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Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,480 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
"Breezy and salty." -The New York Times

"Hilarious! Honest, intimate, this book tells it as it was." -Mary Wells Lawrence, author of A Big Life (In Advertising) and founding president of Wells Rich Greene

"Breezy and engaging [though] ...The chief value of Mad Women is the witness it bears for younger women about the snobbery and sexism their mothers and grandmothers endured
ebook, 272 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Jul 25, 2012 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
I will keep my stance that the narrarators sharp, quick, clipped, sometimes snooty vocal cadence wore me out while listening to this book. She veers away from the advertising profession and travels down equal rights alleys, and seems to get lost in those alleys.

Maas does a good job of comparing and contrasting her real world 1960's advertising experience to what we see on Mad Men. I can get a flavor for what goes on at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce or the previous Sterling Cooper was realistic
Jul 22, 2015 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook and it was really good. The reader had a very silky voice that could put you to sleep. It was interesting to hear the woman's perspective of the Mad Men Show and how it was in advertising in the 60's. We've really come a long way over the last 50 years.
Nov 26, 2012 Tammie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to get around to watching Mad Men. After 3 weeks of watching at a near addicting pace (Jon Hamm, late nights...sigh)I finished it and experienced a severe case of withdrawal. I need more! Where is season 5, Netflix?!?!?!

Last Tuesday I was browsing through the library and this book reached out and grabbed me! I had to read it, I had to feed this Mad craving for everything having to do with Mad Men!!!

I loved it! I appreciate Jane's realness. She's a careerwoman, a wife and m
Jane Roper
As a copywriter myself, not to mention a fan of Mad Men, I was really excited to read this book. But I didn't end up finishing it because I just wasn't compelled to do so. The problem for me was that it wasn't really a memoir, just a collection -- in no specific order, just thematically grouped -- of reflections and anecdotes. It's well written enough, and provides some interesting glimpses of what things were like in the 60s for women both in the workplace and at home. But there is no narrative ...more
Jessi Lee Gaylord
Mad Women: What the fuck do you mean “sexual harassment” didn’t exist yet?

I was counting down the days until the new season of Mad Men with my panties in a bunch, when I picked up the book Mad Women by Jane Maas. Maas was both a copywriter and a creative director at Ogilvy & Mather in the penis-slinging hustle of the New York advertising world in the 1960s. The book articulates the agony of ecstasy of a career woman in the misogynistic though mesmerizing world of advertising, but readers, w
Mary Mckenna longford
Jane Maas wore me out with her "Egocentric and I was such a pioneer" prose. I found some of her account of life as a working mother in the '60's interesting but it was all too self congratulatory and self indulgent for my liking. She's derisory at times about women who chose to leave the workforce and raise their children themselves rather than have a stranger do it as if women who chose the second path were trail blazers, too clever to be concerned with domestic responsibilities. Newsflash Jane ...more
Fiona Villamor
This book has its moments. I particularly enjoyed the first chapter, but maybe that's only because I love reading about people's routines. For me, that's one of the most integral parts of a person's life: the habits, the day-to-day activities, the morning and evening rhythms.

Other than that, this book doesn't really give much in terms of Jane Maas' life story (I read that she has another biography but this is also packaged as a memoir so I expected more). Overall, I felt like it wasn't "tight" e
Jul 07, 2014 Bunny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-14
I'm disappointed that there are so few reviews of this book on GoodReads. I was utterly charmed by it.

I love advertising. I think I always have, without realizing it. I vividly remember the first commercial that stuck with me. For those who remember it, all I need to say is, "Cha-ching!"

Who knew that almost 20 years later, I was going to be madly in love with that guy when he played a guitar-playing werewolf.

This book was never boring. I learned more about old ad campaigns, and it only added to
Apr 05, 2014 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ‘60s and Beyond by Jane Maas answers all those questions about the television series, “Mad Men.” Yes, it was an era of wine, women and expense accounts for men in the rapidly-growing advertising industry. Yes, working women were not only demeaned, but that was deliberate and socially approved treatment at the time, not only on Madison Avenue, and not only among men. Jane Maas was one of the few women who was twice as bright and willingly ...more
Diane Meier
Mar 21, 2012 Diane Meier rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I promised myself that I would only review books worth recommending. What's the point of taking up time telling someone what NOT to read. But this book, I fear, is making me break my rule.

