What's Holding You Back?: 8 Critical Choices for Women's Success

Linda Austin, Author
Linda Austin, Author Basic Books $25 (230p) ISBN 978-0-465-03262-4
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-465-03263-1
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Well-crafted and accessible, this study of the psychology of female ambition is sure to spark discussion about women's choices and the way society allocates power. A psychiatry professor and host of the nationally syndicated talk show What's On Your Mind? Austin points to figures showing that, despite 30 years of feminism, women generally have not attained the same levels of leadership as men when it comes to doctoral degrees and top-level jobs. Prompted by the attitudes of her students at the Medical University of South Carolina--where women tend to express their ambitions in multidimensional terms (i.e., to be great mothers and doctors) while men usually have a singular purpose (to be great physicians)--Austin began to research what ""psychological issues most determined [women's] ability to achieve"" success. This book combines her findings with abbreviated historical examples and some contemporary cases. Austin identifies eight factors that determine whether women will attain positions of power, and she suggests several reasons why women who are highly empathetic or nurturing hit what she calls the ""psychological glass ceiling."" Among the solutions she recommends are clarifying one's values and writing a vision statement, and carefully analyzing where to focus one's intelligence and other resources. Such advice might be appreciated by women interested in careers or lives that follow a single path, but not by those who want to change the definition of success. (May)
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