Cover Image: The Man's Guide to Corporate Culture

The Man's Guide to Corporate Culture

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The Man’s Guide to Corporate Culture is not a book I would recommend to men or women, especially men.  I have been a successful corporate professional for 30+ years and I found it difficult to relate to the situations presented in the book.  This book had an off-vibe, in a strange way this book degrades women.  All I have to say, I hope the men I work with DO NOT read this book.

Special thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy of The Man’s Guide to Corporate Culture.
Was this review helpful?
Overly long and repetitive, The Man's Guide to Corporate Culture isn't something that I'd recommend to men or women. The situations described aren't ones that I can relate to as someone who has taken part in the corporate culture and most of the tips are incredibly obvious; Some are as basic as don't talk about sex at work and don't 'stare below the neckline' of women. While I'm sure there are some men who would need to be told this, they'd not be the ones reading this book.

Inconsistency is a big problem with this book. It often says one thing and then later negates it with conflicting advice or a situation that shows the previous advice doesn't work. While advice won't work for every situation, it presents it as fact and then never comments on the fact that what was previously advised didn't work or how to deal with such situations.

There are some redeeming factors. It's written in a simple and easy-to-understand way. It's certainly aimed towards it's target audience of men too, taking care to speak as if on the side of men. With that said, it often comes across as patronising or dishonest.
Was this review helpful?
This is one of the most relevant books of the now. It is entitled "The Man's Guide" but it is also a must read for women in the workplace. It gives a balanced view of both sides and the author shares sound practical tips to co-exist harmoniously at work. This should be shared in employee orientations and management workshops. It's essentially a handbook for Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace.
Was this review helpful?
So much of this is written like it’s still the 80’s and that is depressing. Here’s a quote from the beginning of the book, “Through real-world examples, experiences, and extensive research, this book will provide insight and ideas to help you work more collaboratively with women. It will help you to think differently, to not only survive but thrive in the inclusive corporate culture.” Women have been a normal part of the workforce for like...sixty or seventy years, right? Surely we’re not still acting like this is a new thing?

Honestly, I haven’t experienced too much of what the author is addressing, at least not to my knowledge. I’ve never had a male coworker seem scared to interact with me, or had anyone say anything to me about not knowing how to interact with women, but I’ve also never had a stuffy corporate job in a male dominated field. I HAVE however been sexually harassed, and I don’t feel like those dudes would benefit from this book because I 100% believe they knew they were crossing the line and they just didn’t care.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t know anyone who would benefit from this book, but I believe the author does, and that’s super depressing. To me this book kind of comes across like it was written for 80’s business men, and I see the author works for Fox News so I guess that makes sense.

I do think there’s a small demographic of men who genuinely just want to be told, very explicitly, how to behave. I personally think this book goes a bit far, like it legit tells men not to manspread. I’m not personally too concerned about manspreading in the workplace. I also wasn’t aware that high fives are considered a display of dominance, but okay. But a bigger issue is I think a lot of the advice is contradictory and confusing which is exactly what I imagine the intended audience doesn’t need.

Also, there are moments where the advice is more about being a good employee by the author’s standards, and loosely fits with the theme of the chapter, if it fits at all. Like in the chapter “The Secret Rules to Successful Work with Women” there’s a whole section on dressing for success that has nothing to do with working with women, it’s just more of a “hey guys, pro-tip dress for the job you want not the job you have.”

I also found some of the advice to be...questionable. Like at one point she says if your female boss gives you a “nasty critique” you should just say thank you. I’ve had several abusive female bosses and I feel like you shouldn't have to thank someone for treating you like garbage. I mean, if you just want to smooth things over I guess that’s the way to go, but she just spent all this time talking about reducing resentment and hostility in the workplace and being honest when you have a problem and then turns around and is like, “Just kiss your female bosses ass and bend over backwards to make her feel good.”

Of course she goes on to say that most female managers have no clue that a male employee is disgruntled and it’s up to men to voice their concerns. You know, it’s a failure of men to communicate and if they don’t it might harm their careers. And it’s like well, you just said in several different ways that men should suck it up to make their female boss comfortable so...that sounds like a recipe for resentment. The advice is confusing. I honestly have no idea what the author thinks men should do.

This book hits on the same points over and over again, such as avoiding eating alone with female coworkers, but the actual advice is all over the place. Like for example she gives a long example of a man who took his assistant out to dinner and he was 100% appropriate with her and then he got accused by HR of sleeping with her and it was a whole nightmare scenario, but then later she says, “If you’re polite, considerate, and professional, you have nothing to fear in a one-on-one dinner or lunch.” Well, you have HR to fear. You just very explicitly said so in the previous chapter.