Jane Maas' entry into Advertising came a decade or more before mine. A day closer to the "advertised" Peggy Olsen era of the first season of Mad Men. And for that alone, give the gal a star. It took guts. It wasn't easy 15 years later (it isn't easy now). And -- she was responsible for the I HEART NY campaign.
Apr 21, 2012 Vida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought Mad Women was many things. It was a history lesson, it was a reminder of the advertising campaigns of my youth, it was philosophical, it was a story of the women's working world that I missed by staying home to raise my children, it was entertaining. I couldn't put it down.

After graduating college, I dreamed of being a professional advertising woman. This was like being voyeur in Jane Maas' life.

I appreciated her philosophizing, "Edes Gilbert connects the increasing guild of working mo
Oct 07, 2012 Stephanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Hands down the most disappointing book I have read of 2012. I haven't been this bored with an author in a long time.

I knew who Jane Maas was thanks to the requisite advertising class in my MBA program. Famous for the I Love NY campaign, she is a pioneer in advertising. She worked for David Ogilvy in the 1960s when the ad world was made up of men. Not only was she an account bigwig, she was a working mother. Something almost unheard of in that period.

Maas has the background to weave an interestin
Apr 19, 2012 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Brought to my bedside by my personal librarian in honor of Mad Men's new season, this book was mildly interesting. Not sure why I felt compelled to finish it, but finish it I did. Jane Maas tells of her experience making boatloads of money as a female advertising copywriter ( a la Peggy Olson in the show) who later turns exec. She started in the 60s. Unlike Peggy, she was married and had two schoolage children then. She also had a during-the-week live-in maid/nanny. [It's hard for me to take wom ...more
Jun 05, 2015 Berenice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It says something, that I read this in one sitting. Fascinating, entertaining, poignant. Whether you're a fan of Mad Men suffering withdrawal, or a fan of women at all, Mad Women is well worth reading.
Jun 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this remarkably lacking in both substance and new information. There were occasional moments of inspired story-telling, but for the most part it read as if the writer was jumping up and down shouting "Me, too! Me, too! I braved the 60's in advertising, too! Over here!". This might have been better as a collection of stories--truly, some were very interesting--rather than spending so much retreading ground that's been well-covered. We know that it was difficult being a woman in a field do ...more
Jul 26, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very riveting look into the world of advertising in the Mad Men era from the perspective of a woman in the industry (who was more than a secretary but of course still often assumed to be one). It refers to the Mad Men series a lot, but I found it wasn't necessary to have seen Mad Men to understand the gist of the author's observation and comparisons. Worthwhile read about NYC advertising life, especially from the perspective of a working woman who admittedly placed her career first, her husband ...more
Gayle Francis Moffet
About a third of the way through this engaging memoir, Jane Maas tackles a chapter on being a working mother in the '60s and how rare it was to work because you wanted to. It is noted, at the end of that chapter, that she has not covered the women who had to work in the '60s for any number of reasons, and she admits it is because those women--never account executives or high-up copywriters like Maas herself--were invisible to her because they were the secretaries and the typists.

Maas also mentio
Damián Vives
En la última década varias fueron las series televisivas que captaron el interés popular y, por su calidad narrativa y su buena manufactura, fueron marcadas como hitos en la historia del entretenimiento audiovisual y de la cultura pop en general. Los Soprano, The Shield, The Wire, son algunas de ellas. Dentro del mismo grupo se encuentra Mad Men, aclamada por su autenticidad histórica, por su estilo visual, por su guión y por sus actuaciones; la serie se ubica en los Estados Unidos de principios ...more
Jane Maas' anecdotes about the creative advertising industry and how it truly worked in the 60s are interesting, but as a narrator and focal point I find her unsympathetic.

