Friday, April 7 marks the beginning of our 20th year to present the First Friday Book Synopsis. I am very grateful for the many regulars who have supported our event by your attendance each month, and especially, for the wonderful word-of-mouth marketing to invite friends and colleagues.
20 years is enough in one job. It is time to move on.
To that end, Friday will be the last synopsis that is owned and sponsored by Creative Communication Network. I have decided to sell the components of this event to my partner, Randy Mayeux, who has established a business with the First Friday Book Synopsis trademark. The sale also includes the assets and content of the 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com site. All of the legal and accounting processes are now being finalized to bring the sale to its proper conclusion.
This will be a seamless transition. As a participant, you will notice nothing, other than several branding modifications that Randy will institute to replace the Creative Communication Network presence. While I will no longer introduce or conclude the event, I will still be the lead presenter of a synopsis each month. I will still contribute original blog posts to our website. I am still available to join Randy at on-site opportunities. We will still be at the same location. You will be greeted by the same team at registration. The materials you receive will be of the same quality. The pricing, for now, will not change.
This is the correct decision to make. When you lose enthusiasm for managing an endeavor, the right thing to do is to replace yourself with someone who has the proper enthusiasm. That person is Randy Mayeux. He loves reading, talking about, and presenting synopses of all types of books. He has a vision for the event that not only inspires himself, but that will also transfer to all who take advantage of the proceedings each month.
Please congratulate Randy on his decision to accept the management and ownership responsibilities of the First Friday Book Synopsis.
With all good luck, we will start our 40th year, just 20 years from now.
At the First Friday Book Synopsis, we have presented a number of books over the past few years dealing with feminism. All of these are available for purchase at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.
One of our Creative Communication Network part-time consultants, Carmen Coreas, recently weighed in with her views about feminism, citing information from some of the books we have presented. In this blog post, she discusses what feminism means to her, and how in her opinion, the definition of feminism has evolved. She finishes by revealing whether she considers herself to be a feminist. If you have read these books, attended our synopses, or listened our recordings, you can see how closely her remarks resemble your own.
What Feminism Means to Me
Many women are tired of discussing the feminist movement. Many have just given up, moved on, and accepted society and the business world as they are. They are no longer interested in trying to enact real change in the workplace, at home, in non-profit organizations, and other venues.
I believe in the words that Sallie Krawcheck wrote recently in her best-seller entitled Own It: The Power of Women at Work (New York: Crown Books, 2017). The point of her book was not about excluding men, but rather, including women. Her stance is well aligned with the best-seller, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (New York: Knopf, 2013) by Sheryl Sandberg.
To me, feminism is not defeating men for the good of women. I define feminism clearly and concisely as standing up for who we are and what we do. Women can do that in ways that are not at the expense of men.
This is so different from what other authorities claim. One journalist, Jessica Bennett, is a flaming feminist. Her book, Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace (New York: Harper, 2016) is described as “part manual, part manifesto – an illustrated, practical, no-bullshit guide to battling sexism at work” (source: www.feministfightclub.com). The entire book is a men-basher.
Conversely, Sallie Krawcheck believes in the power of women. “We women are different. And therein lie our greatest strength and competitive advantage in the modern workplace…We need more women acting more like women. And this goes not just for female CEO’s or women in top senior leadership positions, but for all women. That’s because the power of diversity is…wait for it..,diversity” (p. 9).
This quote resonates well with me. I define feminism as being ourselves. We are women. We are good. We need to let everyone know that we deserve a voice. But, this is not a fixed pie. We can stand up for ourselves, and do everything we need, without fighting men in the process. Our gains are not men’s losses.
Evolvement of the Feminist Definition
In its earliest days, feminism was a power play. Women participated in braless public rallies. Women would attend professional seminars to learn how to survive in a man’s business world. They would learn how to dress like a man, participate in meetings like men, how to challenge and speak with men interpersonally, and even not to drink water before a meeting with men, so that they would not have to excuse themselves to use the rest room. At that time, you could not be a woman, because to survive, you had to act (and even look) like a man.
The early attitudes were to fight men. Remember the great push in the late 1980’s for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The Reverend Jesse Jackson, in his 1988 Democratic National Convention speech in which he accepted the nomination, rallied the crowd by exclaiming, “women cannot buy bread cheaper, women cannot buy milk cheaper,” and stated that they deserve to be paid the same as men. At that time, women made about 68 cents on the dollar to a man doing the same job. Today, there is still a disparity, even though women’s pay is now about 86 cents for every dollar a man makes. The difference for minority women is even greater.
Ronald Reagan was not popular with women by failing to support the ERA. His point was that in the wrong hands, equal rights will damage women. He said that unscrupulous people would use the ERA to also push equal responsibility. For example, he was concerned that women would be required to lift materials of great weight on a job, equal to men who had to do the same.
Not everyone was on board with the man vs. woman dual. One of the famous opponents to feminism was Phyllis Schafly. She was a strictly constitutional based attorney, as well as a famous conservative activist. Schafly was highly conservative, both socially and politically, and she opposed abortion. She is considered one of the major forces behind the failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This train of thought of fighting men has not gone away. Read this 2016 quote from Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club: “We need weapons of our own, then – an arsenal of them. We must be armed with data to prove the problem exists and tactics to chip away at it from the outside and the inside. We need skills, hacks, tricks, tools, battle tactics to fight for ourselves while also advocating for change within the system. But! This is not a solo task. We need other women by our side. So let ‘s start by linking arms” (p. xxvii).
Myself as Feminist
I do consider myself as a feminist. I do not see myself solely in house slippers, cooking breakfast for my family, getting my kids ready for school, and spending my day doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, then, cooking dinner, putting the kids to bed, making love to my husband, and then starting the process over the next day.
I do want to be married and have a family. I want to be a good wife and mother. But, I have other goals as well. I cannot define myself by what I am to others. I must define myself as who I am.
I am proud to be a woman. I am of Latina origin. I am aware that I am in a low percentage of women in my culture with the ambitions that I have. I am working hard to get my Bachelor’s degree from college, and then, go to law school. I know that I will represent women who are not as fortunate as I will be. I will have female clients who have been beaten, victimized, molested, and in many other ways, taken advantage of. But, I will also have male clients who have their own backgrounds and histories. I must represent them both.
It is my goal to stand up for myself, but not because I can do anything better than a man. My preference is to be strong-willed, but work with men, not against them. Therefore, my definition of feminism is inclusive, not exclusive.
You can reply below to let me know what you think about this subject. Thank you for reading my comments.
I don’t think that Sherry Turkle would be very pleased with Joe Queenan‘s column in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “The Ringing Insult of a Turned Off Phone” (March 11-12, p. C11).
Turkle, whose book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (Penguin Press, 2015), was the subject of one of my presentations at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, argued that the presence of a cell phone on a table disrupts conversation. This is not because anyone is talking on it. Rather, it is that someone may call or text, and the potential for that to happen negatively impacts interpersonal communication. If you missed my synopsis, you can purchase the recording and handout at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.
Queenan’s column questions why anyone carries around a turned-off cell phone. In a funny analogy, he asks, “do they turn off their belts in the morning and then act surprised that they can’t get their pants to stay up the rest of the day….do they miss their dinner because they forgot to charge their fork?”
Further, “I have no problem with people turning off their phones at funerals. But there is actually a thing on cellphones called the silent mode. And yes, you can also put your phone on vibrate. If you know that someone is coming to meet you for lunch and might get stuck in traffic or be forced to bail entirely, what would possess you turn off your phone? Why not turn off your brain while you’re at it?”
These are two different perspectives on the purpose and impact of cell phones. Queenan, however, seems to hold cell phones to a higher standard than the old-fashioned landline. There are plenty of times someone called a landline and got busy signals or voice-mails, instead of a live person ready to talk. The impact is the same. The caller did not get to talk to the receiver.
But, think about this. Why you want to hold cell phones to a higher standard, especially with the threat to the quality and quantity of conversation, as Turkle discusses? What’s wrong with focusing on the person you are with F2F, and having a pleasant or worthwhile conversation?
You may be aware that I presented Sallie Krawcheck‘s best-seller, Own It, last week at our monthly event, the First Friday Book Synopsis, at the Park City Club in Dallas. If you missed it, you can buy the handout and live recording at www.15minutebusinessbooks.com.
