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Influence: How Women's Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better Hardcover – May 4, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"It's rapidly dawning on women that their growing economic power offers a tremendous opportunity to . . . change lives, markets, and the environment, simultaneously. Maddy Dychtwald has captured this speeding train with insight, data, and substance . . . A must-read."―Cathie Black, President, Hearst Magazines
"When you read this information-packed, story-filled, and very encouraging book, you'll feel renewed hope that women will be able to shape the future significantly, for the good of all of us."―Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President, Emerge America
"Influence shows us a tectonic shift in gender roles, responsibilities, and possibilities . . . a book with the potential to change the consciousness of everyone who reads it, and, so, to help bring about the very improvements it describes."―Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
"Dychtwald's book title says it all . . . A great read for anyone who wants the latest thinking, insights, and case studies from the front lines of women's advancement efforts--and, importantly, how you as an individual can help."―Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy, Ernst & Young
"Influence is an imperative measure of the great 21st-Century Economic Evolution propelled by the distinctive determination of women."―Aude Zieseniss de Thuin, Founder and CEO, Women's Forum for the Economy & Society
"Women don't usually run for elected office unless they are asked to run--several times . . . Influence convincingly asks women--more than several times--to see their opportunities for leadership and to seize them. We know that when you add women, you change everything. Let's do it!"―Marie C. Wilson, Founder and President, The White House Project
"Dychtwald and Larson show how women are gaining power and influence . . . [and] changing the world for the better. Eye-opening and encouraging."―Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor
Top Customer Reviews
I was a little annoyed by the start of the book, because for about 60s pages it goes on about women who "have it all" - finish-rich career options, darling little babies, understanding (doctor, lawyer-type) husbands ...
While the book at times gives a nod of appreciation to women in third world countries, it really focuses too exclusively, in my opinion, on a class of very smart and ambitious women. Too many examples of woman x who gave up her affluent corporate job to raise a child while her lawyer husband brings home the cash. Too many examples of women who ended up with mr. Right, who is sticking around to help her raise a family. A few examples of women who didn't end up with mr. Right but since they have awesome jobs it's ok. What about the women who have the kids but don't have the partner and don't have the awesome job?
The problem with poor people is they aren't glamorous and they aren't intteresting to read about. That's why they don't get much coverage in check-stand tabloids. Only the rich people do.
A woman could be profiled here if she is a single mom (by choice) who gives up a great job to raise her kid. She can be profiled here if she has a great husband who takes care of the kids while she goes out and brings home the bacon - from a very nice job of course... but if she is a mom without a great career and without the uber-husband she is hard to find here.
Yes, this is a book about women who own their own homes and drive nice cars who are juggling career and family. It is not a book about women who are just plain struggling to keep their heads above water.
Of course the non-affluent are not the economically and politically influential people this book wants to be about.
To be fair, it's well written and smartly put together. It's just too rooted in the problems of people working in great jobs with great compensation packages with progressive employers. It's too much about the affluent to realistically take a hard look at the problems it wants to look at.
That's my opinion.
As an adult male, my personal reading of "Influence" was not strictly through my own eyes but also through the eyes of the three generations of women I hold dear including: my mother, who re-entered the workforce to raise my siblings after my father passed away; my wife, who worked hard, became well-educated and had a successful professional career in the field of law; and my two daughters who are just beginning to write their own unique stories. As a father, "Influence" bolstered my private hope that my daughters should indeed feel free to dream big and pursue a life on their own terms, unencumbered by false gender limits.
According to Dychtwald, channeling Abraham Maslow's concept of the hierarchy if needs, there are three stages of Economic Power: survival, independence, and influence. As women reach the third stage, they will demonstrate what Maslow characterizes as "self-actualization" and the sooner the better because nations, corporations, and communities "must seek better ways to nurture and harness the full talents of their entire population, both women and men. And there is ample hard evidence to show that tapping women's talents, in every sphere, will make the world more equitable and more prosperous."
Throughout her narrative, Dychtwald draws upon what she learned during more than 100 in-depth interviews of "financially empowered" and "socially enlightened" women, sharing their insights and perspectives. "Three clear trends quickly emerged from out research - trends that were largely on the surface, already supported by private studies, but that hadn't been probed as deeply before. We saw what was happening with women and their money, and with men and their money, but also began to understand why - and what it means for the future> The three trends? They are (1) Money means security to women, freedom to men; (2) Men see themselves as "warriors," women as "worriers"; and (3) Women put the financial needs of others ahead of their own. Dychtwald discusses each of these trends in depth, correlating them with what she identifies as women's five money profiles: Perceptive Planner (35% of U.S. women), Owner Partner (23%), Alpha Female (18%), Uncertain Searcher (16%), and Supportive Traditionalist (8%). "One thing is clear: Any woman who remains an Uncertain Searcher of Supportive Traditionalist faces clear and urgent dangers to her independence and perhaps even to her economic survival.
Dychtwald devotes a separate chapter to each of several major themes such "the entrepreneurial exodus" in business, "rewriting the rules from the outside in" in the workplace, why women ARE the market in the marketplace, "the future of men" at home, "mutiny on Noah's ark" in the family, and "closing the leadership gap" in politics. She then shares her own thoughts as well as others' about various legacies of "women's soaring economic power," legacies whose impact "will transform our world for the better." Of special interest to me is the Nobel Women's Initiative led by the seven (of only twelve) women who have received a Nobel Peace Prize and are still alive. Their purpose is "to promote, spotlight, and grow the work of women's rights advocates and organizations worldwide that address the root causes of violence." At the group's second international conference (in 2009), a declaration was adopted. It serves both as an affirmation of human rights and a call-to-action. "We are in search of democracy that transforms not just our lives, but all society - and we will not be silenced until it is achieved in every part of the world."
In the Epilogue, Dychtwald offers ten specific suggestions as to what her female readers can do, now, to accelerate the progress of the "power shift" underway. My own opinion (and, yes, one man's opinion) is that she misses a precious opportunity to solicit the active support of men, also. (Ironically, her eighth suggestion is "Enlist men.") For too long, in too many societies, freedom and justice have been gender-specific. The human values Maddy Dychtwald affirms and the strategic goals she seeks are not gender-specific. The fact remains, expediting the progress of the "power shift" to economic emancipation which she frequently refers is best achieved by a global coalition of women and men.
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