"Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy" is as enjoyable to read as it is needed today. Amidst the horrific stories about sexism and worse in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Magdalena Yesil provides hope, inspiration and pragmatic advice to women seeking to build careers in and around technology. Actually, Yesil's wisdom could be applied to any professional career.
By sharing her own career and personal stories, Yesil will help generations of women learn from her successes and her mistakes. Yesil also shares stories from other successful women, and they provide a wide perspective on everything from navigating difficult moments (should a woman risk being a bitch?) to addressing how to balance motherhood and a big career. "Power Up" encourages women to support each other and touches on the very current topic of harassment in technology in a pragmatic and thoughtful way. Yesil suggests we try to be like water - flowing easily past obstacles. It is a great metaphor I intend to internalize.
Let me start off by saying Magdalena Yesil’s book Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy is not the type of book that I would normally read. A friend recommended Power Up and I decided to give it a try. I was surprised when I was immediately drawn into the story of Magdalena’s early life. This book has something for everyone. Are you searching for your first job? Possibly thinking about leaving your current job to start up a new company? Maybe you are a parent re-entering the workforce after a childcare leave. Have a gap in your resume? These are some of the topics Magdalena discusses in Power Up. This is not a dry, boring text book; rather it is about a woman who has worked diligently and experienced all the workplace situations that one may encounter. Magdalena’s honest appraisal of some of these experiences and her no nonsense examples of how to deal with them are invaluable. Magdalena references other successful women and men using examples of their successes and mishaps in their rise in the world of Business. Magdalena’s generosity in sharing her wisdom about what works and does not work in today’s workplace is invaluable. In fact, in my opinion, her advice applies no matter what path you are following in life.
Though the subtitle of “Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy” clearly highlights an emphasis on women, let me begin by saying that this is a book that everyone (both men and women) will greatly benefit from reading. As a male, early-stage tech company founder, I found Ms. Yesil’s personal story highly inspirational, and her hard-earned professional advice directly applicable to my goal of trying to build a strong and diverse team.
On the inspirational side, Yesil tells the story of a young woman from Turkey arriving in the United States with little more than a couple of suitcases but armed with a keen intellect and a highly-adaptable spirit. After turning down an early job offer from the two Steves (Jobs and Wozniak), she found herself in the male maelstrom of Jerry Sanders’s AMD (I’ll let you read the book to learn about some of the outrageous goings-on there). It was at this point that Yesil realized that the key to her future would be “gravitas” — the combination of dignity and seriousness that allows a person to gain power and control.
The rest, as they say, is history, including Yesil’s more-than-pivotal role in the founding of Salesforce, a story about which Yesil shares considerable insider lore (which was particularly fun to read). Throughout the book, Yesil delves into lessons from not only her own personal experiences, but also those of more than two dozen other female tech pioneers. The result is a tightly-woven series of insights and practical information that never devolves into an “us versus them” narrative. Instead, Yesil offers a refreshingly positive approach about how we can all share and leverage each other’s best talents and experience.
Yesil’s very personal and engaging style makes this an entertaining and informative read. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
So many great learnings and stories in PowerUp. I've read a great number of women's leadership books, and Magdalena's approach is the most helpful and practical I've read, including practical points such as:
- Credit isn't usually given, it's taken. You can self promote without bragging--think of yourself as a thoughtful communicator who can tell a compelling story with yourself in an award-winning role. Otherwise, someone else might tell your story for your, and depending on their vantage, bias and agenda, you may not feature well in it.
- When negotiating your pay, ask to see where your salary falls vis a vis other executives.
- Sometimes another woman can be your worst enemy when she sees you as a competitor, deflect by radiating the attitude "this is not an issue" and "let my work speak for itself."
- Female networks are good, but be sure to include men as well.
- But she also recognizes that male-female networking and relationship is harder after people marry, have kids, people start to gossip, etc. She shares how she had dinner with her to-be co-founder's wife to allay her concerns about her husband collaborating with a woman half his age. She respected his wife for taking the initiative and being open about her reasons for wanting to have dinner.
- Women try too hard to be perfect, which is a mistake. Her own belief that she had to be "perfect," led to Magdalena quitting the Salesforce board when she was faced with uncertain health issues.
Thank you Magdalena for sharing your experiences (and those of others) in this practical, action-oriented book!
