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Be Your Own Mentor: Strategies from Top Women on the Secrets of Success Hardcover – February 27, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

All of us, from birth onward, learn by emulating others. Yet when it comes to our professional lives, we often forget that what we see, we imitate, and what we imitate, we become. This is obviously a positive thing for those who have found successful, encouraging mentors in their fields, but finding those mentors is still much easier for men than for women. In Be Your Own Mentor, Sheila Wellington seeks to provide women not only with advice on locating appropriate mentors, but with the tools to mentor themselves and the opinions, advice, and encouragement of women leaders worth emulating.

Wellington speaks from a broad range of experience. Having spent 20 years working in public health and one term as the first female Secretary of Yale University, she now serves as the president of Catalyst, a nonprofit research organization that works to advance women in business. Catalyst has conducted numerous interviews, surveys, and focus groups on the subject of women succeeding and excelling in their professional lives, and the results of much of that research is included here. CEOs from industry and the nonprofit world, law-firm partners, university presidents, and senior consultants all add their two cents' worth (or more like six figures' worth) to Wellington's observations on everything from planning your career and avoiding being boxed in to learning how to network efficiently and successfully integrate your work life with your home life.

Be Your Own Mentor is jam-packed with informative statistics, useful suggestions, and encouraging reminders--almost to the point of overload. With so many "voices" and so many topics covered, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Despite this organizational drawback, however, this book is a useful tool for women, especially those just starting out. And for the avid emulator, who better to learn from than the likes of Zoe Baird, respected lawyer and president of the Markle Foundation; Betty Beene, president and CEO of United Way of America; Ellen Hancock, chairman and CEO of Exodus Communications; and Anne Mulcahy, president and COO of Xerox Corporation? On that note, the appendix, which provides career-path profiles of each of the pioneers quoted, is one of the most interesting sections of the book. --S. Ketchum

From Publishers Weekly

Currently president of Catalyst, a research organization on women in the workplace, Wellington was the first woman to hold the position of secretary and vice-president of Yale University. Here, she offers insights from Catalyst surveys and interviews with successful women in a variety of industries. According to the author, having a mentor is the best way to launch a successful career, but since finding and developing the right relationship can be difficult, women must learn key strategies for propelling their own advancement. Among them: develop an "executive presence," gain visibility, become a time-management expert, hire excellent at-home help and network constantly. Key principles are embellished with comments from accomplished women, including Carly Fiorini of Hewlett-Packard, Andrea Jung of Avon, and Judith Rodin, president of the University of Pennsylvania. However, while the quotations are compelling, the book is poorly organized. Chapters addressing different aspects of career success--networking, switching positions, establishing a reputation, balancing work and home life--all meld together, and little of the advice stands out. (Feb.) Forecast: Because of the notable women included here, as well as Catalyst's strong reputation, the book is bound to attract publicity. But in the end, its sales won't rise above those of the average fare in women and business category.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (February 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037550060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375500602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I wish I'd had Be Your Own Mentor years ago. It's chock-full of what to do when you're trying to get ahead at work, with do's and don'ts I've not heard anywhere else. It explains the kinds of jobs that will take you to the top and tells you which won't. And something else it does that you can't get elsewhere: women at the top (like Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard) tell you what to do when specific problems arise at work -- like how to land an assignment you want, or what to do when you meet bias, or how to get people who can help you on your side. Includes useful tips on building credibility and taking charge of how you're perceived, or for getting out of a dead end situation with a difficult boss, plus sensible advice about dealing with guilt as you're balancing personal life and work. You gain access to many wise women -- the older sisters everyone needs, who genuinely want to help you reach your goals. My son says most of the career tips will work for him, too, but women especially can use this practical, smart advice book by Spence and Wellington all through their careers.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought the book "Be Your Own Mentor" during a transitional time in my career. The advice offered has provided me with many great ideas on advancing my career. I thought the get ahead basics were especially helpful. As I was looking for a new position, the job search advice helped me to form opinions on how this new position could be a stepping stone to my future. It urged me to take a look at my career as a progression of jobs on my resume. Additionally, Sheila Wllington offered advice that I had not read in traditional job search books. I think this book is helpful to women at all stages of their career whether just starting out or ready for a mid-career change. If you think you need some advice from successful women and need some ideas on how to further your career I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish this book had been around when I was just starting out in business. I would be a lot better off today if I had gotten the great advice it gives out. Much of the writing is based on research done at Catalyst, so is fact-based. Shelia Wellington uses her vast experience and connections to give a road map for success for women in the business world. Many nuggets of advice from women who have reached the highest levels in their careers. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover
Next in line in my reviews of Success Literature, I present Be Your Own Mentor, by Sheila Wellington and Catalyst.

I've been aware of the work of Catalyst for a long while now, and I found this book by browsing the list of Resources listed on their webpage. For those of you not familiar with their work, Catalyst is a group that collects data relevant to women's advancement in the workplace. This includes reports on women-friendly places to work, trends for women in executive positions, and much more.

Be Your Own Mentor is a wonderful book that discusses all angles of the professional obstacles that women face. It opens with a general description of women in the workplace, such as the statistics of women in the workforce, and common myths and misconceptions held by women and by men about women in the workplace. From there, it moves on to cover strategic career planning, work style, work and life issues, networking, and the pros and cons of line vs. staff jobs.

What makes this book particularly useful is the input added to each topic by working women, CEOs, and a group of workforce women pioneers. These verbatim quotes come from focus groups and surveys by Catalyst, and are more specific that the average Success Lit advice. Additionally, there is the added bonus of facts and figures also from Catalyst's research archives.

The contributions from the Pioneers are particularly helpful, and these women span industries as diverse as law, publishing, jewelry design, energy management and academia. They share personal victories and discuss their tackling of particular challenges. And in the last chapter, they each impart what they consider to be their most crucial advice for any women looking to move ahead.
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By A Customer on March 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting book, perfect for people just out of school or in the first 2-3 years of a career. The advice in the book is solid, and the quotes from the pioneer women are especially interesting and informative. It is refreshing to hear their perspectives, and they provide wonderful information, ideas, and a sense of sisterhood.
My main complaint about the book is there is no new information or anything groundbreaking. Most of the author's ideas are obvious, and she should let the pioneer women speak some more.
Overall, I would recommend this book to young women just starting out who are not quite sure what to expect or if they are on the right track. The pioneer quotes are worth the price of the book.
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