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November 1, 2009

By Fareeha Qayoom

I

got attracted to this book because apparently it was written by the current Editor-in- chief of Cosmopolitan, at the time she wrote it, she was the editor-in- chief for Red Book. I thought I would pick up some rare insight into the business end of publishing a popular woman’s magazine. Kate White is the author of the Business Week bestseller Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and former editor-in-chief of Child, Working Woman and Redbook.cover_gutsy_girls

I have always been a sucker for self-help books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like “Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do, 9 Secrets Every Working Woman Must Know, By Kate White.” After I started reading it… (The title promises you a speedy read with loads of insights into becoming a successful career woman), all I found were some superficial stories and ideas from White’s career with three to four citations per idea from studies and popular research she borrowed to back up her 9 secrets.

I found this book heavy going and hard to read – I was expecting brilliant, gripping prose backed by some interesting ideas; after all, she’s a chief editor of a popular magazine and a successful author of pulp fiction.

Most of her ideas sounded familiar, (nothing new), like “Make your own rules,” “Keep your eye on the bottom line,” “Always, always dress as if you were in the job you aspire to,” “Share the glory,” “Good girls work too hard simply because they think they ought to,” “Focus on one clear goal or mission,”  “Delegate,” “Do something that doesn’t appear anywhere in your job description,” “Quick, do something,” “Never present your million-dollar ideas at group brainstorming meetings,” “Get quality input—and be willing to listen to what people say,” “Never share your doubts with anyone at work,” “Make time for what matters most,” “Create face time.” “Be fair, but ultimately do what you want, based on what you think is best,” “take credit for your successes,” “Always ask for more—even if they say your number,” “Never assume that just because no one has grabbed something that it’s not yours for the taking,” “Do something about office saboteurs,” “Go after it.”

Her bottom line, most career women are doormats and too nice, too hard working, too ethical and too goody-goody, they waste time looking for approval from male authority figures, gutsy girls on the other hand are self centered, focused on their own goals, do their own thing in spite of company goals and objectives, appear confident because they never share their doubts at work, look successful and therefore are successful and blow their own trumpet frequently to make sure the bosses know of their successes through enough face time and a paper trail. Gutsy girls are brilliant networkers and have friends in high places and they surround themselves with brilliant, influential people all the time so they can learn all the go-getter skills from the best.

Unfortunately, I have heard it all before and no, I didn’t get any insight into magazine publishing. ¨

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com 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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