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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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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!

confidence comes from absolute attention to detail and complete knowledge, she knows every facet of every business she is involved in

understand who you are and what you want out of life

planning, process and structure

energy, energy, energy!!

loyalty, one of my personal favourites

too many petty politics - isn't the world just too full of those

"I hate people who critise but can't come up with an alternative", oh I so agree with that quote

And finally the book finishes with the very wise words of Calvin Coolidge, the former US President. A GEM.
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on 8 May 2012
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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on 18 December 2014
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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on 12 June 2016
I actually really enjoyed this book. Not too taxing. Written in a very readable way. I'm not a big fan of Karren Brady per se but thought it would be interesting to get some background to her success. It's refreshing for someone to be so straight forward and honest. We can all achieve. We're all equal - men, women, university educated, state school, boarding school - but the thing I found most refreshing was her straight forward manner with regard to women/children/careers. The 'original feminists' of the seventies told us we could have it all. Well, OK, maybe we can but we have to make choices and then get on with things. If (as women) we want to work twenty hours a day then we are going to have to have good child care so make the decision, sort the child care and then get on with your life. Don't beat yourself up about it. If you need to get something done at work and get home to find that the house needs a clean. Well; you can't do everything so the cleaning will have to wait. I found her honestly and sensibility very refreshing. Probably won't set your world on fire but was an interesting read all the same.
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on 11 September 2012
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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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I must admit that I am not fond of autobiographies - all those pages of minutia regarding the childhoods of now famous people does not hold my interest for long.

I ordered this book because I like watching Karren on the Apprentice AND because as a woman in a management role in a male dominated workplace, I thought it would be interesting. I nearly didn't order it though because I thought it would be very football laden and I am not at all interested in football.

I am so glad I got this book - I read it all in one day because it was such a good read. I really like the style of the book, it focuses on what Karren is known for the most - business, it is not full of famous people frippery or tittle tattle, it is a serious book written in a very interesting way. I actually found the book really inspirational, it gave me a lot of food for thought about the way I conduct myself at work - for instance, I have felt guilty for my quick promotions at work and will play down any praise I am given because I always feel that it is a bit unbecoming for a woman to be ambitious, Karren turns that around and puts such a positive spin on it.

My husband has now read the book and he also really enjoyed it and now my father in law is reading it, so that tells you something.

I was left with the overall impression that I wish I could work for Karren Brady she knows how to run a business, she talks a lot of sense and she knows how to value her staff! Lessons for most managers in this book!
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on 28 June 2012
I got this book because I was interested how Karren manages a successful career and a family. This is the first 'celebrity biography' I have read and perhaps the style is common to this genre, but I found it repetitive, meandering and quite cringey in parts. Although I appreciate plain-speaking, there wasn't enough personality and sparkle. I am all for hard work too but in Karren's case, I wasn't clear what all these endless hours were actually for: rather than empowered, Karren appears trapped by her own mindset. She is very impressive in terms of what she has achieved and is no doubt an inspiration to many (for that I'll give her 3 stars) - but the book wasn't for me.
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on 29 March 2016
I've always liked Karren Brady, from her days running Birmingham Football Club and then to her current roles working on the Apprentice and at West Ham. This book is great, and really inspiring. It follows her childhood and she explains exactly how she got to where she is now - essentially through good old-fashioned hard work, and also being a bit cheeky too to win contracts. She talks about her management style which is really practical advice for anyone in business, both male and female. But she does talk about what it's like to be a woman at the top of a company, which I find fascinating. Her health issues are also covered which sound terrifying, but again she deals with them in a very practical way.

I would recommend this highly for all, but particularly for young people starting out in their careers. I think a lot of people think that success comes easy, but it doesn't; it takes hard work but if you're prepared to do that, and take the occasional risk, then the rewards are there for the taking.
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I have long been a fan of Karren Brady since she made an appearance on the apprentice. A successful woman, who also comes across as very genuine. I was aware she had been involved in football but I looked forward to finding out more.

It was great. Such a refreshing change to read an autobiography that wasn't set out in time, but more in subject. I thought this made it so easy to read. It was almost like Karren was sat next to you! She has some funny stories to tell, as well as giving some great advice. She really is passionate about giving women the opportunity to get along in business - we should be giving her all the support we can!

It wasn't quite a five star read as the first chapter did put me off. It just came across as a bit preachy. However, stick with it as it's a cracking read there on in. The one piece of advice that grated on me slightly was 'just get some courage and give up your boring job.' It's not about courage, it's about paying the bills!

Having said that, a cracking read which I would highly recommend x
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on 27 June 2015
Update on 13.06.2015

I have now read the first four chapters and I am very impressed with the writing and the inspiration she emits from the book!

27.06.2015

I have been a bit late updating this review, but I finished the book while on holiday! This book talks really the journey she has taken through life to how she go to the position she is today. Shows how you need to work hard, with sheer grit and determination. Loves how the book talks about issues she has come across in her personnel life, such as her aneurysm and motherhood, as well as her business life.

The book is a well written no-nonsense and inspirational book! There is something in the book for everyone!
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