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The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,160 ratings  ·  136 reviews
Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel--and act--as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young.

It's only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don't deserve this. I
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Crown Business (first published October 11th 2011)
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Kimberly Smith
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I would rate this book a 4.5 and not because it's the most riveting book I've ever read, but because it was life changing information for me.

One thing that shocked me are the sum total of all the little remarks that permeate our society that are subtle put-downs to women. I thought we had come so far as women, and yet women are demeaned every day in subtle ways that affect how we perceive ourselves. I was shocked at the blind studies that show that women have to work harder to be taken as serio
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: august-2020
this book is great but it's way too long. it goes on and on about what I'm currently doing but the tips don't start until a good chunk of a way in. I would prefer the physical more than the audiobook.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book is all about the imposter syndrome in women--thinking that you're a fake and you don't deserve the success or the happiness that you have. I was quite certain I had this, but as I read this book and learned about the causes and symptoms and signs and coping mechanisms of the "syndrome" I kept thinking "NONE of these apply to me!" So . . . I guess this book helped me to figure out that I'm an arrogant little thing who thinks she deserves great things in this world.
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I remember attending a talk by Young on Imposter Syndrome when I was a bewildered first-year graduate student at MIT. She was a great speaker and her words were timely, giving me a huge sense of relief. I may not have let "imposter thoughts" go immediately, but she got me thinking about it seriously.

Fast forward a few years - I'm a Ph.D. candidate now and in a much more peaceful place for various reasons. Young's book was still an interesting read, but not really in the same way. Her work is def
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, kindle
I had thought this would be a book of "secret thoughts of successful women." But this is something of a misnomer. The book is not filled with interviews and discussions from successful women. The first chapter or two has lots of quotes, which is great. But then the author launches into a psychological analysis of her theories on the imposter syndrome, especially for women, and then how to combat feeling like an imposter. This is useful stuff, so I adapted to my disappointment and kept reading.

Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women gave me the pep talk I needed.

I never knew the Impostor Syndrome existed, because I always believed in what I am doing. It is rare for me to experience doubts in the things I do. Whenever I accomplish something, I own it and I truly believe that I deserve it.

Occasionally, I would cry for unknown reasons I do not understand. Probably it is because of the self-conflict when it comes to the success I foresee after I accomplish things. Maybe it is because I a
Ellie Van Dyke
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every woman should read this book. Enough said.
Imaan Tamimi
'The title is jarring' was my first thought when I was looking for books on Imposter Syndrome, but the book kept cropping up again and again in different articles about it. And eventually I thought 'Why not give this a go', so I did and I'm glad that I did (I still find the title jarring though).

I didn't know, until about last month, that Imposter Syndrome was the underlying thread in my mind for almost a decade. That's the cool thing about putting a name to something, it gives you target to go
I had a crisis of confidence during a recent author's conference. I debated about saying anything on social media, but finally did ... and the outpouring of "me too" was both gratifying and disturbing.

In the course of the ensuing discussion, this book was recommended to me ... and I cannot say how glad I was. Author Valerie Young goes not into just what impostor syndrome looks and feels like, but also where it comes from (she postulates seven different origins). The one that resonated with me w
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic book for those of us who are interested in this phenomenon. Highly recommended.
Apr 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I was lucky enough to see Dr Young give a seminar at my university. The talk was really helpful---not just great lecture content, but also interactive segments of discussion with fellow students at our tables, showing us firsthand just how many other people across campus deal with similar worries.

This book is just fine, but I don't think I got anything extra out of it beyond what was in the seminar. So: try to hear her speak instead if you can, though the book is a fine alternative if you can't.
Apr 04, 2017 marked it as n-f-m
Shelves: non-fiction
In the first chapter, I felt a bit left out, like this book wasn't really for me. After another couple chapters, I did wonder whether I had such a deeply repressed case of Imposter Syndrome that even this book couldn't help me. By chapter four, I felt utterly miserable. Then I just go bored with it all.

While I think everyone suffers from these thoughts now and again, some definitely more than others, this book isn't for me. By the time I put it aside, I was actually a little bit angry and could
Shayna Ross
DNF - got about halfway, but it just isn't the right book for me right now during the pandemic.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked her writing style. Smooth and easy to understand. Lots of useful tips and great examples! I'll read it again.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great info but a bit preachy at times. Could also have been the narrator’s tone on the audiobook, which I wasn’t thrilled with.
Samantha York
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-work
Strongly recommend this book for those who think they may be experiencing symptoms of imposter syndrome and want to know a little more and DIY some responses.

If, like me, you've attended a couple of webinars and read a bunch of articles - note: they're either pulling from or more recent than this book.

It's great, but no longer groundbreaking.
Janet Civitelli
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books because every time a career coaching client tells me that she is constantly worried that she isn't as smart or competent as everyone thinks she is, I think, "Aha! Impostor Syndrome at work!" For many people I know (including myself), it is extremely helpful to name what is happening and to know that you aren't alone in feeling that way.

