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Pushback: How Smart Women Ask--and Stand Up--for What They Want

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Popular leadership blogger gives the low-down on standing up for yourself In Pushback , top leadership consultant Selena Rezvani argues that self-advocacy is critical to success. Yet women initiate negotiations four times less often than men, resulting in getting less of what they want―promotion opportunities, plum assignments, and higher pay. This book shines a light on the real rules of holding your own and pushing back for what is rightfully yours. Drawing on interviews with high-level leaders, Rezvani offers readers in the first half of their career the unedited truth about how women have asked their way to the top and triumphed―and how you can too. Insightful and accessible, Pushback is a timely resource for savvy women who want to leverage their skills, promote themselves effectively, and fast track their careers.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published March 26, 2012

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About the author

Selena Rezvani

10 books21 followers
Named by Forbes “the premier expert on standing up for yourself at work,” Selena Rezvani is the author of the new book Quick Confidence, which is based off a viral newsletter she started in 2020. Selena also wrote the bestseller Pushback and The Next Generation of Women Leaders. Selena addresses thousands of professionals each year and has been featured in TEDx, Harvard Business Review, Inc., Todayshow.com, and NPR. Today she’s a columnist for NBC News Know Your Value. Selena is based in Philadelphia where she lives with her husband Geoff and 10 year old boy-girl twins.

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5 stars
144 (32%)
4 stars
138 (31%)
3 stars
126 (28%)
2 stars
30 (6%)
1 star
6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for Robin.
168 reviews35 followers
December 31, 2012
Much of the information in this book I learned through Managing Up, Negotiation and Emotional Intelligence courses, however Pushback:How Smart Women Ask--Stand Up--For What They Want pulls it all together with interviews with women executives, psychological and executive research findings and practical methods to prepare for negotiations or difficult conversations.

This book is aimed to women who are interested in moving up in their career. Selena Rezvani, author and leadership blogger sums it up best, "If there’s one central theme that’s been woven throughout this book, it’s self-directed action. No one else is going to build those relationships for you, no one else is going to shape your personal brand, and certainly no one else will advocate on your behalf for what you truly want. Taking complete responsibility for the results we have today reminds us of the active role we play in our future and overall well-being." Read this book and and get started today! We need more women in leadership roles!
Profile Image for Gabriella Hoffman.
97 reviews38 followers
April 10, 2022
Pushback has some great tips but it came off repetitive and stale at times. Not a fool proof strategy as women have different interests, experience levels, and work conditions. But if you’re just beginning your business career and looking to climb the ladder, this can help women advance their interests and negotiate on their terms. The author is absolutely correct that every successful woman has had her share of challenges in business — myself included!- so adversity can make you stronger and receiving rejections are motivators to excel better and prove your critics wrong.
Profile Image for Erica.
721 reviews199 followers
May 11, 2017
I read this book for my company's Women in Leadership book club. Pushback is an excellent little book on how to ask for what you want in a professional setting. The first few chapters outline several reasons why women struggle to ask for what they want or deserve, and the remaining chapters focus on negotiating techniques and examples from female professionals with plenty of quotes and anecdotes thrown in. I especially appreciated how Rezvani highlighted that you need to advocate for yourself rather than waiting around for your boss to notice you or hoping that your hard work speaks for itself. Highly recommended to professional women.
Profile Image for Melina.
269 reviews18 followers
February 21, 2016
Excellent book on how to ask for what you want in a professional setting. The first few chapters help to set the stage on why women struggle to ask for what they want or deserve. The rest of the chapters focus on techniques and examples. I reread these chapters as I was preparing for job interviews and critical business negotiations.

I highly recommend this book to any female professional looking for guidance on this subject.
Profile Image for Jaclyn Day.
736 reviews326 followers
February 22, 2016
I've read dozens and dozens of books on business, workplace behavior, advancing in the workplace, navigating the professional world as a woman, learning to be a productive working mother--and the list goes on. But none of them have come close to the searing, thought-provoking, and actionable content in this book.

