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THE SECRET THOUGHTS OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN by Valerie Young

THE SECRET THOUGHTS OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN

Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

By Valerie Young

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-45271-9
Publisher: Crown Business

A former marketing executive investigates the complex emotional response women have when dealing with success.

Using a collection of anecdotes and reinforced stereotypes, Young reveals the secret trepidations many women feel about success. She begins by sharing the fears of talented individuals like Meryl Streep, who once confided in a reporter, “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?” This approach is often engaging, but Young relies too heavily on other people’s stories to carry her message. The author’s personal history is much more relevant to the crux of her mission. The “secrets” she unveils are all fairly obvious—e.g., “you are responsible for yourself”—and are repeated frequently throughout the book without further development. Young includes a series of interactive questions, some of which are useful, but most are overly simplistic and lack originality. While the focus of the book is women and self-esteem, too often Young makes unnecessary and unsubstantiated statements—e.g., “Despite all the gains women have made, the essential truth remains: if you are pale or male, you are presumed competent until proven otherwise.” The author’s generalizations about women often overshadow the lessons she endeavors to provide. Unfortunately, the author saves her most interesting idea until the final pages.

Provides little insight on how to re-evaluate your self-worth.