Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career” as Want to Read:
Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Who’s pulling for you? Who’s got your back? Who’s putting your hat in the ring? Odds are this person is not a mentor but a sponsor. Mentors can build your self-esteem and provide a sounding board—but they’re not your ticket to the top.

If you’re interested in fast-tracking your career, what you need is a sponsor—a senior-level champion who believes in your potential and is
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  420 ratings  ·  50 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book goes against every fundamental belief I have for what it means to be a good employee. To paraphrase, Hewlett states that it's more important to be a "loyal protege" than be productive. The secret to being a leader with vitality is also, apparently, having "toned arms."

Frankly, I've gotten much better advice from my mentors.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Sadly, my first audiobook was not a good experience.
Katie Boyer
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I like the distinction between mentor and sponsor - but that's about all I liked about the book. I got the audiobook for free and it was short at least.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is easy reading and accessible but at the same time controversial. Mostly, may seem to be counterintuitive to the idea of working hard and getting noticed / promoted solely on this basis.

Let's be clear upfront: sponsors choose top performers who will get things done so make no mistake in thinking having a backup is all you need to be successful. However, you should understand that sometimes hard work is not enough to get to the next level. In times of high competition and reorgs, it's e
Weekend Reader_
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Depending on how you view your career this book may be very helpful. If you are very motivated by money then you should absolutely read this book, but if you are not then I'm not sure how helpful it will be. Also, the title is definitely misleading throughout the book the author clearly indicates you need a mentor to navigate political climate, unwritten rules, and mature as a professional. Where a mentor might not be as helpful is upward mobility and he/she may not have the social capital for t ...more
Rui Ling
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Women whose career has stalled
It's not mind-blowing or exceptionally genius but it does provide some insights that may help. Everyone is bound to make mistakes and it would hurt you more if you have no idea you are making them (and thus keep repeating them). Navigating the social waters at work is hard, especially if you are not Caucasian and male, so i do think this book will add something.

On top of that, the main point is about finding sponsors and not mentors. The terms are differentiated: Sponsors are those who will sti
Mander Pander
It was uncomfortable and stunk of old school mafioso leadership, very much in the way "I'll raise you up and you can owe me a favor later on." The author discusses these concepts in depth, actually.
Here are some other choice quotes that made me think executive leadership might not be for me:

"...compromising one's authenticity is what is required, she says, for any top job." (182) <--this concept is not refuted, by the way.

"your target may exercise authority in a way that you don't care to cop
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Very similar to her book Executive Presence. Same stories and ideas. I preferred this book over EP. It seemed fresher. While mentors are valuable, I've had a few myself, I see the reason finding a sponsor has greater impact in one's career. Overall a good read.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't get me wrong: mentors matter. You absolutely need them. But they're not your ticket to the top. Mentors give, whereas sponsors invest!

Overall I found this self help book of wonders excellent and quite useful. The logic behind it is easy to understand and grasp.

Obviously in todays world where everyone has a mentor, mentors aren't enough. So get a sponsor, someone to pull the ropes and strings, and up you go!

A nice interesting read with a whole new perspective, and filled with polite ways
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Find a Sponsor - