Book Review on “Carolyn 101 business lessons from the Apprentice‘s straight shooter”

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“When it comes to assessing people, don’t always believe what you hear – form your own opinion.” By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom


Picked up this book because Carolyn Kepcher was on the cover. I used to watch the hit reality show, “The Apprentice,” and she happened to be one of its star attractions. Kepcher had written this book with Stephen Fenichell (Fireside, 2004), so I immediately bought it. It was sure to contain some useful advice and interesting information.


I wasn’t disappointed – a good no-frills read, besides, you can complete this book in one sitting. I liked that.  Most of the business books on my shelf happen to be thick, heavy going and take more than a few sittings to finish. Some of them take ages to get to the point, and they are so thick that you end up losing interest in the middle of them; it’s quite possible you might never get around to finishing them. This one was refreshingly short and sweet. It got to the point immediately and was interesting and gripping enough to make me want to finish it in one go; furthermore, the style is conversational and anecdotal. She gives you advice based on real life examples from her life to illustrate her point(s) on professionalism, office politics, business relationships, career development and even mistakes and how to handle them.

Apparently, you can succeed by being straight forward, upfront and pro-active. You do not have to back stab, trade on your femininity or good looks, step on countless toes or become sneaky and conniving to get ahead as White advised in gutsy girls. If you are intelligent, honest and thorough and you deliver on your targets, you can win too. No need to play games to get ahead; sometimes, straight forward action in the right direction works too. Here’s an excerpt from chapter one –

Carolyn 101

“Opportunities tend to be one-time shots; if you don’t take them that instant, you lose them forever.”

“Seeing things not for what they are but for what they might be creates opportunities.”

“Never be afraid to state your true worth.”

“You’re the one in charge of your learning curve.”

“When it comes to assessing people, don’t always believe what you hear – form your own opinion.”

“The key to mastering any new job is finding the right mentor.”

“Don’t mistake asking questions for ignorance; asking questions often shows that you know what you’re doing.”

“The key to a good presentation is to keep from getting caught up in the bells and whistles and cut to the chase.”

“Details are for backup, not for delving into. Demonstrating an ability to summarize those facts and figures into actionable scenarios is what’s important.”

“Be intuitively aware of the importance of turf possession in every professional proceeding.”

Read this book. You definitely will pick up some useful stuff. ¨

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

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