Smart Women Take Risks

Smart Women Take RisksSmart Women Take Risks: Six Steps for Conquering Your Fears and Making the Leap to Success
by Helene Lerner

While content focus differs significantly, this offering shares many very positive similarities with our last review, Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos. So much so, in fact, that it led me to create an article for the resources section of our blog on the subject of “Tips for Choosing a Great Book.”

You might be wondering why we’re viewing several books that appear to be focused on women’s issues. There are a growing number of reasons for this focus, and it’s imperative that leaders in every field are aware of each of them. Let’s take a quick glance.

According to PINK Magazine, which is spotlighted in our blog:

“A record number of women now lead top companies in America and millions more (15.6 million) have started businesses of their own―at a rate twice that of men.”

“Women are excelling in other fields, too―from medicine to education, philanthropy, politics and the arts. Women now wield trillions of dollars and account for more than 80 percent of all consumer spending.”

Even with such progress, stumbling blocks remain.

Think pay (75 cents vs. one dollar.) I have never understood this one and never will. So many of our clients, in a wide variety of industries, are currently being led very successfully by women at a number of levels ranging from board members and CEOs to front line-supervisors and team leaders.

Think politics (Less than 15% of congressional members are women).

Think advancement (Hundreds of millions have been paid out in recent gender discrimination settlements).

But perhaps the biggest hurdle has to do with the internal struggle―with issues like life balance and, yes, power. Activist and author Naomi Wolf calls it, “the last taboo―women talking about having money and worldly power.”

These two books are obviously aimed at female readers and for good reason. I truly believe both authors have done a great job of offering excellent advice and guidance to women who want to succeed in their chosen fields of endeavor. However, another reason for reviewing both offerings is to alert our male readers to two excellent resources that are also great reads! I found very little content in either book that I wouldn’t hesitate to pass on to male readers sharing the same goals of success as any female readers. My hat is off to both authors.

Without giving away the content, let me offer a number of obvious reasons why this book is a “must read.”

  1. Very topical and relevant subject for all of the reasons mentioned above in the PINK magazine reference.
  2. A very easy and enjoyable read produced by a CEO/coach/consultant/TV host with a great deal of education, experience, and expertise to share on this crucial subject matter.
  3. Six concrete steps for conquering your fears and making the leap to success. Each step is clearly articulated and illustrated with inspiring stories and tips from women who have successfully completed each step.
  4. In-depth bios of 17 trail-blazing change agents who will act as mentors for you by sharing their stories of passionate achievement.
  5. A number of mini-bios of additional trail-blazers throughout the book to illustrate various tips, tools, and strategies.
  6. “Quick Tips” at the end of each chapter that summarize key points you’ll want to remember.
  7. “Power Links” at the end of each chapter to link you with interesting resources that provide additional information on the subject of focus within that particular chapter.
  8. Interesting statistics, charts, graphs, exercises, definitions, and questionnaires that make it extremely difficult to put this book down for even a moment.
  9. Direction to Helene Lerner’s popular web site (, which offers strategies on advancement, leadership, navigating work/life, and power networking contacts; free membership and newsletter; power contacts; great book reviews, interesting articles, etc. … a tremendous resource!

For those who are serious about conquering their fears and making the leap to success, this book is certainly a foundational “must read.”

(This book review was originally published in 2007 as one of the Top 10 Books – Edition 15.)

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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