One of the best parts of the book is Dr. Young's examples of famous people who struggle with the Impostor Syndrome. To me, it rea
Lee Ann
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I feel like this is the kind of book I can't really rate until I see some results (or lack thereof), so I'm going with 3 stars for now.

There was a lot I liked, and a lot I disagreed with.

I liked how validating the book was. It didn't try to belittle anyone for their impostor syndrome, but rather gave a name to the feeling and gave the reader the tools they need to confront and overcome it. I also liked that the author acknowledged intersectionality, and the ways that impostor syndrome affects pe
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'd honestly say maybe 3.5 stars? But partly that's because I was already aware of and working on this and some related issues in the past. It may be closer to 4 for those who haven't. She has some good advice and tips, and does a good job of making one feel not alone in their imposter feelings and goes to great lengths to show how common it is - even among very successful people- which is helpful . She does focus on societal problems some, which I find a bit frustrating because there's not much ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
V. Young is an internationally known workshop leader and her work has been cited in many publications. There were many sections in this book, I knew exactly what she was talking about… because that’s how I had behaved… following what was expected from me as a woman in particular era, including 70s, 80s, 90s and until today. Growing up in the Eastern culture, then living in America as a minority, studying in a field where men were the majority, my self-confidence was at the bottom. I was used to ...more
Nita Shoyket
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Though I did not agree or relate with some of what was presented, I gained some insight and understanding as to why I do not feel as confident as I should. I mean, I ask myself why do some people (idiotic men) have so much confidence and seem like they are super human? I am smarter, tougher, funnier, more educated. Why do I feel inadequate at times? Well, apparently some "fake it till they make it." As an example, this book talked about how men will apply for jobs for which they are only partial ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This book talks about impostor syndrome: what it is, who is affected by it, what does it look like, why we get it, and - most importantly - how to prevent it from affecting decisions we make. As an immigrant woman of color working in a technical field, impostor syndrome is a feeling I struggle against daily.

I appreciate that Young does not prescribe a "cure" for impostor syndrome; instead, she advises that we acknowledge that it exists and try to identify the ways in which it influences the way
Jean Moncrieff
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent read for women and men. Ever had that feeling that you're not worthy of your success? Or that you landed where you are by pure luck? Or somebody screwed up in administration and gave you a place you don't deserve? You feel that it's only a matter of time before somebody uncovers that you're a fraud. Then this one is worth a read, especially if you are a woman or entrepreneur. Most of us experience some degree of Impostor Syndrome in our lives. Stop allowing it to hold you back. For ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A 3ish for me

It's a well researched book that will help you be more self aware. I was so sure I'd also had some imposter syndrome but I realised unknowingly I did manage to work on that in the past few years. So I don't think I've got a severe case of it like the book talks about. So didn't relate with all the scary thoughts that other people face.

However I do have two takeaways :
1. It is totally okay to fake it and pretend to be confident. Will be more mindful of this.
2. Chutzpah is pronounced
Jul 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quit-reading
This book was incredibly negative from the beginning. I was looking for some uplifting thoughts from successful women, things to keep me from getting bogged down in the details. This books immediately starts with all of the reasons the deck is stacked against women. Those things aren't wrong, and it's probably good to know about them, but it was seriously depressing, which I think was the opposite effect the author was going for. I quit about halfway through when the depressing pattern kept up.
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have ever thought, "I can't do this" or "I'm not good enough", this book is for you.

Valerie Young makes anyone feel like they fit in when they think they are imposters in their lives. I have felt like I was drowning and that I would never succeed because I thought I wasn't the right person for the job. As it turns out, I CAN do this, and I WILL succeed simply because I can.

Women, let's use this advice to help each other and raise each other up!
I think I would have given this higher stars if I hadn't picked it up after going to her workshop. This was a good book, but it almost exactly follows her workshop/speech. I expected the book to have further information. Even the examples were the same. Still, well written in a easy-going voice, and good information :)
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This is my second time reading the book, and I find it just as helpful as the first time. The book definitely boosts morale and does a great job letting the reader know that they're not alone. For me, it helped to point out certain weak areas, such as a procrastinator mindset that I wasn't consciously aware of.

Overall, it was a good book and I enjoyed reading it.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audiobook but want to re-read it on my Kindle. It's an important book for women who aspire to leadership and management positions in male-dominated fields. It should also be required reading for male leaders and managers to raise awareness about the experience of many women who desire upward career mobility.
Ji Mun
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Young brings up many points and stories that made me rethink or examine how I️ look at success, proficiency, and patterns of my own. I’m glad I️ finished the book.

Several anecdotes seem out of place, and in few spots, she fails to connect the stories back to the point she tries to establish in particular chapters or sub-sections.
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Play Book Tag: The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women - 5 stars 1 6 Jun 25, 2020 02:44PM  

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VALERIE YOUNG is an internationally known workshop leader and public speaker and the former marketing manager at a Fortune 200 company. Her work has been cited in such publications as Women’s Day, Redbook, Fitness, Self, Cosmopolitan, Inc., and the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Globe and Mail. She lives in Montague, Massachusetts. Visit the au¬thor online at ...more

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