When I first saw this audiobook, I only saw the title Knowing Your Value in gigantic, capitalized, bold letters. I didn’t see the small letters of the...moreWhen I first saw this audiobook, I only saw the title Knowing Your Value in gigantic, capitalized, bold letters. I didn’t see the small letters of the subtitle: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth. I was misled into thinking that the audiobook was about knowing your value in general. So I must warn readers that this audiobook is not about that, it’s about how women can ask for higher pay in corporate America.
Mika Brzezinski has done her homework. She’s talked to major female players such as Tina Brown, Nora Ephron, Suze Orman and Arianna Huffington. She shares their advice along with her own. The main narrative is her own story of struggling for years in broadcast journalism until she landed her co-host position on the MSNBC hit show Morning Joe. Even after that milestone, she was still overworked and underpaid. As co-host she worked fulltime on the show, but the network still made her do other freelance assignments and nightly shifts, while knowing she was a working mother and paying the other male host fourteen times her salary.
Brzezinski shares informative facts and figures. For instance, women tend to think they’re lucky when they get a break, ask for less pay (they make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes) and generally operate on emotion and approval (one woman told Brzezinski how she received a pair of nice earrings and plenty of praise for her hard work instead of a raise or promotion). Women also tend to do most of the housework, take care of the family and elders even if they are the breadwinner, and shy away from demanding what they want or need. Besides giving the lay of the land on the gender wage gap issue, Brzezinski gives concrete tips and strategies for how to ask for more pay. For instance, before requesting a raise, hand your boss a single page of all your accomplishments and research what others in your position are earning.
Though the audiobook is informative on a timely topic, it falls short on many fronts. Besides the misleading title, the writing is too simplistic and the same concepts are repeated as if the speaker had momentary amnesia and forgot what she just said. The biggest trouble I had with the audiobook was its reader, Coleen Marlo, who sounded robotic and contrived, similar to a voice on a commercial, nothing like the voice of the author. Ultimately, Marlo’s voice didn’t come across as sincere (perhaps because her voice and the author’s are so different). Since this is Brzezinski’s personal story, I found that glitch to be a serious problem. I’m not sure why the author didn’t narrate her own book. Brzezinski qualifies as a professional speaker herself.
Still, despite the audiobook’s flaws, Brzezinski’s cause of equal pay and the gender wage gap is of utmost importance, and one that working women should flag. Such women will find value in the author’s words. Perhaps they should opt for her book instead. (less)
I read a review of this book in a major magazine and felt compelled to read it. The writer did a good job gathering reporting, but ultimately I felt t...moreI read a review of this book in a major magazine and felt compelled to read it. The writer did a good job gathering reporting, but ultimately I felt the book didn't come together because it wasn't really about the love story. There wasn't a narrative that followed the relationship, from its burgeoning moment until its end. It was basically a biography of Jackie and Bobby, run parallel in one book, with occasional highlights of their love affair. But other than telling us that Jackie adored him, or that he would do anything for her, or that they were the love of their lives, we didn't see this love story unfold. The narrative was also rushed, a hodge podge of info smushed together, and didn't really flow cohesively. Maybe if the writer took more time he could have made it into what the title implied. Still, it's a fast read and not a waste of time if you're interested in the topic.(less)
Now, if you’re going to write a book called The Thoreau You Don’t Know, you better give the reader something big and blazing that we don’t know about...moreNow, if you’re going to write a book called The Thoreau You Don’t Know, you better give the reader something big and blazing that we don’t know about him, especially to those diehard fans out there like me. Of course I’m writing this review from a different perspective since I do know a lot about him, having read Walden over ten times, and many biographies on his life. I can see what the writer was trying to do, show him in a different light than as a prophet of nature that lived in the woods. But honestly, I have to say I didn’t learn much about Thoreau in this book that I didn’t already know. I do like how the writer goes into the transcendental movement, and gives some context to his life. He also does an excellent job starting chapters. The sentences that begin each one grab the reader, and keep him interested. I think they are the best chapter beginnings I have ever read of any nonfiction book. Still after reading I didn’t really get a sense of a new Thoreau, or the real Thoreau. The only way to do that is to read Walden many times and his essays, particularly the one on John Brown, the abolitionist. Then we see who this passionate man really is.(less)