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Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels Hardcover – 29 Mar 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007395922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007395927
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘Karren's story will be an inspiration to women everywhere. She is a champion for women. Her story explains to others how to find that balance between family and being a top business woman at work.’ LORD SUGAR

‘Karren's story shows that with hard work and tenacity it is possible for women to reach the top of any industry and I am sure this book will encourage many more to be ambitious and successful.’ MARTHA LANE FOX

About the Author

Karren Brady began her career at LBC when she was 18 years old and swiftly moved onto Saatchi & Saatchi as junior Account Handler. She joined Sports Newspapers Ltd in 1988 and became Director within a year. She was Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club from 1993 to 2009. In February 1997 the Club launched on the Stock market valued at the time of float at £25,000,000; she was the youngest Managing Director of a PLC in the UK. In January 2010, Karren was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham United FC. Karren is a columnist for The Sun newspaper, one of Sir Alan Sugar's aids on The Apprentice and has written four books.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always admired get up and go and Karren Brady has it in spades. I admired her working style when she originally appeared on The Apprentice, interviewing the candidates (haven't seen it since she took over from Margaret Mountford but I'm sure she's just as good). She never appeared to belittle them, she came across as firm but fair.

I've got to say my interest in her is not the 'make it big in a man's world' it's purely admiration for someone who has achieved in the same way I have an interest in any man who has achieved just as much.

This book is truly inspiring to anyone who wants to work hard and achieve. It is also, I feel, a deterrent to anyone who thinks they can have it all without sheer hard work and determination. In fact, I think Karren Brady displays far more than this. At times I was exhausted just reading the book and the amount of work she undertakes! After finishing the book, I think it fair to say, she goes far way and beyond what most of us would be prepared to do.

I highly recommend this book, it's an excellent autobiography as well as an absolute mine of information regarding good business practice. I think Karren Brady must be one of the best 'Brand' builders out there in the business world today. I'd love her to write a book dedicated purely to this subject, it would be on my pre-order list.

The book is gutsy, I loved it, I think because I share so many of Karren Brady's beliefs, it covers so much -

peoples fear of failure and how overcoming it can be empowering

not satisfied with where things are now she continually wants to improve it

straight talking but not personal - her management style & communication; people know what she wants and more importantly what she expects!
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Normally the word 'sensible' doesn't get you running off to buy a book but it really does sum up Karren and her book. Other words that spring to mind are honest, down-to-earth, realistic and practical. She is definitely a strong woman but this book demonstrates that she is not a bitch and that lots of very hard work and maintaining her dignity throughout has allowed her to thrive in the workplace.

* Part biography (but not too much - just the good bits about what makes her who she is today)
* Part Business journal - great advice and ideas on how to do well in business
* Part Inspirational - I will definitely save this book and pass it on to my girls to read when they are older as I found myself agreeing with nearly all of what she said and she puts it over in such a way that made me think - "Yes! I totally understand where you are coming from"
* Brutually honest throughout - not many famous women are willing to state that they haven't done everything right and they've made mistakes both in their personal life and work life too but Karren does so I really warmed to her through these omissions
* Very unemotional - which was interesting but the more I thought of about it and the more I read about her, it was very understanding given the very male dominated situations she's been in
* Really enjoyed reading about behind the scenes at the Apprentice as I am a massive fan of the show (just wish Karren was allowed to speak more)
Would definitely recommend!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Karren Brady writes this book as she speaks; it is authentic to her voice. She comes across as determined, single minded, impressive and yet rather cold and unsympathetic. She repeatedly uses the word relentless and this sounds up her approach to life and business - to go at it persistently with all your time and energy into you get what you want. She admires logic and avoid emotion, and there is almost no reflection about why she did what she did in the book or empathy for anyone else. She has learnt to be super self sufficient and unemotional,so that must be best for everyone.

She finds it unthinkable that people would turn off their work mobile phone or want to have a life outside work, and although she talks about balancing work with family life it is clear family doesn't get much of that pie. She goes to bed at 8 pm and works away from home several nights a week and does work on weekends too. In her early career she appears quite manipulative, telling lies to get in with the important people, and her friends and allies are not people I would hold up as role models! Similarly the aggression she describes in herself and her grandmother is worrying rather than impressive.

The book is also very dated to 2012 and her preoccupation with getting the Olympic stadium for West Ham.

So overall it is what is said on the tin, but I'd be very sad if this is a role model for women in business, as I think we have many strengths to offer that don't involve beating men at their own game but allow us to be warm and compassionate as well as driven, and show these traditional board room men there are better ways to do things.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the first chapter which was full of incredibly sensible and down-to-earth advice about women succeeding in their chosen career. Genuinely wise and full of common sense. She writes very well about women as parents and how they have to balance the burden of raising children with their work commitments. My wife died when my children were young, so I can confirm that even some men have those problems.

The second chapter was about Karen's early days. How entrpreneurs are risk takers and hard workers. Hard work was emphasised a LOT. Almost every paragraph emphasised this point. Nothing at all wrong with that. If you want to succeed in anything, hard work will give you a much better chance.

What I found depressing was that Karen seemed genuinely pleased with herself when recounting how in her first day at school she pushed a boy out of the chair he was sitting in saying,"that's my chair." She also talks about her grandmother getting out of her car and punching other drivers in the nose if they were perceived to have cut her up, and how she was "always pushing me to the front of the queue".

Now my synmpathies are with the poor kid pushed out of his chair, the other motorists physically assaulted and the people who waited in the queue. We've all probably done (I certainly have) similarly unpleasant things in our lives but regret them and learn the lesson that other people count too.

I stopped reading at this point so maybe Karen goes on to say that actually the world isn't all me, me, me. I hope so but I didn't want to waste the time it takes to read the whole book to find myself disappointed.
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