This book is a great read and truly awe inspiring! Not only is it well written but it’s full of stories that so many women can relate to working in a male dominated industry. Magdalena shares the highs and lows of both her personal and professional journey as an immigrant to her progression and rise in her professional career.
She highlights the obstacles that have confronted her and other women and provides some practical and actionable advice on how to handle oneself when faced with similar situations. While this is a book written about women for women, a lot of what’s in this book can be applicable to anyone navigating and growing their career.
There are so many valuable lessons and take aways in this book, and how lucky we are to have such great female leaders really setting the bar so high! Magdalena has charted her own course when there wasn’t a road map for women to follow. Thank you for sharing your journey and your story and the stories of so many other great female leaders.
I value Magdalena's viewpoints and appreciate her sharing her experiences with us.
I've been a self-employed, hard working mother for 25+ years and naturally found myself drawn to two chapters of the book: Chapter 3 "You Have More Power Than You Think" provides very important points relevant to today's female work climate/culture. With women finding their power to finally speak their truth I am confident women of any age will find Magdalena's experiences and discussion relatable. Her point SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS A CRIME is direct, sharp and accurate. She details ways to address it and I find her advice on this matter fitting today.
I'm also thankful Magdalena shared her experiences in Chapter 7 "Guilt and Other Challenges of Working Parenthood". This is a subject every one of my (not just female) friends struggles with. In today's workforce, it seems there is a requirement to be engaged and dialed in (via email, text or working remotely) 24/7. The line between work hours and family hours is increasingly blurry. By simply acknowledging this and addressing it with her "Family Saturdays At The Office" and outlining "work at home" proposals and expectations, she has empowered the reader to envision and plan for balancing work and family life.
I am excited to purchase this book for the young women in my life so they can learn (as I did) from Magdalena's experiences. I look forward to reading more from Magdalena in the future!
Great read, plain and simple. I've read many business books ranging from general leadership to technical drill down for execution, and Power UP covers it all. Specifically though, Power UP reads like a memoir of a family member that you can't wait to see, and delivers practical, fresh business sense without even knowing it. The way that Yesil delivers her own real world experiences in truthful, unfiltered plain words is very refreshing, especially in the technology business sector where buzzwords and "cool speak" is so important. It's very refreshing and the basic, easy read format is inspiring for me to do more of it in practice in my business. Lastly, its genuinely thought provoking and inspiring the way women's rights and issues are addressed. As a father of a teenage daughter, I am thrilled to now have a guidebook like Power Up for her to read before embarking on any meaningful career path. It's an absolute "must read" for her, as well as any female under 30 with business aspirations. And a "highly recommended" read for all others wanting inspiration, encouragement, and insight to improving their business growth and value.
This is one of the best business books I have ever read. I have to be honest that with most books I am excited for 1/3 book, push through 1/3 and then never read the 1/3. I honestly could not put this book down. Magdalena writes in such an interesting style that I was hooked from beginning to end. I was attending a big networking summit when I read the book and found myself quoting the book so often to people and using some of Magdalena's wisdom to help me get more from myself and the event. Genuinely one of the best books for women on the market. Pragmatic, honest, authentic and genuine advice that is easy to follow. I would highly recommend this book!
Great guidance for how to present your best self and manage the complexities of our evolving workplace. The book is full of quotes and information from interviews with other seasoned professional women, giving different viewpoints. Overall, a very inspirational book, especially for women trying to advance in competitive fields of work. We need women like Magdalena as leaders to push the frontier forward!
In this time of negative news around working in any male oriented industry, it is wonderful to find a book from a woman entrepreneur who successfully navigated the tech industry all the way to the top with practical insightful advice on how she did it. An amazing woman with an amazing career. This book is good news for anyone looking for career advice in almost any career.
I wish I had this book earlier in my career as someone who has navigated both the tech world and the entertainment world. Yesil's advice is not just for women. I think it applies to anyone trying to get a foothold and succeed in any unfamiliar ego driven environment, not just tech. Yesil shows you the way to power thru many of the situations everyone encounters in their career and provides straight forward tips and instructions to use throughout. It will definitely help, especially when you need a dose of self confidence and advice to get you thru the hard times because the forces around feel like they are and actually could be conspiring against you.