She comes from a privileged standpoint, affluent and married to an architect, who was supporting of her working career and had a live-in nanny. There's a long passage devoted entirely to her ethnic nanny/housekeeper, who raised all Maas' children and not her own.
I was reminded of "The Help" in a bad way. It's pretty gross how
Denise Murphy
Jun 11, 2014 Denise Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book was a surprise to me. I went in a bit jaded having read some of the reviews on Goodreads (a lot of readers gave the book a low number of stars). Not only did I enjoy the author’s wittiness, intelligence and drive, I truly admired her honesty and openness while reflecting on such an amazing, yet at times, sacrificing career. Having entered the workforce in the 1980’s, I was on the tail end of what the author experienced in the preceding decades. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I ...more
Amy Paget
Are you a fan of the T.V. series, Mad Men? If you are, and wonder about what it was really like for women in advertising in the 1960s, Jane Maas’ light biography, Mad Women, is right for you. Maas began as a copywriter at Ogilvie & Mather in the 1960s and ultimately became President of her own agency. She is best known for the campaign “I love New York” and for her trade book, How to Advertise. In Mad Women, we learn how truly different the expectations were for working men and women in the ...more
Joanne Tombrakos
Apr 22, 2012 Joanne Tombrakos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Maas gives a great inside view of what it was like to be not just the real Peggy Olsen, but a women in a man's world at a time when it was far less acceptable to be there. Her easy to read account demonstrates why she achieved such success as a copywriter early on. An important book for any women in business, not just in terms of how far we have come, but how far we have yet to go.
Dec 29, 2015 Ira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining, and definitely opened my eyes on some aspects of advertising in the 60s
Jun 09, 2015 Sharmanka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in advertising
When I have noticed a copy of 'Mad Women' in the store, I became quite interested. The cover looked stylish, the back cover summary sounded very promising - an American woman and a mother in the 60s in a male-dominated business (heck, in the 60s all the businesses were male-dominated). I do consider myself a feminist, and am interested in hearing the stories of female struggles from the past. Apart from this, the back cover also promised to tell about sex in the office and three-martini lunches, ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Tari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mad Men viewers, Working Moms, Men
Recommended to Tari by: A lovely display at Seattle Public Library
Shelves: paper-books, 2015
3.5 STARS. This was a pleasant read and the jacket convinced me to check out the book as I was browsing in the library. There were references to the TV Show Mad Men which I have not watched yet so I skimmed those repeated small passages. This was written in part because Mad Men aired and there was peaked interest in women in advertising. Kudos to the author for working in such a tough industry during an equally difficult time for women.

There were many cultural reminders that were fun and a big u
Elizabeth Amorose
Feb 24, 2016 Elizabeth Amorose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I REALLY enjoyed this book. I admit that I was skeptical at first--thought it was just another storyteller jumping on the Mad Men bandwagon. But I was quickly won over. Jane Maas relates a realistic, entertaining version of Madison Avenue advertising in the 1960s-80s, from a woman's perspective. It was helpful when she compared her experience to how that world was portrayed in Mad Men--the similarities and differences. But I enjoyed most her anecdotes of the pitches, products, clients (Leon Helm ...more
2012 214 pages

With "mad Men" closing it's season this year, I found this book to be quite interesting. Jane Maas climbed to the top of ad agencies in new york city. She dealt with clairol, cereal manufacturers, dish soap and a multitude of other products, looking for tag lines for consumer memory of the product while they grocery shopped.

Another part of the book is about how women placed in such agencies from coffee getters, secretaries to script writers while having or not having sex with the b
Sep 05, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The person who created the jacket of this book was very smart. I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance if i didn't see Joan Harris staring back at me. Funny enough, this book was the memories of a real life Peggy Olsen. Jane Moss keeps you wanting more from the first page all the way to the last. I was more engrossed in this book than i was in the final season of Mad Men. And this is coming from someone who never missed an episode and read all the blogs and reviews. Its safe to say if ...more
An enjoyable romp through an era when women were first gaining foothold on the corporate ladder. Have we really "come a long way,baby"? Maybe, not so much as we'd like to think. Entering the working world near the end of the Mad era, so much of what Maas had to say about women in the workplace hit home. I do remember when...

I agree with fellow reviewers that the audiobook reader was a poor least initially. Her clipped, "Tandor Media, Coach in a Box" , swallow the end of every sentenc
Liz Matheny
May 31, 2015 Liz Matheny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, easy, light read for those of us going through Mad Men withdrawal. The first chapters are excellent, but then the organization of the memoir fall apart and lose focus. The final chapters use the platform as a feminist commentary on the the "evolving" yet truly stagnant role of mothers in the work force. While I understand what the writer is trying to do, the final chapters feel disconnected and forced. I enjoyed hearing about her rise to power on Madison Avenue, but would have liked to he ...more
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“Late one night, an account man was having sex with his secretary. He was fairly junior, so his inside office didn't have a door, and the big boss happened to be working late and caught them. The result: the account guy was promoted and got an office with a door; the secretary was fired.” 3 likes
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