The book’s premise was that we should not be concerned about excluding men, but rather, including women. It is a book that will rival Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
Randy Mayeux sent me this link, which is an article, and an interview, in which Krawcheck explains that progress in gender diversity in Wall Street firms has come to a slow crawl. This is the link that you will be interested in:
I found the book provocative, and as is true for many women-in-business books, we have done a lot of talking about the problems that professional women have faced, and we have very few of the problems solved. Maybe this book will help.
Stephen A. Cohen, who was the focus of one of the most intensive insider trader investigation in history, is the subject of a new best-selling business book that debuted at # 3 on the Wall Street Journal best-seller list (January 18-19, 2016, p. C10).
The book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street (Random House), was released on February 7, and as of today’s writing is in the top four best-selling books in three Amazon.com sub-categories.
The author is Sheelah Kolhatkar, is a current staff writer at The New Yorker. She is a former hedge fund analyst. Her features focus upon Wall Street, Silicon Valley and politics. Kolhatkar has appeared on numerous business television programs, and also been a guest columnist in several business magazines, as well as the New York Times.
Who is Stephen Cohen, and what exactly is this book about? Please read this summary taken from the publisher’s website at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/234210/black-edge-by-sheelah-kolhatkar/9780812995800/.
“The rise over the last two decades of a powerful new class of billionaire financiers marks a singular shift in the American economic and political landscape. Their vast reserves of concentrated wealth have allowed a small group of big winners to write their own rules of capitalism and public policy. How did we get here? Through meticulous reporting and powerful storytelling, New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar shows how Steve Cohen became one of the richest and most influential figures in finance—and what happened when the Justice Department put him in its crosshairs.
“Cohen and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn’t lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rather, they made their billions through speculation, by placing bets in the market that turned out to be right more often than wrong—and for this they have gained not only extreme personal wealth but formidable influence throughout society. Hedge funds now manage nearly $3 trillion in assets, and competition between them is so fierce that traders will do whatever they can to get an edge.
“Cohen was one of the industry’s greatest success stories. He mastered poker in high school, went off to Wharton, and in 1992 launched SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizardlike stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery, reclusiveness, and extreme excess, building a 35,000 square foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, and amassing one of the largest private art collections in the world. On Wall Street, Cohen was revered as a genius.
“That image was shattered when SAC became the target of a sprawling, seven-year government investigation. Labeled by prosecutors as a “magnet for market cheaters” whose culture encouraged the relentless hunt for “edge”—and even “black edge,” or inside information—SAC was ultimately indicted in connection with a vast insider trading scheme, even as Cohen himself was never charged.
“Black Edge offers a revelatory look at the gray zone in which so much of Wall Street functions, and a window into the transformation of the U.S. economy. It’s a riveting, true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the government’s pursuit of Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of modern Wall Street.”
A less biased, although equally positive review appeared in the New York Times, written by Jennifer Senior on February 1, 2017. One of her points is: “But my hunch is that readers will most remember “Black Edge” for showing them just how alarmingly pervasive insider trading was in the years surrounding the 2008 collapse. It became commonplace, domesticated — dare I say it? — normalized.” You can read that review by clicking on this site: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/books/review-black-edge-an-account-of-a-hedge-fund-magnate-and-insider-trading.html?_r=0.
And, in case you feel sorry for Cohen, the last line in Senior’s review says, “[Kolhatkar] notes that in 2014, Cohen made $2.5 billion by trading his personal fortune alone. ‘He is making plans to reopen his hedge fund,” she writes, “as soon as possible.’”
Please continue to monitor our website at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com, to see if this book rates one of our monthly selections at the First Friday Book Synopsis for presentation. Randy and I will discuss this very soon!
I am really excited about the presentation I will give this week at the First Friday Book Synopsis at the Park City Club in Dallas. If you have not yet registered, just go to: 15minutebusinessbooks.com.
The book is Together is Better, authored by Simon Sinek (Portfolio, 2016). It is the second book we have presented from Sinek, and this one was on every business best-selling list that we could find.
Here are some advance tidbits from the presentation that I will make.
Most of us live our lives by accident – we live as it happens. Fulfillment comes when we live our lives on purpose.
A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.
Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.
Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.
A star wants to see himself rise to the top. A leader wants to see those around him become stars.
If you have to miss it, you can always purchase the presentation and handout on 15minutebusinessbooks.com. But, you don’t get the networking, and you don’t get an omelette.
This is an inspirational book, and I wish I had read it before Christmas, as it would have been a great stocking-stuffer for some of my professional contacts.