I desperately wanted to get my hands on any book that discussed the accumulating role of female leadership in executive levels in successful global firms. Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Andrea Jung of Avon, and Irene Rosenfield of Kraft Foods are among the world’s powerful women. How, though, did they get there and how have they been contributing to their companies since? Unfortunately, not a lot of books have been written on female executive roles. There isn’t much information on how Indra Nooyi even got to being PepsiCo’s CEO.
I sadly failed to find anything close to numb my curiosity. But I came across this book. Gail Evans was apparently a director at CNN (but she’s not even listed on Wikipedia…) and wrote this book, Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman, for aspiring female leaders, like myself. It outlines how to survive tough business environments & how to compete against your male colleagues. Having only a few years in the corporate world, I thought it could possibly be helpful. So I picked it up. I quickly read through the book and, boy, did I put myself in a pickle. (The pickle because I couldn’t argue back at a book…) I was disturbed by how sexist and biased all her advice was. Although a select few of her guidelines are helpful tips to fight the storm, points like “men can cry, women cannot at work” pissed me off. It’s true, when women cries, managers think we’re just being a bit emotional but apparently when men cries, the rarity invites managers to become sympathetic: “Something must be wrong with him” as opposed to “She’s PMS-ing again”. We do have to put on a stronger game face and try to lure our ideas to groups of men but still, I just thought it was unfair for her to pick on that.
The format of the book is interesting; it does depict real, everyday situations and Evans proposes her solution subsequently. For instance, “Situation: The boss has ten minutes in which to hear two short presentations. His move: He gives his report loudly and clearly in less than five minutes. Her move: In a barely audible voice, she talks for almost a quarter of an hour. Advice? Speak up.”
I really hope Gail Evans didn’t become an exec by doing the stuff she wrote. Talk about selling yourself… If you’re up for some silly humor of what women and men can & cannot do at work, read it. Otherwise, toss it.
dee’s recommendation: 2/5