Wednesday, March 21, 2012
BOOK REVIEW: NO EXCUSES
By Gloria Feldt. Hardcover, 381 pages. Seal Press, 2010
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This is truly a women's book. Its subtitle is 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. I was honored when Mrs. Feldt asked me to read it. I would love to see more women in positions of power; I think male and female leadership styles can balance each other out. This book is an instruction manual for women to claim their power. According to Feldt, the only thing stopping women from having more power is their reluctance to do so. Men have always taken power for granted, she argues. The time has come for women to do the same.
The book bears repeated reading, because it does so many things. It provides an outline of women's history. Feldt shares her personal history as an example of what can happen when a woman decides to take charge of her life. She critiques women's websites that purport to empower women by convincing them to buy things. She relays interviews with women who have founded companies, given money to charity, and brought about change.
The biggest lesson I took from this book is the difference between what Feldt calls power over and power to. Men in leadership roles typically have power over those under them. But women's power is the power to solve problems together. I prefer the latter, because power over always causes more problems than it solves. Since reading this book, I have tried to think and make decisions more like a woman, from a power to dynamic. This book is part of my training.
Although the book is meticulously researched, with an extensive bibliography, Feldt never lapses into dry academic language. Her voice is friendly, inviting women and men alike to question their assumptions. Reading this book has helped me understand women and their relationship with power a little better. I recommend it for women who want to improve their careers and relationships, as well as for men who are ready to redefine their gender roles.
Also, after reading this book, I am excited about the possibility of voting for Hilary Clinton in 2016. I hope she runs!