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Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists 1st Edition

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300113235
ISBN-10: 0300113234
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Molecular biologist Daniell and fellow women scientists created a support network to commiserate and strategize about the difficulties of being female in the still male-dominated world of science. Founded on the precepts of radical psychiatry, the group (called simply Group) gathers every other week with a format that will be familiar to anyone who's sat through a women's group session: time is set aside for each member to discuss issues in her life, and others encourage her to verbalize all of her emotions while offering support. The lesson that a feminine support system is important to a modern career-driven woman is not new, nor is it limited to science. But the book's real failing is that instead of addressing Group members' journeys through science as women, it focuses on the same career roadblocks, personal disasters and need for self-empowerment that one finds in any self-help book ("I am entitled to be myself. I'm entitled to be successful"). Rather than hard-nosed help for aspiring young women scientists, this book, while it includes interesting passages on the machinations of university politics, essentially offers material that should best have remained within the Group. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Daniell, former professor of molecular biology and 25-year member of a support group for women scientists, offers a personal look at her group based on the principles of radical psychiatry. Daniell and her sister scientists established a group dynamic in which each member asks for a specific time period in which to raise an issue and seek constructive and practical feedback. The group explores ways to navigate through such professional problems as time management; the challenges inherent in university structures, including the publish-or-perish edict; the hard road to tenure; and mentoring students. Issues outside their professional lives come under scrutiny as well, including family problems, illness, and retirement plans. These successful, high-achieving women hope to foster cooperation in the increasingly competitive academic world, offering guidelines for women and men who are interested in establishing their own version of a working group. Daniell's sharp writing style and focus make this a pleasurable and informative read. Pamela Crossland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (March 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300113234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300113235
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,538,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Laura L. Mays Hoopes on October 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let's say you have problems at work. You have an unreasonable deadline. You're up for promotion. Your boss seems intent on attacking you. You are going to have a baby and that's not welcome news at work. You feel excluded from important conversations. No one will go to lunch with you. Ellen Daniell tells us all a great way to handle these work-related emergencies and bad vibes: form a weekly discussion group focused on professional issues.

In addition to providing friendships, now at a premium in this society, the group can say how strategies worked (or didn't work) for them, support the stressed worker, and keep her/him from giving in to the pressures of work. Daniell's own group includes members of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers and professors and industry scientists. Most have been women historically (over the 25 years this group has functioned). She was invited to join by a prominent male molecular biologist 25 years ago. She gives us the history of the group, lots of detailed anecdotes of its functioning, and then turns to how to form and run such a group for your own sanity.

I found this book both inspiring and disquieting: Daniell herself describes how she was denied tenure at a prestigious university, fought the decision, and was denied anyway. Then she became an administrator in the biotech industry, and today she's a full time writer. Her self esteem came through thanks to the group process. But as a woman in science, who took the trouble to read Daniell's pre tenure publications, I am appalled that she was denied. What were they thinking? But don't get the idea that this book is full of rage. That's my own, not Ellen Daniell's. Through her group, she has dealt successfully with the decision and put it behind her comfortably.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anton Schwartz on April 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Life is tough. Scientist or nonscientist, man or woman, we go up against great odds to make progress, teach and inspire others, and pave the way for the future. So why does the world make this process so hard? In this book, Ellen Daniell describes the support network of young scientists, mostly women, that helped its Bay Area members overcome family troubles, deal with the whims of fate, and face despair in academic and institutional settings. Along the way she describes the psychological approach to success that we can provide for one another. Read this book, and make friends, and be happy that we get this great chance in life!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Stephens on January 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very excited when I heard about this book and I read it all at once. It's very readable. I wish they had written this at the begining of their group's history to inspire the rest of us to get the mentoring we all need! Inspired by their story, I set up my own group! We are a group of 13 women scientists (Junior Faculty) who meet once a month (Mentoring Circle) and are growing close, just as they describe. Our group decided not to have the rules that they have, but then again no one but me read the book. We have a theme to each session so far and each month the moderator decides on the theme and the venue, some women invite speakers to join us, and that has been fantastic. This works well to help us focus on professional issues more than gossip or anger management and also helps attendance since it makes it obvious that the themes are important, though we often digress. Busy women don't always find time to do things that are good for them. The group has helped all of us in our quests to get funded and move towards tenure, but also helped us increase our visibility and make our needs known. Thanks to the authors, we are stronger in our numbers!

UPDATE: There was so much interest in our group that I formed a second group. This one is co-ed and the guys are taking to it just as well as the women. It's about 50:50 and while the style of the guys may be a little different, their problems starting a lab and becoming leaders are exactly the same! Just that fact gave me courage to follow my instincts and make firm decisions as a new leader.

I highly recommend the approach of peer mentoring, in my whole career, my best advice came from folks just ahead of me, not super senior "mentors", go out and get the mentoring you need from whoever "has been there", it could save your career.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar on April 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book "Every other Thursday" presents strategies to deal with many situations typical for research and academia, especially for independent scientists. After postdoctoral training, scientists who get on the tenure track can do science: plan experiments, project and execute them, analyze the results and write papers. What they are not prepared for is managing the lab and dealing with administration, teaching classes on a regular basis (well, some have limited experience in teaching, usually not nearly enough). Most of them (especially women) also do not have enough confidence and have to learn to be bold and assertive.

Ellen Daniell's book describes the self-help group, initially meant as a group for all willing people from the scientific environment in the San Francisco Bay area, later turned into women's group. The author offers examples on different ways of dealing with work-related stress, from acknowledging it, discussing with peers, and using the advice. There is also advice on maneuvering between personal and professional problems and effectively combining work, family and friends to be successful and happy.

The book is very practical, personal and honest - describes moving stories from women scientists, who have been meeting for 20 years and consider their group as an essential tool in their careers, at the same time valuing the friendship with other group members. There are different personalities and different problems, but the book ultimately offers universal advice for women scientists and generally for scientists at different stages of their careers. I benefitted a lot from this book and I think there is still a need for this type of help: women are now not so unusual in the scientific community, but they still encounter similar difficulties.
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