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Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers Hardcover – February 11, 2004
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Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by, Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. Hardcover book published by Warner Business Books, copyright 2004, 11th printing
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I was a CEO of a Nasdaq listed company . Before that I was also one of the youngest VPs in a large bank. Most of the negative reviewers hate this book because Ms.Frankel advocates that :
a) women should not 'appear' too feminine( i.e bringing food to the office often, have cutesy things in the cubicle, actively needing to be liked by co-workers)
b) we should dress, style their hair and wear makeup appropriately
c) she often tell women to not 'be nice' . ( this could mean doing the photocopying, going out of your way to help others, not saying yes etc)
I hate to burst some women's bubbles but like it or not , your chances of being taken seriously/become promoted or being seen as a leader IS influenced by how you talk/dress and carry yourself.
Imagine 2 young associates in an elevator with the CEO. Both are equally capable but one has long Victoria Secret's model hair ( it seems she spends a long time styling it everyday), a short above-the-knee skirt and uses that lilting Valley-speak accent where every sentence seems like a question. The other has shoulder-length stylish yet low-maintenance hair, a smartly-tailored suit with below-the-knee skirt and speaks in even, clear tones.
Which person would the CEO tend to think favorably of?
No one is saying you won't get ahead if you be yourself. But will it be harder? Make it easier and be the most professional version of yourself. I love doing my hair, makeup and wearing jewelry/high heels but I always make sure it's work appropriate and non-distracting. That's why I wear 3 inch heels for work and save my 5 inch platform stilettos for date night.
As for 'don't be nice ' I think what Ms.Frankel means is 'don't be a doormat' and you can say 'NO' without guilt. I'm a nice person and I treat people with respect. But there are co-workers who ask you out during lunch (when you really want to get some work done) or ask you to help with a group project that the company doesn't care about. I liked my co-workers but I learned to say no. And from my own observation its mostly women who feel guilty about saying no. Or, are resented by other female coworkers for saying 'No' .
Also please note that nowhere in the book does it say 'act like a man' or put style before substance. One reviewer says that a co-worker who 'spoke in a a clear, deliberate manner' just seemed false, and did not know what she is talking about. Well then the main problem was she did not know what she was talking about.
The whole message of the book is to do your work/job as best as you can, and use the power of perception to stand out favorably.
Dr. Frankel was very forthright and honest in her writing and assessments. It was a breath of fresh air to read this book. There isn't much in the book that many seasoned professionals may not already be aware of. However, it gives a name to concepts and situations, and adds context and perspective. I have two copies, one is a loner. I revisit this book often as a reminder and a personal reassessment to ensure I am staying true and consistent with my goals.
UPDATED OCTOBER 29, 2013
This is still a great book. I have since met many of my professional goals and set some new ones. I enjoy and am grateful for being able to revisit this book.