in 2005; the softback this year. I unflinchingly anoint it a “Top 5” biz book for the last couple of years. Namely: Naked in the Boardroom, by entrepreneur and wildly successful BigCo exec Robin Wolaner. It is by far (assuming I know the turf, which I think I pretty much do) the best book on strategy and tactics for women aiming to make it big in business—big biz or entrepreneurial biz. Moreover, I think any male—myself included, at age 63—can learn an enormous amount from this book.

Consider this fast start (pps xi and xii): “While today you enter the workforce believing that you can have any position to which you aspire, you are still told to put on a business face, to make decisions based on analysis instead of personal beliefs and gut instincts, and, especially, to leave your emotions behind when you enter the office. Let’s face it: The message is that to succeed, you should be more like men.

“That’s wrong. …

“The lessons I learned in business all point to one broad truth: Success follows when you use what you’ve got. You will succeed because of, not in spite of, your personal traits. The trick is to make your aptitude and flair work for you in a style that is uniquely yours.”

Chapter 1, and what’s not to love about it, is titled: “Hey Carly, It’s Different Being a Woman.” The start: “When Carly Fiorina was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard, her insistence that being female was not part of her success story struck every woman I know as either delusional or a lie.”

Ms Wolaner organizes the easy-to-read & anecdote-filled book around a series of “Naked Truths” that appear throughout the book. The First: “NAKED TRUTH # 1: Sometimes it’s better to be a female in business, sometimes it’s worse, but it’s rarely the same.”

Then: “NAKED TRUTH # 2: Business is personal.”

“NAKED TRUTH # 5: Viva la difference. When being a female is an advantage, use it.”

“NAKED TRUTH # 9: Showing honest emotion usually helps you in the workplace.”

“NAKED TRUTH # 12: Before worrying overly about your job’s lack of challenge—and certainly before complaining about it—concentrate on delivering.”

On it goes, through “NAKED TRUTH # 80: The time to arrange credit is when you don’t need to borrow.”

Callow youth, top dog, besieged entrepreneur, F or M, this book is a keeper!