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Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Womenomics is based on the premise that women are demanding new rules of engagement with the corporate world. Women achievers are not willing to sacrifice family and freedom. But many don't know how to go about negotiating for what they want, say the authors. They have to overcome their own guilt and fear, so they can ask for what they want.

The book's advice seems entirely sound and appropriate for senior women executives in many fields. The authors refer to women in politics, media, finance and other industries. They suggest very specific strategies to negotiate for a desirable work schedule. The best part of the book demonstrates what happens when companies stop worrying about face time and focus exclusively on results. Just about everyone who works for an organization has tales of useless meetings and absurd ideas about what constitutes work.

However, I will be interested to see if female executives find the book helpful. As a sometime career consultant, I believe that implementing these strategies calls for strong corporate political skills. You have to know just how and when to make your pitch. The women we meet here have demonstrated their ability to contribute uniquely to their organizations. Many hold competing offers so they're in very strong positions.

I'd also like to see more discussions of the trade-offs involved Turning down a lifetime opportunity to enjoy your child's first day at school may seem like a no-brainer. Later those opportunities may be gone and the world looks different when you're ten years older. Regrets go both ways.

Ultimately, I'm concerned that Womenomics suggests that only married women with children face challenges of juggling work and personal life. Increasingly both men and women are resisting corporate demands and more of us are living in one-person households. Companies that claim to be family-friendly often expect single people to take up the overflow. Many corporate executives (both male and female) will understand when you say, "I want to see my son's soccer game." Meanwhile the components of a single person's life can seem frivolous and unnecessary, yet single people need time to develop and maintain networks of personal and social support.

The authors do not mention the trade-offs that take place in family-friendly workplaces. To take just one example, a female college professor negotiated for a teaching schedule that would allow her to be home by early afternoon, when her kids got home from school. Since there are only so many classrooms and time slots, someone else had to accept a less desirable schedule to accommodate her needs.

So bottom line: The book's advice seems sound, although I wonder if a strong, successful corporate women will need to read this book to figure out how to get what she wants. And I'm all in favor of family-friendly workplace policies, as long as we remember that some families consist of just one person and maybe a dog.
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VINE VOICEon November 16, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I usually devour a book on female empowerment like a cream puff, but it took me so long to finish this book, not just because it was hard to relate to but I was reading it carefully so I would not get the message wrong. This book is quite dated and very insulting for most of the women who are not employed in so called white collar jobs, if you ask for reduced hours you get reduced pay and benefits and no one will then take you seriously. In this new economic climate if you are less visible and asking for privileges just because of certain circumstances, like motherhood, then you are the first one out the door since the company is getting less out of you for the pay and benefits they give you. Most of the concepts are pure HR family/life balance propaganda that I was infinitely disappointed that this book was even written. Reality seems to have escaped the authors and it was published too late in this economic environment to garner agreement or sympathy with most of the target readers.
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VINE VOICEon June 21, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The timing of this book's release is unfortunate. Women who work for more traditional companies and are somewhat desperate to keep their jobs don't think about carving out time for themselves. They want more hours. They don't want to make waves.

The authors are powerful and prominent women in a relatively creative environment. They have the luxury to seek balance in their work and personal lives. Also, many of the women profiled in this book can negotiate from a position of strength with their employers. The reality for many of us who work in more prosaic industries, whose companies see their top and bottom lines dwindling, in workplaces where layoffs have taken place or could at any time, is that we are grateful to have a job to come to, and we are not writing our own tickets. The sad part is that many women probably do pick up this book hoping for a magic bullet, only to discover that it might as well be fiction. It's not about us.

The authors do make an ineffective argument that their strategy is suited to hard times as well as boom times. Also, to their credit, their underlying message that all women do valuable work is important. However, it is not groundbreaking and not particularly convincing. If this book had come out in rosier financial times, it would have a much different impact. Instead, the authors seem out of touch and only remind many of us what we can't have. Not a message we need to hear right now.
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on February 5, 2013
This book will be very helpful for women who fit the following demographic type:
-Aged Thirties or Forties, certainly not younger, with the cultural baggage that comes with that generation
-Thoroughly Established in Career
-Career is lucrative, self-driven, and portable
-Is a manager, executive, or other high ranked white collar profession
-Has children and likely a spouse
-Work/life issues are primarily existential and time-oriented, not financial

This book will be less helpful for those who are in occupations that require you show up to a given place at a given time, for women who had their children early in their careers, who do not command a lot of privilege. The crux of their argument is to rest on your laurels (they assume you have been working sixty hour weeks in a high prestige job up to the point of reading their book), taking a pay cut, taking a demotion, or other things that folks who work to survive may find very counter-productive.

