4 out of 4 stars
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"Never eliminate yourself."
These wise words were spoken to Anne Doyle, one of the first female television sports broadcasters in the nation, by her father during a period in Anne's life when she really needed to hear them. Now, through her thought-provoking and inspirational book, Anne Doyle passes those words of wisdom along to us, the readers, as well as a slew of other timely and pertinent information. Powering Up! is a nonfiction book that can act as road map or a guidebook for women looking to break into the arena of leadership. The book itself is broken up into three parts, with each part further divided into thirteen chapters altogether.
Part one of the book discusses who we are generationally as women achievers. Each of the three generations discussed have been influenced by very distinct cultural values, as well as by the work environments typical of that particular decade. Anne Doyle has named these three generational achievers the Pioneering Interlopers, Influential Insiders, and I'll-Do-It-My-Way Innovators. The Interlopers are primarily Baby Boomers along with some Traditionalists. Examples include women such as Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. The Insiders tend to be part of the Generation X. Examples of women in this category include our Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Sheryl Sandberg. The Innovators include our Millennials or Generation Y. Examples here include Danica Patrick and Lady Gaga. Part two covers where we are when it comes to leadership. The two issues discussed here are how women continue to hold each other back, and the importance of the role of men. These are issues many women mentioned as critical to our upward momentum. Part three of Anne Doyle's book delves into the seven steps achievers need to take in order to break into leadership positions. These steps are as follows: Discover Your Purpose; Raise Your Voice; Break the Rules; Claim Power; Drink at Dangerous Waters; Get Back in the Saddle; and Womaninity. Each step is given its own chapter for proper discussion and explanation.
For this book, Anne Doyle draws from her own personal experiences, as well as from the experiences of the plethora of women she has interviewed over time - 125 women, to be exact, by the end of her original field research. It had become Anne's mission to pass along the insight gained about becoming effective leaders - insight that women can only gain from one another. Anne begins each chapter with a quote, and ends with a bullet point summary of what the reader should have picked up through the reading. She offers personal tips, whether from herself or others, and provides outside resources to expand our knowledge, such as the names of other books that would be helpful to us along our journey. She really took the time to make this book more than just your typical leadership manual. It is my opinion that she created something really special here - a call to action that I hope is answered.
Powering Up! is not only an insightful look into how far we have already come as women achievers, but also how far we still need to go as leaders. I found this book to be both sobering and inspirational at the same time. I was shocked when i read that, compared to other developed countries, the United States in 2016 ranked 46th out of 144 nations in reference to the Global Gender Gap Index. In relation to the percentage of women in national elected office, the United States ranks 73rd. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though, and Anne Doyle has provided us with some of the tools necessary to reach that light. This motivational and easy to read book is not to be stacked in your library to gather dust. It is to be kept in your tool box, where you can access it easily and often.
One of the things I like most about this book, is the picture of equality that is painted of all women. Oftentimes, I will read a leadership article or other text that down plays women who stay at home for years before returning to the work force, as if prioritizing family is a bad thing, when it truly is not. Or, I will read something that does not shine a positive light on women of a certain age, appearance, or political affiliation. Anne Doyle seems an advocate and ally of all women, and she in fact encourages us to work together in the work force, rather than viewing each other as competition. She stresses that, when one of us rises, we all rise. Another little facet of this book that I enjoyed was the list of movies about women towards the back, amongst the acknowledgements and endnotes. It is quite a comprehensive list, and I look forward to watching and re-watching some of those included in the list.
There are a ton of leadership books on the market today. What makes this particular book different, is simply that it is not written by a man. Nor is it based on the experiences and values of a man. Women should no longer model themselves and their leadership styles after men, at least not if we want to finally tap into our full leadership potential. Anne Doyle's timely book inspires women to think bigger than the individual self. The stories included are memorable, and the messages powerful. I thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat and honest words of Anne Doyle, and have no problem rating this book 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book to those aspiring women who have the ambition to take the next steps into leadership, and for the men who wish to support and understand these aspiring women. Powering Up! would also make a great graduation gift for both our sons and our daughters. I hope you will add this book to your tool box, and join others in powering up!
POWERING UP! 3rd Edition (released Sept. 2017)
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