Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review - "The Little Black Book of Success" by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean

Success is something that we all want in life.  However, it’s not always easy to attain the success that we strive for.  The Little Black Book of Success is designed to help Black women to achieve success in their careers.  This book is written by three successful Black female executives.  Elaine Meryl Brown is vice president, special markets and Cinemax Group, at HBO.  Marsha Haygood is the president and founder of SepWise Associates, a career and personal development consultancy.  Rhonda Joy McLean is deputy general counsel of Time Inc.  They were each chosen as one of The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business.”  These women are highly educated and have reached the top of their fields.  They have chosen to use their knowledge and experience to help Black women to become leaders. 

The Little Black Book of Success contains a very positive message – you can be successful.  Some people are born leaders, others are created.  You can learn to be a leader.  This book provides the laws of leadership.  The reader is told what she should do and the things she should avoid.  For example, refuse to give in to negative thinking.   The most critical aspect of being a leader is self-esteem.  Know your worth.  Be positive about yourself and others.  It is important to understand that no one owes us anything.  The value of hard work is stressed.  We have to look beyond our skin color.  Don’t assume that people are out to get us because we are Black or a woman.  If we work hard and smart, we can achieve our goals. 

Each chapter contains a section called “Cultural Code.”  This section addresses issues that are specific to Black women.  It discusses things that we do to sabotage ourselves and how to combat those issues.  Another feature of each chapter is the “MAMAisms” section.  MAMAisms are phrases that our mothers told us as we were growing up that still ring true today.  Everyone that reads this book will be able to relate to this section.  Black women have such a rich heritage.  We can and should use our heritage to achieve success in our careers.  The MAMAisms in this book will help us to recall the wisdom that our mothers, grandmothers and aunts taught us.

The advice in this book does not stop when you reach the top.  The last few chapters address what to do once you become a leader.  One of the best lessons to learn is how to give back to others.  The last chapter of the book provides this wisdom, “Occasionally we hear of a sister or brother who says, ‘No one helped me, so why should I help anybody else?’  Even if we couldn’t see the helpers, we must always remember that many people sacrificed a great deal so that we could have the opportunities we have now.  So, we owe it to ourselves and one another to help others whenever possible.” (pgs. 134-135)

Certainly, the authors of The Little Black Book of Success have taken their own advice.  They have used their knowledge to guide others so that we can all reach our leadership potential.  This book is full of helpful advice for Black women.  It is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to succeed in her career.  I learned many lessons that I plan to implement in my career.  I am very thankful for the wisdom found in this book.  I highly recommend this book to all women who strive to be the best they can be.

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