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Men are men. Women are women. Right? The matter of gender is easy enough to establish, but in Lois P. Frankel's book, "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers" we learn there are underlying mores and premises to follow if women want to be at the top of a company. These rules are unspoken, but Frankel demystifies the process by which some women hurt their success by playing into the cultural roles prescribed to them growing up.
Frankel presumes most women grew up in a home that oppresses women from growing up into full adults. What may have been true for 1954 is not as true today. However, her challenge is still with merit, and in 2004, it crosses the gender barrier. We men should be taking notes from Frankel. There are plenty of little boys among us who need to work as men.
"Rosie the Riveter" ads during WWII encouraged women into the workplace, but often as factory and shipyard works. There was no "Annie the Accountant" or "Sally the CEO" campaigns. Being all you can be means being more than you were as a child. Frankel helps show how women can be more than little girls in the office place, and garner success as a result.
It is important to note that as much as this is an important book for women who esteem to be seen as professional should read, men also should read it. Not every man has reached his potential, and some fall to the same problems, in a masculine variation, as do some women. Fear, exhibited through the lack of initiative and an overborne, unnecessary kindness, holds many people back.
Objective, straightforwardness is much of what Frankel asserts.
Being professional doesn't mean you need to convert into a stomping intimidator, but it does mean being firm, not wincing when rejection is forthcoming, and thinking about more than immediate relationships. It is about getting the job done well, in concert with others, but never becoming weak while doing it all. You have expertise. You have training. You have what it takes.
Although Frankel is a professional coach, her book itself shows a coach is not needed. You need to be in control of your career, without worrying about the next person. Retain your ethics, your integrity and your aplomb, but it is your job to lead the way through your professional life. No parents, no coach, no friends are responsible for this.
I fully recommend "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers" by Lois P. Frankel. Follow it up with the classic Dale Carnegie book, "How To Win Friends And Influence People," to learn the other side of the professional relationship balance.
Anthony Trendl
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2004
How does a woman undo years of socialization of gender roles while working in business? This is a dilemma that women are facing as they push on the glass ceiling. What if the glass ceiling were as much self-created as part of corporate culture? These are some of the issues that Lois Frankel attempts to address in "Nice Girls."
Her analysis of gender training (such as Nice Girls Aren't Loud) are pretty much what I heard as a child. Yet...what a delicate line women must walk, as being tough is interpreted as bitchiness instead of hard-headed business savvy. So here's the problem; Frankel advises worrying less about being liked, advises apologizing sparingly -- not profusely and frequently, but that isn't the same as permission to have a take-no-prisoners attitude. While occasionally being disliked is going to be hard on women who work cooperatively and not in a hierarchical manner, Frankel explains why niceness may short-circuit the path to a deserved top spot.
While Frankel's book has excellent advice about avoiding subtle but destructive body language and practices like apologizing and making declarative statements into questions, as well as failing to blow one's own horn as needed, there are other books that explain the male-dominated playing field such as "Hardball for Women." It's not enough to understand our own failures to mesh into a world where men pretty much make the rules, it's also important to understand the rules thoroughly. "Rules favor the rulemakers, and when they don't, the rules are changed." Look at the troubles of Carly Fiorina and the attitudes towards Martha Stewart to see some of the pitfalls that can trap someone while following the advice in Frankel's book without understanding all the rules or new rules of behavior.
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on 1 March 2005
Author, coach and psychotherapist Lois P. Frankel explains how traditionally feminine behavior undermines women's career growth. She makes you feel as comfortable as possible while teaching you about "girlish" behavior that holds you back at work. As soon as she describes a problem, she jumps in with doable solutions, some easy, some quite challenging or time-consuming. Frankel shares case histories and offers many applicable techniques. She uses humor deftly and warns the gung-ho not to change everything at once. Now the caveats: Frankel does not grapple with the insoluble problem that women who behave in more forceful, unfeminine ways are often disliked and rejected, a maddening 'Catch 22' if you want to advance. She should warn that even smart tactics rarely help in a truly sexist workplace. She also needs to say that the wish to be liked isn't girlish, feminine or womanly; it is human. Contrary to platitude, other people can hurt and stigmatize you with their verbal abuse or harassment, no matter how strong you are. Still, although she hasn't unraveled every knot, Frankel comes a long way toward helping women diagnose - with a self-assessment checklist - and correct inadvertent mistakes that could be holding them back. We recommend her valuable counsel to women who want to become respected leaders.
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on 20 May 2012
This book's main premise can be summed up very quickly: Nice girls don't get the corner office. In order to get the corner office, quit bein' a girl and start acting like a man.

Lois P Frankel claims she offers girls a way to act like women in the office, but so many of the behaviours she suggests as successful are derived precisely from what men do to get ahead, such as using relationships for your own gain (she calls it quid pro quo). She lists as negative characteristics things which should be listed as positives - ie something for women to teach men - for example having high ethical standards "be the conscience," working hard (rather than smart - I'd say you need both to have done the task properly) and avoiding office politics.

I think Ms Frankel misses the game entirely with this book - women's aim in getting ahead should be to influence the workplace so it suits them, and then get ahead, not alter themselves to look like the workplace's less redeeming features. After all, women are arriving at workplaces in sufficient enough numbers nowadays to have a real impact - as women (or girls) - not as pseudo men.

In short this book is a real disappointment.
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on 21 January 2014
I just read one chapter and did what she said and in two days I already had so much positive results! its unbelievable! We lose the game just because of little mistakes and this book is about them. Start from the 'easy to change' ones and follow it. Very highly recommended.
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on 29 June 2005
I learnt some really interesting facts here - the things women do really are unconscious! I read this book to help with the literature review of my uni dissertation but found it so interesting, I've recommended it to others. I am now much more aware of my own 'unconscious' mistakes and other peoples... Really good book!
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on 25 October 2015
I found myself laughing at some of the points within the book and wondering if people could seriously be like that in the office - but in the weeks to come I seen it from women and men. I found the book to be really helpful - some points you may be aware you are doing and the book can help address how to stop, others you may not even be aware of and the impact of them. I'm into my 3rd year of office life from university - this is definitely worth a read for recent college/university graduates (both male and female!). I personally feel it's a good recommendation for all ages.
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on 7 November 2014
I love this book I am so pleased I bought it having a strong interest in career and having read many books about the business and career world, in general, this book I guarantee will be all you really need to read .
excellent advice self assessment career quiz and all round top class know how and guidance from a world leading career coach .
this book will help you to change and re think area's in your career that could hold you back .
A must read book for career woman as well as woman considering career change or redirection . or those interested in running their own business .
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on 10 March 2013
Not a very British approach, more of a Northern American. But useful to have if you are looking to progress in a finance international environment. do not follow everything religiously. Use common sense and be yourself. 8/10 good.
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on 5 October 2010
I thoroughly recommend you read this book if you are working for a corporation and looking to move up the ladder. From a professional point of view the tips are simple and practical but very effective. From a personal point of view, this book gives you an insight on how people react to the way you behave and why. Some of the examples are a bit "Americanised" but the meaning is nevertheless there. I also think the section on "How you look" is a bit old fashioned.
All in all a really good insightful read.
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