The first few chapters about what women contribute to the work place are empowering, but after that, it stops reading as true-to-life. I am 26, and find a lot of my work/life problems tend to include things like finding affordable child-care - I have a flexible job, but it does not pay a family-supporting wage. I understand my problem is more typical for most working women. They discuss financial consequences perhaps twice in the book. It is otherwise all about time.

I struggled with the style of writing. It read a bit like an infomercial, - it read as though they were constantly trying to sell something, as opposed to a conversation. I wonder if the initial feedback of their book was that no one would buy their ideas, because it reads as pre-emptively defensive at points. The sentences are very short. In tandem with the content, the style seemed to drive home how little nuance was present in this work. I wish it had been researched beyond the few anecdotes here and there. I suspect that more research may have lead the authors to discover the economic picture is not as rosy as they think it is.
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on September 2, 2009
This book is for working mothers not really for working women. I was so disapointed in this book! I do not have kids and did not feel like this was applicable to my life at all. Here's the big mystery solved: if you have kids, your career won't/can't be first. Wow. Really? If you didn't know that you should NOT be having children.
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VINE VOICEon June 21, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a fan of Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, I decided to read this book even though I'm not their target audience. I certainly hope that their target audience wouldn't find it any more valuable than I did, since most of the information is or should be--to my mind--common knowledge.

The main thrust of this book is that women are superior employees (based on statistics) and therefore have wonderful negotiating power. Some women are superior employees and others are pathetic ones--just as some men are superior/pathetic. However, it is true that negotiating comes easier and more naturally to men, as a female friend who hadn't read the book mentioned to me on the phone the other day. (See? Common knowledge.)

I'm a feminist and even I found things like "we're not saying different--we're saying better!" offensive. More than that, it's silly. I hope fuzzy reasoning like that isn't considered "pink."

There's also a tone to the book that seems patronizing and dumbed-down: "If you recognize this thought process, or worse, have answered yes to any of the above questions...don't feel guilty! Please. Read on and learn how." When you actually read on, you learn you can buy many books from Amazon.com (really!) on the subject. Synopsizing their advice: "Don't feel guilty."

It's an accessible and easy read, and there are some valuable exercises (particularly the long-view priorities one). And there are some interesting statistics provided. The information in this book is worthy of an article, but not a book. I'm not sure if Womenomics is supposed to be a catchy title, but I can never remember it. The book is like the title--meant to suggest something new, but awkward and mostly useless.
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on August 16, 2009
Shipman and Kay present themselves as life coaches to professional women, not only exhorting them to recognize what they really want from life and to pursue it, but telling them how they ought to feel.

Documentation is very thin (only two books are cited in the entire book) and there are no real case studies, even of the authors' own lives; personal experiences are only sketchily evoked in vignettes. Even the authors' personal stories are very schematic; for example, Shipman talks about "my husband" [93] but never mentions she's been married twice. There are almost no cultural references, not even allusion to relevant ones like Max Weber or the Sabbath.

Shipman and Kay have a stunted sense of what is meaningful in life and present conventional family life (dominated by children, with husbands a ghostly presence; on the other hand, a prospective employer is called a "potential mate" [196]) as the only meaningful activity outside business. Sex itself is mentioned not once in the book.

Family life with children is the only possible alternative to business activity -- the life of the mind, art, even politics are never mentioned, and religion, too, is absent. In fact, only two institutions are acknowledged to exist in the world of Womenomics: the corporation and the family.
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on June 27, 2009
Is there any substance in this book?

Yes, you are a woman, and you need to feed the baby at home. Therefore, you ask your manager to let you work at home or other arrangement. This is fine in the good economy.

In 2009, the reality is that most women would not ask this question because they are afraid to lose their jobs. The business is so competitive, and it does not matter if you are empowered, womenomics, wonder woman, or whatever....

Simply put, as a women, you cannot write your own rules for success. You need to adapt to the environment and to be flexible. Men work 90 hours in hedge fund, private equity, consulting firms in NYC, every week. Would they like to hear the cry-baby stories? For women to compete, they need to work more hours, if not less.

To cite 1 percent of the companies that encourage or allow telecommuting is not a good reason to buy this book. Besides, studies showed that telecommuters
(women or men who work at home) normally missed the opportunity of getting promotion because they are not visible in the firm.