I started dog-earing pages early and ended up folding over the corners of nearly every single page. There are constant gems: some you can use today, some you will use tomorrow, some you can pass along to someone else. Although the book was written for women, the content is applicable to anyone in the workplace. It's such an important book that I want to share it with my friends, family, and the people I work with. Unlike the good but lofty ideals of a Lean In-style book, or the sometimes self-important musings from productivity experts, this book was immediately and intensely empowering for me. It challenged my thinking almost from the first page.
Profile Image for Leah Hortin.
1,223 reviews37 followers
January 25, 2016
I thought this was a pretty good book! I got it to help me for professional reasons - it focuses on negotiating in the workplace. A lot of it is common sense (and stuff I had already been doing) but it was good to reaffirm I was doing the correct thing. I also snagged some good lines and phrasing. It goes through everything from preparation to body language to different techniques (like the power of silence) all the way to the follow-up piece. I'll definitely refer to this in the future when I'm needing a little boost in confidence with a big ask.
Profile Image for Word Owl.
28 reviews
July 9, 2014
None of the information was exactly new or surprising, nevertheless it was a great, practical read. ...more
Profile Image for Sierra Stroner.
54 reviews2 followers
April 22, 2020
This had a pretty rough start, and if I didn't feel like I HAD to read it for a book club, I would have given up in the first couple of chapters. This rough start for me was due to two big things. 1) A focus on Gen Xers as if this topic didn't matter to Millennials at all, even though the oldest Millennials were already 33-34 and in the middle of their careers when this was published. 2) A over-reliance on gender norms, which kind of acted like all women were affected by the exact same struggles. This was off-putting for me, as it made the book's premise feel much less applicable to me.

However, starting around the middle of chapter 3, the advice and examples started to get much more practical, and the mentions of how certain aspects affected women, were just that, small mentions. Overall, that made all of the material feel much more relatable to me, and I finally started to really get some great information from it.

Overall, if you really want to read a book on negotiation, this can be beneficial; you'll just might have to push through the first 2.5 chapters.
Profile Image for Unwisely.
1,397 reviews13 followers
April 30, 2020
A book about how women can argue at work without ruining their career. Practical lessons, from actual females in business. Which is something I really need. I have already recommended it to several friends who have been having the same issues at their jobs.

There's a lot about negotiation that I am not entirely sure how to apply, but luckily I don't need to. One of the tips was about doing a lot of research so you can be ready for any question has really been something I've already applied in my own life. If I know I have to deal with [coworker], I will do the research and make a spreadsheet with the relevant info. If he pushes back, I am ready. (And if he doesn't, when he complains to the boss, I can reference that data collection effort to say why I made that decision. Which happened last week. I have the information right here! makes you look really good, turns out.)

Profile Image for Maggie Oates.
16 reviews29 followers
May 3, 2018
Like most good pep talks, this book won't tell you much you probably didn't already know. I think it's best-read if you have a specific upcoming or previous negotiation in mind. It'd be helpful to frame and organize your thinking going in. You'll get more out of it if you're a deliberate and interactive reader, rather than scanning for tips.

More empirical research would have been a lovely complement to the interesting exec anecdotes. The studies that were presented glossed over methodologies and findings and felt like pop-science instead of being convincing.

That said, if you're going to read something on women & negotiation, this is probably a decent choice. I recommend Ch. 3, "Prepare Psychologically" if you're going to pick-and-choose sections.
88 reviews
November 12, 2018
This book is somewhat akin to having a short pep talk with a career coach and focuses on how women can negotiate favorable outcomes in the workplace. I particularly enjoyed the many quotes that Selena Rezvani incorporates from the female executives she interviewed while doing background research for the book.