There’s also a lot in here that feels sexist. Like the author is basically saying “Women ARE super sensitive and indirect about their thoughts and feelings and you should take that into account when dealing with them and change your whole way to functioning to make them comfortable.” UHH. I wish I’d highlighted it, but there was something in here about basically communicating like a woman does when dealing with a woman (ie. beat around the bush and be indirect) and I hated it so much. Everyone should be more direct and upfront. EVERYONE. It’s not a “male” way of operating, it’s a logical way of operating, and we shouldn’t do things a worse way because it’s how “women” do it. And it’s not how “women” do it! It’s how people who suck at communicating do it. If that happens to be how most women operate...we should stop encouraging women to operate that way. The solution definitely isn’t to also encourage men to act that way.

Here’s a weak example of what I mean, she suggests “complimenting” a woman by saying, “You colored your hair!” instead of “I love your hair color, it’s hot!” Listen, “You colored your hair” is not a compliment. It's an observation. That’s like saying “you have teeth” and thinking that’s a compliment. Why yes, I do have teeth, thank you? And she gives this advice after insisting that women LOVE COMPLIMENTS (and chivalry!) and therefore you should compliment them a lot. You could just say "I love your hair color!" Just leave off the part where you come on to them and say it’s hot. BAM, it’s now a normal human interaction.

Also, if you exclaimed “You colored your hair!” after I dyed my hair, I would definitely think you hated it and couldn’t come up with a better reaction.

Perhaps a better example is when she says if women are complaining about their problems they don’t want their problems solved they just want to vent. Uhh, okay. We’re talking about the workplace here, right? It seems kind of unprofessional to treat your coworkers like your therapist. And at another point later, when explaining rule #11 “listen actively”, she literally gives the advice “Pretend you are a therapist listening to a client.” Lookit, if you are in a high paying corporate job, you can hire an actual therapist. Your coworker is not your therapist. Your therapist is your therapist. If I come to you complaining about a problem it’s because I want to brainstorm how to solve it. If I want to vent I’ll go to my friends outside work.

I honestly feel like there’s like this weird double standard with this book that men need to be VERY professional, but women don’t and that men need to adjust to women acting immature in the office because that’s what inclusion means.

This honestly feels like a weird dating book. Except you’re trying to woo a woman you can’t and shouldn’t want to have sex with. The author spends a lot of time talking about things like holding doors open and giving compliments and practicing chivalry. It’s basically a “how to” on how to coddle for your female coworkers. And it’s like yes, don’t make sex jokes or touch them inappropriately. Plenty of this advice is very obvious and totally correct. But this book takes it to a “change your tone of voice and speak gently to them” place that I really don’t like. I don’t like this “men and women communicate differently” thing. It’s either okay to say something a certain way or it’s not. The gender of the person you’re talking to shouldn’t matter. (Which is a point the author even makes herself, but then contradicts.)

Another way this book really reinforces gender differences is with statements like, “The ability to make good eye contact is a social skill that a lot of men in the corporate world seem to be struggling with today. It’s actually a scientific fact - the higher level of testosterone a fetus is exposed to in the womb, the less eye contact the infant makes.” I found this to be an odd point to make. I looked up the study, and while I didn’t scrutinize it super closely, it seemed to be about infant mortality in babies with high levels of testosterone and blah blah blah, it has nothing to do with eye contact of normal adult men and it’s really a stretch to say it supports the idea that male coworkers are bad at eye contact by virtue of being male. I honestly don’t know how to react to this part because I have never thought of any of my coworkers as being bad at eye contact. It feels like this is just another way for the author to point out that she doesn’t like it when her coworkers look at their phones or are otherwise distracted.

There are so many lectures about looking at your phone. It’s really condescending at times. Example: “You can turn off your phone without the world coming to an end, I promise.” Probably not the best tone to take given the subject matter of this book.

The last big issue I have is the organization. I know books like this are often repetitive on purpose (because of the “repeat everything three times” rule that MBAs have a boner for) but this felt really rambly and disorganized, but in a way that could easily be fixed. This would have worked better if it had a chapter for every “secret rule” and then maybe had another chapter that was like, “And also don’t do these things.” Also, these “secret” rules don’t feel very secret. They’re common sense rules. And I feel like #8 Dress for success just needs to go because it has nothing to do with anything else. Everything else is about interacting with women and then there’s this one rule that’s just a general tip for workplace success.

I'm sorry if this review is super harsh. I feel like is the kind of book that needs to have crystal clear messaging be extremely consistent in it's content. It could also stand to be kinder to it's audience since they bothered to pick up this book in the first place. Talking down to men who are uncomfortable working with women is...not helpful. If I was a dude I'd probably rage quit this book.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed most of this book. Some of it was very timely for me and I wrote some down some notes on how to improve relationships at work. However, some of it did not apply and was very repetitive. This was the reason for the 3 stars. At times it felt that I was being talked down to or that if I didn’t hear it in chapter x,y or z then I needed to hear it again... kind of annoying. 

The chapters also felt oddly long and repetitive in nature. However my favorite parts were the secret rules to successfully work with women. Each rule could have been its own chapter, but that’s not how it worked for this book.
Was this review helpful?