Cover Image: Machiavelli for Women

Machiavelli for Women

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Member Reviews

This was an interesting take on the discrimination women in the workplace face. I think her arguments were well researched and her solutions are presented in a way that is applicable and might actually work. 

I appreciated the inclusion of POC and LGBTQIA women and non-binary persons into her discussion. 

Overall, this had some really interesting points and I would recommend to a friend. 

Thank you to Net Galley for an e-ARC.
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A women's empowerment book that uses the book The Prince for inspiration to create lessons to show women what they can do to move the needle to more of an equitable society.  (Not that women should be doing all the work) But lessons for women to ask for what they want and need in a way that uses the skills that women typically possess to get the outcomes they want.  

While the author includes the references needed from The Prince to show her points, for me, I wish I had recently read it and was a little more educated in the source material and I think the book would have been a smoother and more enjoyable read for me.  

The thing I loved about this book was the moments where the author used general traits about women and flipped the script to show women how to use these general traits that we typically have because we are women and use them to our advantage.  The chapters that I will be referencing a lot in the future are two and three with money and confidence.  It was so eye opening to read why women don't ask for a promotion as we want to be 100% ready for that next step in the career and I can understand that and that we will accept less pay because sometimes we are just darn happy to be employed!  

While The Prince references were great and an interesting way to present the material in a new way because I am not familiar it didn't quite do it for me, but as said before I could see myself enjoy that if I was more aware of the material.
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This is one of those cases when a title is terrible but a book is fantastic. Stacey Vanek Smith has written an incredible book on how to navigate the choppy waters of a work place as a woman.  She uses lessons from Machiavelli's The Prince to break down how to successfully move through male-dominated spaces, compete successfully with other women who may not necessarily be on the up and up, and fight for what you're worth.

Stacey Vanek Smith is witty, charming, and intelligent. Her strategies are intelligent and fairly easy to follow, and she has plans within plans.

Machiavelli for Women is a great book for building your workplace strategy.  It is available September 7, 2021.
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A must-read for all women in mid-level management or above roles. Just like there is a book The Art of War specific to managers, consider this book an easy translation of the book by Machiavelli. 

Even though Machiavelli tactics are supposed to be cruel methods for power hungry villains, this book is the opposite. It will help you slay the invisible dragons that hold women back in the workplace and accelerate your career. It completely transformed how I was looking at the original book! 

If you are a sensible sensitive, woman looking to balance the nice-girl image with career ambitions (however modest those goals maybe!), then this book will be immensely helpful!
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Set your ambitions free... 
To have power is to be able to
While interpreting Machiavelli is one thing, there seems to be an interest in interpreting Machiavelli for women as shown in:
How women can use their unique strengths in The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women.
Feminist Interpretations of Niccolo Machiavelli (Re-Reading the Canon) in Maria Falco's book.
There is Machiavelli for moms, we will not go into that.

If you are interested in works of Machiavelli with female protagonists who demonstrate the ability to rule a kingdom. Then you are looking for La Mandragola and Clizia.

Other referenced works - What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know
Ladies Get Paid: The Ultimate Guide to Breaking Barriers, Owning Your Worth, and Taking Command of Your Career

You will be able to mull over your experiences through a different lens.
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I know this was supposed to be empowering for women, but I find myself uneasy at the author's insistence that women must play psychological games in order to get ahead. This is a very "corporate feminism" book, looking at how to "win" in a hierarchal company, when so many women are not aiming for leadership positions. There is a LOT of blame-the-victim happening here.
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Get your highlighter ready. In Machiavelli for Women, Stacey Vanek Smith, Planet Money correspondent and host of NPR’s The Indicator podcast, outlines how women can use Niccolo Machiavelli’s philosophy behind his classic The Prince to move up the corporate ladder. While this may seem a bit extreme and counterintuitive to traditional feminine values of cooperation and compassion, Smith argues that in order to beat the game and seize power, women have to learn to play by rules created by men.

Smith begins by outlining some pretty depressing statistics that remind us no matter how far we’ve come, as women, we’re still far from achieving an equal playing field in the workforce. In fact, we’ve become so accustomed to discrimination in some instances that we might be surprised by some of her examples, having accepted them as the status quo. Despite her somewhat cynical analysis of the plight of the working woman, Smith draws some pretty astute comparisons to how the average woman can use Machiavelli’s strategic advice for seizing kingdoms to seize a little bit of power in the old nine to five.

Much of Smith’s advice may seem counterintuitive and even manipulative, as she guides the reader into modifying behaviors in order to make a point without being interrupted, claim credit for original ideas, or even avoid being underpaid. You’re probably thinking these things should happen naturally without psychological games, and you’re right — in a perfect, unbiased world, they would. However, Smith’s argument (and Machiavelli’s) is that we don’t live in a perfect world and to claim our roles at the top, we have to see the situation clearly, exactly as it is, and work with the weapons we’ve got. We’re in a damned if you don’t, damned if you do situation.

Regardless of how you feel about psychological warfare, Smith offers some great advice for negotiation and illustrating your worth, two things women are not accustomed to undertaking. Whether working with difficult clients or difficult bosses, the mannerisms women have been conditioned to adopt often work against us and turn us into doormats. Through Stacey Vanek Smith, Machiavelli’s playbook arms the reader with the confidence and skills to successfully navigate the workforce.
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