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Celebrating You & Breaking Through in 2021, Plus Romance

Is last year's bumper crop of lemons the main ingredient for this year's success? 

Here's a book with plenty of reasons why yes is the answer. 

Rethink, Smashing the Myths of Women in Business  
Andi Simon, Ph.D.  
Non-fiction business biography 
Fast Company Press (Greenleaf Book Group, distributor)  
January 5, 2021  

At a time when the world is reeling from being forced to improvise almost everything on a daily basis, Rethink profiles eleven women, including the author, whose lives and professional careers are prime examples of adaptability that defy entrenched gendered expectations. Invisible barriers to achievement in science, management, finance, and other industries are examined through the lenses of these accomplished women's experiences. Their profiles make for compelling reading and comprise the majority of the text, which is its strength. Notable reading frustrations include points of view and blanket statements that reinforce a narrow focus on a hetero, privileged, Anglo gender binary as the presumptive frame of reference. The author's advice leans heavily toward putting the burden of change on women rather than on strategies for systemic changes to eliminate the institutionalized career blockages formed from rampant sexism, misogyny, LGBTQUIA-phobia, and racism that hinder women from reaching the highest levels of academic and professional achievement—at least until Delora Tyler's feature in the “Myth 9” chapter. There, toward the end of the book is where Rethink explicitly acknowledges specific layers of codified oppression and exclusion in the workplace. Unfortunately, the concluding remarks undercut that refreshing candor by swinging back toward burdening the individual for cultural failings with this statement:  

“Like Delora, African American women entrepreneurs must be more self-confident and build their resilience.”  

The underlying assumption that Black women in particular, and girls and women in general, are inherently lacking in self-confidence and resilience is the fundamental weakness in this otherwise exceptional collection of assorted blueprints for success and effective leadership with an emphasis on the importance of company culture.  

Dr. Simon is a corporate anthropologist and those critical thinking and observational strengths provide narrative stability and anchor the rational layering of ideas. She refers to credible studies that quantitatively confirm the effective leadership of female CEOs for companies that consistently perform as well or better than those headed by men. It seems like a missed opportunity to connect, or at least acknowledge, these facts with the themes discussed in Reviving Ophelia and other works that track the ways in which society undercuts and warps girls' and women's self-actualization, which starts as being comparable to boys'.  

A foreword; three parts that layout the intention, eleven common myths about women in the workplace, a conclusion that speculates about future myths; and resources, discussion questions, and a list of organizations, plus acknowledgments [sic], and an index offer readers inspiration, validation, motivation, practical strategies, and tools to initiate or reignite pursuit of their most ambitious professional goals. Rethink is a call to action for the New Year. 

And speaking of bumper crops... 
Romance fiction yielded a bountiful selection of outstanding tales in 2020. Here are three reads that closed out the year with fireworks. (The Washington Post agrees.)  

Find my reviews for them here:  

The Duke Who Didn't  
Courtney Milan  
Historical romance  
September 2020  

Season of the Wolf  
Maria Vale  
Contemporary supernatural romance  
Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 2020  

A Touch of Stone and Snow (A Gathering of Dragons #2)  
Milla Vane  
Fantasy adventure romance 
Berkley, July 2020
(This links directly to the review for aToSaS despite "season-of-the-wolf".:-) 


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