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Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) Paperback – September 9, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
—Meg Whitman, President & CEO, eBay Inc.
"Bravo for Basic Black! After reading this book, I understand more than ever why Cathie Black is the huge success she is today. She’s totally fearless! She shares her triumphs, but perhaps best of all, she shares her mistakes so that we can learn from them. I love her candor. Whether you're starting your career or going full throttle, you will benefit from Cathie's insights into business--and life. Basic Black is a true must-read.
—Gayle King, editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine
"I’m a big Cathie Black fan–in part because we both believe that where you come from in no way determines where you can get to. If you think it, you can create it.Cathie’s career is living proof of that and her experiences, both professional and personal, make for fascinating reading. The life lessons in these pages are smart, true, and reassuring, no matter where you are in your career."
—Suze Orman, author of Women and Money and The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom
"Cathie Black is exactly the kind of mentor every woman needs: a talented executive at the top of her game willing to tell it like it really is. Imagine having a private lunch with one of the most powerful women in business, and then feast on her wonderful book. Basic Black is among the very best insider accounts of how to succeed as a leader."
—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and author of Confidence and America the Principled
"Cathie Black demystifies the workplace with her typical brand of pragmatic insight and engaging humor. Basic Black provides a practical guide to the traits we see demonstrated by our greatest leaders at GE---passion, drive, attitude, risk taking, and the ability to nurture and develop great talent. I had fun reading Basic Black, and thought to myself...This is someone I would like to work for."
—Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE
"As every woman needs basic black in her wardrobe, she also needs Basic Black on her bookshelf. This is the perfect handbook on getting ahead while staying true to yourself."
—Donna Karan, Designer
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Some of Black's anecdotes about her rise to the top were memorable -- most notably the one in which she very publicly gives one of her superiors a giant tomato from her garden, in order to make an impression on him.
But Black doesn't succeed in turning the anecdote into a lesson. It's just a story about a stunt she pulled to publicize herself -- and in the telling, it comes off as a lame stunt at that. (She also kept referring to the tomato as a "vegetable," which drove me nuts.)
Oddly enough, a few chapters later, she talks about a hopeful interviewee who sent her a four-foot-tall potted plant as a thank-you gift. Black makes fun of the gift and advises against readers doing something similar. I don't get it. Why is it clever for Black to go to a big meeting and give somebody a giant tomato, but it's stupid for a potential new hire to send Black a large plant?
Basic Black is full of muddles like this. In another anecdote, Black talks about the first executive resort getaway she organized after joining Hearst. She tells us that she booked the getaway at a Florida resort that was "not your father's resort," and yet she doesn't give other details to show why the place was so different, special, and fabulous. She does mention that the decor features sweeping floor-to-ceiling draperies.
Later, she describes making a speech to the Hearst execs, and makes a big deal about her rallying cry of, "It's time to shake the dust off the curtains at Hearst!" At which point, she gestured to the resort's big curtains.
Uh, OK. So that was it? You pointed at the curtains, AND...?Read more ›
Cathie Black did all that. The difference between her and the yutz who regales his friends with his stupidity over brewskis at the corner tap is that Cathie Black is the CEO of Hearst Magazines --- and that she tells this story on herself at the start of her book. Right away you know: This is not a woman who has airbrushed her career.
I can personally testify to that. Over the years, I have spoken at Hearst conferences and flirted with employment at Hearst, and my conversations with Cathie Black have been models of clear communication. She states her position or asks her question, listens attentively, and follows up --- she's the walking example of a "New York minute." But she's not a chilly corporate nun. She gets the joke: Magazines may help you better your life, they may divert you from your cares, they may even help you figure out how to dispose of your disposable income, but they do not cure cancer. And so, when I picture Cathie Black, I think equally of her blunt-as-a-bullet approach to business and her quick, warm laugh.
Those qualities come through in this book, which is, above all, a virtual mentoring campaign. That benevolent sharing is crucial, for Black believes every woman who hopes for a successful, rewarding career needs a mentor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book: “Basic Black – The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)” by Cathie Black
Book Review by Mary Mikawoz
Cathie Black has done amazing... Read more
If you enjoy reading autobiographies and learning from the journey of others you will enjoy Ms. Black's story. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Marlene Green
This is a very personal book. The reader either like it or dislike it.
If you are looking for extraordinary ideas or a quick elixir you will be disappointed. Read more
My dad bought this book for me when it came out which was a few years after I graduated college and moved out. I remember reading it and enjoying it thoroughly. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Rinlyn