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Book Review: “How Women Rise”

Despite being an avid reader my whole life, I have never been one to read any sort of self-help or self-development types of books. But, after taking part in a future female leaders development program through work, I can say that there is a book I would recommend for every working female who wants to grow to read — “How Women Rise” by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith.

Helgesen is a Women’s Leadership Expert and Goldsmith is the bestselling author of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Here is my review of “How Women Rise.”

Book Review: “How Women Rise”

If you are a young female wanting to grow and progress her career, this book is for you. Helgesen and Goldsmith have both trained thousands of high achievers, of both genders, so they have seen it all — the good and the bad.

Because of this, they have seen firsthand the different roadblocks that women face in the working world than men do, which is how they are able to figure out these specific 12 habits, as they kept happening across the female they were working with.

One thing that stood out from the beginning was the conversational tone the book takes. You are not being told everything you need to do to succeed; instead, it feels more like a conversation you are having with the authors, with them sharing their stories with you and you reading the stories of others.

The book explore the 12 habits that a lot of females tend to have (well, maybe not all 12, but some of them!) that are keeping them back from that next level, next promotion, next raise, or next job. At first I was skeptical as to if these habits would resonate with me, but after reading them, I could either directly relate, or know of a female colleague of mine who could directly relate, to them all. They really are on point.

The twelve habits discussed in the book are:

  • Reluctance to Claim Your Achievements
  • Expecting Others To Spontaneously Notice and Reward Your Contributions
  • Overvaluing Expertise
  • Building Rather than Leveraging Relationships
  • Failing to Enlist Allies from Day One
  • Putting Your Job Before Your Career
  • The Perfection Trap
  • The Disease to Please
  • Minimizing
  • Too Much
  • Ruminating
  • Letting Your Radar Distract You

Now that you know all 12 habits, you do not need to read the book! Just kidding. The above is just a quick look at the habits the majority of working women can fall into.

But the elaboration of each habit is the part that really gets you thinking and relating to that specific habit. The authors share specific stories for each habit of a working female falling into one of the habits and how she overcame it. (All names are changed, of course).

The stories shared involve women of different organizations, locations, cultures, ethnicities, and struggles, truly giving a well-rounded perspective of how these habits can resonate with us all.

By reading how others have fallen into these habits, you may see similarities to experiences that you yourself have had — I know that I did.

Sharing a specific, real story for each habit made the book real to me; rather than just being told that these are 12 things I should not be doing, the authors showed me a real workplace example of how we do these habits and how they hold us back. They also showed us a solution of how we can begin to overcome these habits and break them.

As a young(er) woman in the world of corporate America, this book really taught me a lot from the get-go.

I not only read it quickly, but went back and took notes on the specific habits (especially those that I resonated with) to write down in my notebook (I don’t know about you, but I remember much better when I physically write something down!).

I look back at it often, as a reminder to myself of what not to do and what I should be prioritizing. It also serves as a reminder that I need to be proactive myself if I want to grow professionally, and the things that I should do to help me do so.

I would recommend this book again and again to any young females out there who have the hunger to grow and to one day lead. The sooner you break the habits that could be holding you back, the quicker you are able to progress.

One surprising learning experience from the book is that the habits that help young females when their careers are first starting can hinder them as they move up in their careers and become more seasoned. We are always evolving and always learning, remember that, and this book will be a great way for you to continue to grow and develop professionally.

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.