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Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians Paperback – April 11, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (April 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060731222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060731229
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A different take on people issues that corporations face is proffered by Hyun, a former human resources executive who knows the subject well. After all, she points out, Asian Americans are growing 41 percent faster than any other demographic group yet hold only 12.5 percent of U.S. management positions. What underlies those startling statistics is one word: culture. Eastern values are almost diametrically opposed to Western. Asians are risk averse, for instance, preferring to keep their heads down rather than speak up or confront workplace issues. That emphasis on collective decision making and conflict avoidance hinders career advancement, at best, and, at worst, can derail future vocational choices. Hyun's help is multiple, from individual profiles and skill-defining exercises to interviewing and mentoring tips, all geared to the special needs of people growing up Asian in a very macho, aggressive culture. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“A well-written, easy to read and thorough compendium for every Asian who wants to move up the ladder.” (Susan RoAne, the nation's undisputed networking expert, keynote speaker and author of How To Create Your Own Luck and How To Work a Room)

“[This] is the book Asian Americans in the workplace have needed for decades.” (Paul Tokunaga, author of Invitation to Lead: Guidance for Emerging Asian American Leaders)

Hyun’s help is multiple... Enlightening—and very necessary. (Booklist)

“A useful guide for anyone seeking advice on how to get ahead in business.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“An important book for anyone hoping the make that career move…and realize his full professional potential.” (Korea Times)

“Should be required reading for both Asian and non-Asian readers.” (Dennis Ling, Senior Vice President, Global Finance and Treasurer, Avon Products, Inc.)

“Jane shows how cultural values can adversely impact workplace behavior, and provides tips for overcoming those differences.” (Kate Wendleton, President, The Five O'Clock Club, a national career coaching and outplacement organization, and author of Targeting a Great Career, among other books)

“This much-needed work ... will be hugely valuable to anyone who’s interested in achieving cultural fluency in the workplace.” (Patrice A. Hall, Managing Director and Head of Diversity, JPMorganChase)

“Jane Hyun confronts the dilemma of how to be an Asian in America...a truly valuable and insightful resource.” (J.D. Hokoyama, President and CEO, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP))

“Powerful ... Hyun presents valuable strategic and tactical next steps that Asian professionals can implement to advance their careers.” (Philip Berry, Vice President, Global Workplace Initiatives, Colgate-Palmolive)

“A clear, straightforward guide to easing cultural barriers between Asian Americans and their non-Asian counterparts.” (Luke Visconti, Partner/Cofounder, DiversityInc.)

“Knowing yourself and the values that you hold are integral steps to developing leadership competencies... A must read .” (Jim Loehr, Principal, LGE Performance Systems, author of Power of Full Engagement, and creator of the Corporate Athlete Training System)

“Provocative, thoughtful, and engaging ... offers insights and strategies for all persons of Asian descent striving for career advancement and success.” (Diane Yu, Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President, New York University)

“I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is committed to diversity and inclusion.” (Dr. Johnnetta Cole, President, Bennett College for Women)

“Read this book and find out how best to manage your career in today’s multicultural workplace.” (Kyung H. Yoon, Vice Chair, Heidrick and Struggles)

“(Empowers) individuals to take charge of their careers and gives them the tools to navigate the corporate structure.” (David Chu, Founder and former President and CEO, Nautica, Inc.)

“(Gives) a set of maps to define, measure and envision professional lives... Hyun reveals truths that often remain unspoken.” (Phoebe Eng, Creative Director, The Opportunity Agenda and author, Warrior Lessons: An Asian American Woman's Journey into Power)

“Inspiring and engaging! Every Asian professional and student, (and) anyone who works with them, should read this book.” (Jino Ahn, President and Founder, Asian Diversity, Inc.)

“Finally! A book that addresses the truth and shatters so many myths and misconceptions about Asian Americans in the workplace.” (Vincent Yee, National President, NAAAP (National Association of Asian American Professionals))

“Addresses an issue that most of corporate America and diversity experts have been silent about... [an] important work.” (Professor David Thomas, Harvard Business School and Author of Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America)

“Practical, personable and strategic, Jane Hyun is the workplace mentor every Asian American would like to have.” (Eric Liu, Author of Guiding Lights and The Accidental Asian)

“Read it, and find clarity about who you are and what you want to become.” (Eric Liu, Author of Guiding Lights and The Accidental Asian)

“Filling a void where generic career guides leave off, this is a crucial handbook for anyone in today’s multicultural workplace.” (Asian Fortune)

“[Shows] where the gaps between the Asian American and business perspectives are, and how we can bridge these differences.” (Jade magazine)

More About the Author

Hi, I'm Jane Hyun, author of Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling (HarperCollins Publishers) and just completed Flex: the New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, another leadership book released in March 2014.

For the past 12 years I have been a leadership consultant and coach to corporations (Fortune 500 and small companies), nonprofit organizations and colleges/graduate programs. Our firm's mission is to develop leaders who have the skills to succeed in today's complex, changing global business environment.

Before writing and consulting, I worked in a variety of management roles in finance, strategy, recruiting, talent development, team development, and human resources for JPMorgan, Deloitte, and Resources Global. After those corporate stints, I wanted to put my skills to work to help individuals understand the "unwritten rules" required to advance their careers.
Growing up bicultural, I experienced firsthand some of the cultural differences in the workplace that I describe in my first book. And though I speak and understand English (on good days) without difficulty, there are parts of me that are culturally Asian, and culturally American. It is this duality that I manage everyday that makes both my professional work and personal life exciting!

