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

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  1,288 ratings  ·  229 reviews
Fans of the show Mad Men are dying to know how accurate it is. Was there really that much sex at the office? Were there really three-martini lunches? Were women really second-class citizens? Jane Maas says the answer to all three questionsis unequivocally "yes." Her book Mad Women, based on her own experiences and countless interviews with her peers, is a fascinating tell- ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published February 28th 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,828)
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Tammie
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
...more
Beth
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
...more
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
...more
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
Bunny
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
...more
Judith
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
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.
...more
Vida
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
...more
Stephanie
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
...more
Kim
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
Jennifer
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
Rachel
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
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
Anna
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
...more
Denise Murphy
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
Joanne Tombrakos
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.
georgia
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
...more
Jhfrancis01
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 choice...at least initially. Her clipped, "Tandor Media, Coach in a Box" , swallow the end of every sentenc
...more
Nicole Long
When I picked this out to read, I anticipated a light, humorous read about the "truth" of women during the mad men Era. As a fan of the show, I thought that would be great. It was light hearted and humorous, at times, however, there were some pretty serious undertones that still resonate today. The sexism and pay discrepancy were expected. The end of the book addressed the guilt and difficulties that are still associated with working moms today. It is sad that 50 years later women are still exha ...more
Caryl Parker
Super interesting. I now want to read David Ogilvy's book
Evanston Public  Library
So, how accurate is the hugely popular AMC TV series Mad Men? Jane Maas's lively account of that era suggests that the show is pretty good at capturing the zeitgeist of the NY ad world. Maas was that rare breed of "career gal" in the 60s who worked her way up the ranks of some of the top NY agencies (think Peggy from the series). Naturally she has stories galore and tales to tell about the high jinks of her colleagues. Large egos, overly active sex lives, lots of imbibing, and a fair amount of b ...more
Leslie
Jane Maas was one of the pioneering women in advertising during the 1960s, beginning her career as a copywriter and working her way up to Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather. Her talent, tenacity and a supportive family helped her to succeed in a field that most women could only dream of entering.

I am a huge fan of the television show Mad Men and the staff at the fictional advertising firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Ok, it’s my favorite show. While I never worked in the field, adverti
...more
Cate
I liked getting Jane Maas' perspective on working in advertising during the 1960s and learned a lot about the advertising business in general. She also had a great deal about her personal life, some of which was relevant to the book, while other things not so much. For instance, she kept bringing up how she went to college with Phillip Roth.

Also, it seems as though her career really took off in the late 60s and 70s, so some of her experiences were different than the early 60s setting of Mad Men
...more
Rachel
This book caught my eye because 1)my husband and I are huge Mad Men fans and 2)my husband is a creative partner at an advertising agency and I like learning more about the industry in which he works. I constantly pause Mad Men while we're watching and ask him incredulously, "Did stuff like that really happen back then??" Ninety-nine percent of the time, his answer is yes. I was really interested to read a book from a woman's point of view of the era and industry.

Jane Maas has some great stories.
...more
Dennis Fischman
Jane Maas has already written her memoirs and her how-to book. This is her riff on TV's Mad Men, and her reminiscences about the era. It's all here: the titillating tales of sex, drinking, travel, and celebrity, and the gritty realities of working for less money than men who were less talented...but still reserved the big-ticket accounts for themselves.

Looking back at it all, Maas is funny and reflective by turns. She can puff herself for the "I Love New York" campaign and deflate herself for ev
...more
Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)
Did you find this review helpful? Find more of my reviews at Pop! Goes The Reader!

“Was it really like that?”
As soon as people find out I actually worked at an advertising agency in the Mad Men era, they pepper me with questions.
“Was there really that much drinking?” “Were women really treated that badly?” And then they lean in and ask confidentially. “Was there really that much sex?”
The answer is yes. And no.”

If you’re anything like me and can never get enough of AMC’s much celebrated, award-w
...more
Jessica
I don't think even one person who is quoted on this book's cover actually read it. This is not the portrait of an advertising agency, or a portrait of women in advertising in the 60s. It is one woman's loosely grouped memories of a career in advertising. It focuses more on men than women (if I have to read how wonderful David Ogilvy is one more time I'll scream) and relys quite a bit on the reader being familiar with 60s products and ad campaigns to gain any level of understanding.

Maas spends s
...more
Jessica Gaskin
Mad Women, as the title suggests, aims to give an insight into real life as a woman working in advertising in the Mad Men era (1960s). A hugely popular theme, especially for fans of the show (which I am)and to top it off it promises to be both educational and funny. Unfortunately it doesn't quite manage either.

Firstly, this was much more of a themed memoir than an overview of an era. Obviously the most detailed observations can be made from Maas' autobiographical standpoint, some of which were
...more
S'hi
In response to the highly successful Mad Men series over five seasons (only four aired at the time of writing), Jane Maas steps up to straighten the record from the point of view of a woman who was there. Rising through cast management and copywriting to positions of vice president and president in different agencies, this is a candid account of the times, the people and the work involved in the advertising industry.

While many aspects may seem to be time-locked, Maas points out that some issues
...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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