Women at CEO in Fortune 500 companies today, are still less than 1 percent. Go figure!
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on July 6, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Disclosure #1: this book is not meant for working class women. By working class I mean women who are maids, housecleaners, cooks, nurse aids, etc.

Disclosure #2: book is written by two TV anchors, one from ABC and one from BBC who believe they are all that and a bag of chips, and that motherhood gives them some sort of entitlement to flexible work schedule.

Disclosure #3: I have always resented (and I still do) - men and women who feel that because they are parents that makes them morally superior towards childfree individuals and couples.

Disclosure #4: Flex time is not just for mommies over 30 with a very special child who cannot miss their soccer game, but it should be accommodated for need of any human being who needs at certain times in their lives flexibility to take care of sick spouse, incapacitated parent or sibling in need.

Finally, flex time is not about work-time balance. One cannot count on one free day a week, every week. Rule of the game is to be flexible. Take time when you need it and work long hours when business demands it. Woman or not, no one is indispensable when it comes to workforce, just ask all unemployed out there who have been jobless for a long time. Use your intuition as a woman to know when it is enough and when you are taking this game to be some sort of entitlement. If these two journalists need to be so close to their kids - I suggest they freelance and let truly dedicated person(s) pull in thir full weight and still produce great work at the full-time hours schedule with benefits, instead of unemployment insurance and no health benefits - which many talented people have been collecting in a last year.
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on August 4, 2009
The authors have rightly identified that there is a growing demand for, trend towards, and interest in guidance for creating flexible working arrangements. However, for $27.99, you can secure more concrete advice on reaching your "New All" -->elsewhere.

Me and my childless Gen Y fellows are not the target audience. We came for advice on making time for mates and received only a 2 page "letter" emphasizing the importance of paying dues and not being too imperious (pg 158). This book is packaged to appeal to high profile mothers who are considering exiting or re-entering the workforce. Yet there is minimal content to address their specific challenges, beyond empathizing with the travails of leaving early to pick kids up from school.

Ch 1: Womenomics 101 - an inevitable labor shortage in the wake of Boomer retirement will increase employers' commitment to "hot" female talent. However, the authors also note that the same desire for more flexible work arrangements is shared by these would-be retirees looking to extend their career into their pensioning years, cooling demand for "hot" female talent.
--> Bombshell Manual of Style, The A cheekier reminder that "high maintenance" women can be in high demand for intrinsic traits rather than a rudimentary understanding of labor economics.

Ch 2: What We Really Want - more time with the kids... This is a very narrow interpretation of the finding dating back to Durkheim that relationships (be they with children, partners, friends, or pets) strongly influence happiness.
--> The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World A more thorough lit review of happiness research and the factors which drive satisfaction.

Ch 3: Redefining Success-- It's All in Your Mind & Chapter 4: Good-Bye Guilt (And Hello No) - Our thought patterns limit what we believe is possible. I like a good therapy session as much as the next New Yorker, but unraveling these deeply embedded belief systems is going to take a bit more than rifling through 60 some pages of bulleted lists and inspirational anecdotes.
--> Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated This workbook even helps overcome roadblocks that are deeper and more complex than simply being female.

Ch 5: Lazy Like A Fox: Work Smarter Not Harder - There are ways to be more efficient on the job. This doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the information you can find for free on productivity blogs.
--> Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity The granddaddy of myriad productivity blogs.

Ch 6: Value Added: Redefine Your Value, Value Your Time - Don't let inertia dictate next steps, make decisions based on the ROI they deliver for your life goals. They beat me to the punch on this by citing him explicitly on page 154: Tim Ferriss does a far more thorough job concretely explaining how to live by this rule.
--> The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Ch 7: Nine Rules to Negotiate Nirvana: How to Change Your Whole Work Deal - Application of basic negotiation tactics to a few hypothetical work-life scenarios. The basic insight here is sound, but because negotiation is a skill that can enhance so many aspects of life, it would help to outline the general principles before delving haphazardly into specific use cases.
--> Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in [GETTING TO YES 2/E]

Ch 8: A Womenomics World - In which we offer kudos to companies with women-friendly policies across scattered industries. As a senior executive (or even a few years post grad), it is unlikely to see readers successfully leap across industry verticals. The juxtaposition of benefits-rich consultancy Deloitte and monolithic Wal-Mart on the proceeding page was comical.
--> Fortune (1-year) 100 Best Companies to Work For will at least let you sort by geographic region so you're not industry hopping *and* relocating.

At the point of this writing, -->substitutions at full price total $82.83 or $26.69 used. May your hard-earned dollars be well spent. :)
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