08 November 2007

Recommended reading

This is a list of books on the subjects of diversity, women in leadership and women in the workplace which I’ve read over the last year or so, and which have really helped increase my understanding of the issues.

I’ll update the list from time to time, and welcome suggestions as to additional titles.

Her Place at the Table - Deborah M Kolb, Judith Williams, Carol Frohlinger
This book is a practical guide for any woman dealing with a demanding role. Drawing on extensive interviews with female leaders, the authors identify five key challenges faced by women in business, and offer tips and advice on the strategic moves that position you for success.

Brilliant Networking - Steven D'Souza
This is subtitled "What the best networkers know, do and say"  and is a handy guide to raising your profile in all areas of life. The author recently spoke at a PwC networking event and his tips and techniques were demonstrated to a room of sceptics who were soon converted to the benefits of his approach.

Hit the Ground Running: A Woman's Guide to Success for the First 100 Days on the Job - Liz Cornish
Liz Cornish,  who first contacted me via this blog,  is an American speaker and management coach, and her book provides a blueprint for women during their initial days in a new role, with guidelines on how to navigate the pitfalls often encountered in the workplace.

Why Women Should Rule the World - Dee Dee Myers
"Just like Dee Dee Myers herself, this jewel of a book is sober minded, funny, and most certainly timely. . . . Myers makes a spirited case that "women power" is the most neglected political recourse in our arid times." - Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Deluge.

You Go Girlfriend - Maureen Frank
Packed with practical advice from a top business woman who has experienced life at the top first hand. Fun, practical and most importantly lets women know they're not alone in facing the complicated juggling act of work, family and life.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office:101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers – Lois P Frankel 
I read this book in 2005, before I started working with the Gender Advisory Council, and have often recommended it to other women since then. Unlike many books on this subject, it addresses issues of “playing the game”, behaviours, thinking, acting and even your appearance in a very practical way.  Each “mistake” (for example - Being Overly Concerned with Offending Others) is outlined, illustrated with examples or a script and then addressed with a series of coaching tips.  It’s very much a work book rather than a theoretical assessment of different gender styles, and so is aimed at women who recognise that their style is both different and may be hindering their advancement.

The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? – Leslie Bennetts
I read this book earlier in 2007 and found it both fascinating and thought provoking.  I’m reminded of its core message every time I hear or read something about women voluntarily giving up their financial independence.  It tackles head-on the issue of women who drop out of the workplace after they have a family (either because they find the juggling act to be too difficult, or because of economic reasons) and makes a series of extremely compelling arguments as to why everyone should remain connected and economically independent. As the cover states:

“Leslie Bennetts tackles … the popular myth that a man is a financial plan.”

Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry – Susan Shapiro Barash
“Tripping the Prom Queen” was recommended to me by a female Partner in PwC US, who referenced it as an example of the way in which women covertly sabotage each other, both personally and professionally. Of all the books referenced here, this is probably the most American in terms of both subject matter and linguistic style (do prom queens even exist outside north America?) but it is still well worth a glance and is insightful about female styles and approaches.

See Jane Lead: 99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work – Lois P Frankel
As with “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office”, Lois P Frankel again focuses on providing tactical solutions and coaching advice to female leaders based on the issue of men and women having different personal styles. Chapter One includes a very interesting and thought provoking self assessment test,  aimed at helping the reader to identify their leadership strengths and opportunities for growth.

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Networking – Carole Stone
This isn’t a gender specific book, but I recommend it because it’s written by the self styled “Britain’s Networking Queen” with whom I was lucky enough to network when she spoke at a PwC UK event a few years ago. She provides some useful communication tips which benefit us all when in a social or corporate environment, particularly if you fall on the Introvert side of the Myers-Briggs scale.

And here are a few more suggestions from colleagues in PwC US:

Brag!  The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It - Peggy Klaus

Trade Up!  Five Steps for Redesigning Your Leadership and Life from the Inside Out - Rayona Sharpnack

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Catalyst have published a book: Creating Women's Networks: A How-To Guide for Women and Companies - published by Jossey-Bass, 1998

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A Women's Place Is In The Boardroom - Peninah Thomson and Jacey Graham.

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PwC are proud to be the Spring 2008 global sponsors of the UK, Canadian and USA launches of Why Women Mean Business - Understanding the Emergence of our Next Economic Revolution - by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox & Alison Maitland.

This book takes the economic arguments for change to the heart of the corporate world.

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