Why the Best Man for the Job Is a Woman

Esther Wachs Book, Author
Esther Wachs Book, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-661986-6
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-661989-7
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-186557-2
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Book, a business journalist who has written for Forbes and Working Woman, believes that today's most successful female corporate executives succeed for three reasons--""they are extremely self-confident, they possess a keen sense of customer demands, and they tap into their feminine side to lead."" To support her thesis, Book profiles the working styles of 14 executive women, including eBay's Meg Whitman, Ogilvy & Mather's Shelly Lazarus, Ingram Industries' Martha Ingram and Bain & Company's chairman, Orit Gadiesh. Among the most interesting is Gadiesh, an Israeli-born woman who stayed with Bain after the founder had nearly bankrupted the consulting firm. Gadiesh puts in long hours with her employees, seeing herself as a team member, always building toward her vision of the company. Once, she even gave a presentation with her face bandaged, arriving at a meeting immediately after being in a car accident. While this book's contention that successful women employ uniquely female qualities might generate some publicity, it also invites skepticism. Book's volume may not withstand the scrutiny, principally because the ""female qualities"" of these executives are never clearly defined: being a team player, managing people well and working toward a vision are traits of successful women and men. The author's claim that her subjects don't try to act like men, which according to Book, successful women of the recent past did, feels forced. The profiles are engaging, but the volume never fully delivers on the promise of its title. Agent, Jane Dystel. 25-city NPR morning drive radio tour; 15-city NPR radio tour. (Aug.)
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