ACTING UP by Janice Bryant  Howroyd

ACTING UP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A longtime business owner shares methods and advice for entrepreneurs at all levels.

In this book, Howroyd (The Art of Work, 2009) discusses the principles and techniques that she used to build a multinational staffing agency. With a combination of anecdotes and exposition, the author guides readers through questions of leading, risk-taking, developing confidence, and networking, among other topics—some of which are unexpected, such as the importance of always having a fully charged cellphone. The volume discusses the significance of data-driven and strategic business decisions (“You’re dispensable unless you’re so necessary to the client’s business that they can’t function without you”) and encourages readers to take a holistic approach to making the most of both their professional and personal lives. One of the work’s particular strengths is its approach to diversity; Howroyd writes about being a black female entrepreneur while also urging readers not to define her by demographics. Sections on resiliency and respect in the workplace are particularly well done. The book’s easy, conversational tone makes for an enjoyable reading experience. The author’s voice blends down-home humor (many stories from her North Carolina childhood appear throughout the text along with descriptions of her high-powered work life) and professional sophistication (“Self-discipline you own. Self-discipline isn’t federally regulated. It isn’t taxed. You don’t need anyone’s permission”). Asides—“Mama Says,” featuring tips from her mother; “Janicisms,” delivering Howroyd’s key insights (“You lead people; you manage processes”); and “The Art of Bernie,” showcasing her husband’s advice—appear in callout boxes throughout the text. Several of the author’s mnemonics (“Our employees live by their F.E.E.T.”) may be too cutesy for some readers, but others will likely appreciate the structure for presenting memorable concepts. The volume will be most useful for readers in search of big-picture business counsel presented in an open-ended format that offers few concrete answers but plenty of inspiration, motivation, and starting points for self-awareness. Howroyd’s passion for work and well-defined voice combine to make an effective vehicle for valuable information.

A well-written and insightful business memoir that informs with humor and thoughtfulness.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5445-0456-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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