I believe that people's behaviors in work and life are guided by many unseen factors, which includes culture, values, faith, and a variety of other elements that need to be better understood by our organizations.

New York City is my home, where I live with my family, and in my (very little) spare time, I enjoy travel, film, and heart-to-heart chats with close friends over coffee. While I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, I love watching sports, including hockey, soccer, and basketball. My daughter got the athletic genes in the family!


My passion is to empower the next generation of leaders to put their talents and gifts to work. Thanks for visiting the site, and I'll keep you posted on my next book and research! Enjoy the read and I look forward to hearing from you. info@hyunassociates.com

Customer Reviews

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If this were a book on how to be a faster runner, it would go something like this: You run slow.
Elizabeth
Her coaching advice is also succinct, direct, and practical, which we all can apply immediately at work to improve our mind set as well as our behaviors.
Z. Chen
This book is a MUST read for anyone working in a multi-cultural corporation, especially for those who come from Asian heritage.
Stik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jaewoo Kim VINE VOICE on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A book specifically targetting Asian American professionals has long been overdue (where in the world are all the would be Asian American authors????). This book provides solid advice for Asians climbing the corporate ladder. In summary, values that Asian American parents inculcate into their children (obedience, passiveness, modesty, extreme emphasis on education over experience) often work against Asians. Here are the key points summarized at the end of the book.

1)Take time to do a thorough self assessment.
2)Recognize your bamboo ceiling barriers, both personal and organizational.
3)Choose an Employer that fits your personal values and interests.
4)Develop cultural competence.
5)Find mentors.
6)commit to building a deep and broad network.
7)Make use of your bicultural and bilingual abilities.
8)Get into the habit of asking for and giving honest feedback.
9)Develop resilience in your career.
10)Be politically astute.

The book could have provided more details on how one can improve one's chances of promotion in ways which are not culturally related.
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85 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on February 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me save you some money...because if you're Asian, you're definitely all about saving money:

Section 1: You're Asian. That means you're reserved and don't like to toot your own horn. Let me tell you a story about Bobby Chang... (repeat 50 times)

Section 2: You're raised to only want to be a doctor or a lawyer and business is only a backup. You should be less reserved, toot your own horn, and find a job you really love *but* that doesn't mean you're less Asian! Let me tell you a story about Suzie Lee...(repeat 50 times)

Section 3: Even though I encouraged you to do whatever you want in the previous section, now I'm going to tell you how to get ahead in business because you're Asian, and that's obviously the job you're in.

I understand she had to make generalizations to make the book appealing to a diverse group of people, but it's so watered down that it's near meaningless. She repeats herself so much that the actual content could be boiled down to 10 pages or so.

Most of book is spent describing what it means to be Asian. While this was done succinctly on one page, the descriptions were then repeated over and over again until it became a charicature. I get it already. It's not like I didn't already spend over half my life living amongst non-Asians and haven't analyzed or overanalyzed all the ways I'm different. Most of my Asian friends are a pretty self-aware bunch.

Where the book could've been most helpful, it was pretty much useless. Instead of giving tips on how to change the habits she identified, her advice boil down to "change your ways," "here are some things you can say," or "this is what I told this one guy and it changed his life.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Chan (Kochman Mavrelis Associates) & B. Mar (Management & Resources Associates) on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is to Jane Hyun's credit to discuss issues of Asian American professionals on a very practical level. There are however, some caveats for the reader. The book needs to be contextualized within a larger conceptual framework. The overarching issues are ignored within her practical framework, namely: Who needs to change? Who needs to accommodate whom? How much? What are the risks and benefits? Her book appears to be saying that corporate America needs to understand Asians, but it does not need to change. Rather it is the Asian professional that needs to change and adapt.

Is the book too heavily assimilationist? It is not clear as Hyun does make a distinction early in her book between assimilation ("adopting ...at the expense of one's own cultural characteristics") and acculturation ("adapting ...while continuing to maintain values, perspectives, and features of one's native culture").

There appears to be little adaptation of any Asian models or perspective to the mainstream USA corporate culture -- page 279 suggests two ways: "Develop cultural competency" and "Make use of your bicultural and bilingual abilities." While recognizing the dominance of USA/Western research and models in the business world, it is also logical and no "one model fits all." Perhaps future research and practices can provide indigenous Asian models or perspectives that can be adapted and work effectively in coporate America or other cultures. The Special Issue on China & India (Business Week, August 22/29, 2005) points out how some USA business models are not applicable.

It is not an either/or proposition.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on July 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you look at upper management at the large companies in the United States you will find a heavy preponderance of white native-born males. There are all kinds of 'ceilings' imposed on minorities, be they women, native Americans African-Americans, or as described in this book Asian.

This book, obviously about Asians looks at the situation and examines not only the situation as it exists, but then attempts to find out why this situation exists. This includes an analysis of the mental attitude of the Asian worker who is coming from a different culture that teaches a different standard of behavior.

This book is written by an Asian woman who is a career coach or human resources consultant to Fortune 500 companies. Her book offers some advice aimed at the Asian worker that might help to point out ways that an individual might use to change certain cultural behavior patterns. This includes such points as speaking out, participating in a conversation may be more important than the study hard skills learned when the goal was to make good grades.
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