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In the Company of Women: Turning Workplace Conflict into Powerful Alliances Hardcover – September 10, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Now that women own nearly 50% of all businesses, the authors reason, women's worst enemies at work are just as likely to be other women. To support their thesis, which may offend some readers but will also generate attention, the authors both business consultants address differences between women's and men's behaviors. Declaring that women should be more conscious of their reaction if other women try to undermine a promotion or honor coming their way, they suggest, "that's the price we have to pay for the strong alliances we make with other women." This provocative, practical book deserves a wide readership.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Every women who works should read this groundbreaking book. -- Clair Raines, co-author of Generations at Work

Powerful, eye-opening, smart reading. -- Susan Estrich, author of Sex and Power

What a terrific and inspirational read! -- Judy George, author of The Intuitive Businesswoman

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; 1 edition (September 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585421154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585421152
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I picked up "In the Company of Women" to read, I was prepared to disagree with every single sentence. A female colleague had given it to me as a gift, saying that all her friends were reading it and having an "aha" experience -- they finally understood what was happening in their interactions with other women at work, with their friends, etc. I wasn't even going to read it, but when she told me that Harvard Business School had the book on its recommended list on its website, I decided to go ahead and at least start.
My fear was that the book would play into every stereotype we professional women have worked so hard to overcome -- reinforcing that all-too-widespread male view that we are emotional, bitchy "girls" just out to get each other. BOY WAS I WRONG! These authors have PhD's and years of experience in corporate America and they know their stuff. I was really impressed with the scholarship and research.
As I was reading I began to see all my friends and myself in the examples. We have all been sabotaged by other women in the workplace; we just didn't want to admit it. I didn't find the advice trite or counterproductive to business in the least --and I didn't find it to be overly focused on the issue itself so that I was left thinking "OK now what do I do?" The majority of the book is focused on solutions THAT WORK, and those solutions are very simple. I have been using them, and I can say with absolute confidence that my work environment is better for all of us -- men and women -- as a result.
We all deal with co-workers based on their personalities, level in the organization, work styles, etc.
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1 Comment 74 of 79 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am sorely disappointed by this book. Instead of addressing the root cause of women who traditionally cannot stand having other women succeed and get ahead, this book promotes appeasement to that irrationality. It is really a collection of tactics to maneuver around bad situations caused by women who get difficult around members of the same sex who are more powerful, more confident, or more successful.

But that's not how it should be. If a woman gets a well-deserved promotion and her female coworkers immediately respond by tearing her down, the problem is with those doing the tearing. But this book does not see it that way. It talks about the "Power Dead Even rule" among women as if it's something that cannot be changed, and therefore must be adhered to. The book actually has an example of a very qualified woman getting promoted, causing fury and anger among her female peers, with the solution being the withdrawal of the promotion of the qualified woman. If holding women back from becoming successful and openly proud of their achievements is the way for women to stop hurting each other, I would not want to live in the world that this book promotes. Womankind deserves more credit than that.

I had picked up this book after reading and being profoundly impressed by "Hard Ball for Women" by Pat Heim, one of the authors for this book. In "Hard Ball for Women", the cultural baggage that women have that hold themselves back is broken down chapter by chapter. Great examples and explanations shed light into the conventional roles of a woman and the changes in perspective she needs to take on to become competitive in her career. In some sense, "Hard Ball for Women" is almost a rebuttal to "In the Company of Women". I do not understand how the same author could have penned both. This book is a let down.
6 Comments 76 of 83 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I thank her very much. The authors have described processes that explain what I have observed, but couldn't quite understand, until reading this book. Why women have an incredible memory for hurts and injustices; why women can be so 'catty' amongst themselves; why women can talk so intimately and so easily with each other and with men... I could go on and on with the questions I've always had about women. Learning about the 'tend and befriend' hormone and about the Darwinian survival characteristics of many of these behaviors helps men (as well as women) understand and not personalize these inherent patterns. I especially appreciated the research citations and the sound scientific foundations of the authors' conclusions. I have recommended this book to a dozen people I know, and I think it's a worthwhile read for any adult who works with, is in a relationship with, or is a woman - and I guess that's everyone.
Comment 31 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This book did have some useful information about the sociocultural reasons behind women's sabotage of one another in the workplace. Much of this information could also be applied outside the workplace. However, I would have liked to see something about how an atypical woman -- one who hasn't been overly socialized to the feminine role -- can deal with those women who are more typically acculturated. I am thankfully now self-employed, but I had problems with other women in past workplaces that I didn't understand. I often experienced them acting cold toward me or getting mad "for nothing." One thing I found really strange was being accused of "not caring about my job" because I chose to keep a level head instead of take it personally when the content of my work was criticized.

Now, to criticize the content of this book, I thought the authors cut inexcusable behavior way too much slack. Yes, there probably is an unwritten "power-dead-even" rule, but acting like a four-year-old and telling lies about someone to the boss, or having an "I'm not going to be your friend anymore!" type of attitude just because someone gets a promotion, is nothing more than immature. If I were managing employees, destructive gossip and bullying would definitely be grounds for discipline, if not termination. It's these kinds of conflicts that make me happy to be a freelance writer!
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