As a side note, I don't think the content of this book is correctly labeled as "pushback" (a title that suggests coming from a place of weakness and does not do justice to the narratives, experiences, and strategies described in the book). Fortunately, the book doesn't get caught up in the shortcomings of the title and mostly focuses on negotiation not from a place of weakness but rather from a place of strength.
Profile Image for Laura.
62 reviews
January 12, 2017
I recommend this book to women who would like to up their negotiating skills. The tips are practical and easily applied. The tips range from job offers to performance reviews to sales pitches and other business examples. 4 stars because there is a small underlying condescending "don't you dare let him/them treat you that way" which I felt did not add benefit to the message of the book. That in itself should not stop you from reading it at all, but I felt it worth mentioning. My opinion is there is no reason to be angry; there is only reason to get out and pursue what you truly want.
Profile Image for Mariah.
156 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2020
Good key points

There were some good tidbits in this book, but I didn't need to read it. I have read other negotiation books that had similar advice, without the feminine slant. If you've never read a negotiation book, this is worth it. Good for someone early in their career, learning to navigate the career world.
9 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2017
Enjoyed the book as giving some great insights and tips as what Women can do to make their way to the top. I am a big fan of Lean In and found this book to go a bit further in "how to get there". It is a straight forward read with practical advices.
Profile Image for Claudia.
9 reviews1 follower
September 13, 2021
Some good pointers and I like that advice of successful woman is woven throughout the book though the structure itself wasn't very thought through. Nothing was very thought provoking either though the simplicity made it an easy read.
Profile Image for Ask TPJ.
Author 1 book8 followers
March 19, 2019
I highly recommend for women who aim to climb the corporate ladder.
Profile Image for Jessi.
12 reviews
May 21, 2020
I don't think that I've ever had a problem pushing back and asking for what I want, but this did have good examples and methods to practice.
10 reviews
December 28, 2021
I happen to pick up this book while looking for a different tittle and I am so glad I did that.
Loved reading it. A good book to be perseverant yet not spiteful.
23 reviews
April 13, 2022
Insightful guide to negotiation, describing things that typically hold women back in their careers and how to overcome those tendencies.
1 review
July 29, 2022
The writing is not as good as I'd like at points, but the content is great.
Profile Image for Asha.
479 reviews
January 13, 2022
Though this is older, I found this book extremely helpful. All the advice given in here are things we already know but I like that the author shows us how to use these tools to our advantage.
Profile Image for Tracey Axnick.
99 reviews
October 21, 2014
I went out and picked up the hard copy of the book - I simply felt it HAD to be better than the audio version. And guess what? It was!
The book is well structured and has some excellent ideas. I enjoyed it very much, and recommend it for any woman in the workplace. However, I can't recommend the audio version - try as I might, I just couldn't get past the narrator's grating and sarcastic voice and delivery.

Tried listening to this title via Audible but the narrator had a dreadful voice. Sounded like one of Marge Simpson's sisters. I will have to read the print version; I simply couldn't get past the voice issue.
Profile Image for Desi.
1 review
October 5, 2012
There are books out there on women and negotiation and some are better than others- consider this one in the "better" category. Using her research of women executives from different industries, the author identifies why we need to negotiate and what's at stake if we don't. I definitely think the tips in this book can help me make a bigger impact- not just when negotiating, but in contentious meetings and debates too. The use of many scenarios, firsthand stories and research data points reinforces the overall message but keeps it interesting and down to earth.
Profile Image for Maurya.
713 reviews14 followers
November 11, 2016
I give this 5 stars because I really believe it should be read by most women, regardless of what field they are in. (I also think men would benefit too.)

I believe it will be a confidence booster for most. She talks about mindset, our confidence sets, and other areas to think about to be the best we can be.

Quotes from this book:
If it's true, it's not bragging.
If two people always agree, then one isn't needed.

Importance of Subject - 5 stars
Writing style - 3.5 stars
Value - 5 stars
Profile Image for Jennie Morton.
254 reviews
August 28, 2015
Practical, no-nonsense, straightforward advice. Skips over the "why" women and men are different in the workplace and cuts right to empowering women to be more vocal and active. Unlike other books of this nature, where you really have to work hard to translate the advice for non-executive positions, this is full of great tips that could be used for any professional exchanges.
Profile Image for Kelly.
62 reviews
November 6, 2013
Loaded with practical advice and strategies. Ms. Rezvani is adept at providing ample quotes and examples to illustrate her points, which I found helpful when trying to draw parallels to my own situation. Highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews

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