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Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) Hardcover – October 23, 2007
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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From Publishers Weekly
Media mogul Black, president of Hearst Magazines (Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and O), delivers a memoir masquerading as a guide to career and life. Enthusiastic and hard-working, Black was one of the first women to take a major role in American magazine and newspaper publishing. She came to Hearst by way of New York magazine, where she was the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, and USA Today, which she helped build from a small upstart into one of the country's most widely read daily papers. Though she positions herself as a role model for professional women, her advice is slim and scattershot. The book mainly consists of anecdotes from her working life and fawning praise for Al Neuharth, retired chairman and CEO of newspaper publisher Gannett Co. and her unofficial mentor. It's an interesting portrait of a groundbreaking career, but Black backs up her own story with only a note or two of advice, waiting until nearly the end of the book to tackle what she originally claims is her main point: the 360 Life, or the difficulty of balancing work with personal life. While the author's life is an interesting one, readers looking for tips will do better with a more pointed book. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Basic Black does a great job of telling the story of how Cathie deftly navigated the challenges of the workplace and the media business, while also trying to balance the demands of a busy life. Her practical tips on handling typical workplace situations make this an important read for any woman who wants to become a better colleague, a better leader ... and a better person.”
—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
Top customer reviews
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Unfortunately, she listened to her agent and "PR guru" -- the two women credited as having convinced her to write Basic Black -- and played her cards way too soon, cashing in with a fluffy collection of skin-deep anecdotes and common sense career advice ostensibly targeted to female, twenty-something "recently minted MBAs" but more appropriate for a Freshman college course on business management. Oddly, the book's most disappointing shortcoming is Black's surprising (perhaps self-serving?) acceptance and repetition of stereotypes about women as the weaker sex.
Notable flaws aside, it's a solid, breezy read that offers an engaging peek behind the curtain and guarantees I'll pick up that eventual memoir... so I guess the agent and PR guru weren't so wrong after all!
There were many more tips that spoke directly to me ("the worst-case scenario is rarely as bad as you think", "power = knowing how to let things go" and "you can be strong without being obnoxious" are just a few).
Some tips were things I had practiced for years, others were things I had lost sight of during difficult times, others were things I realized I should have known for years but had never thought of and many I wished I had known years ago.
This book is the best I have read in years and I would recommend it to anyone at any point in their career. It is an excellent guide for women just entering the workforce as well as a great learning tool and reminder for those of us who have been in the workforce for any length of time.
I wouldn't necessarily want Black as my boss, but she's clearly a person with tremendous people skills. She's a born saleswoman, but she's not always "selling." She has a strong ego, but she knows how to delegate power and how to give credit to her subordinates.
The advice that Black gives is fine but is not the center of this book.
I believe some people might think it is a book written for young women, but I have a different take on it. She mentioned a lot of the qualities and personality traits that attributed to her success today that, really, not every one of my supervisors or bosses possess. And it is definitely true how little things make a difference in one's career and results of managing.
Most recent customer reviews
Book Review by Mary Mikawoz
Cathie Black has done amazing...Read more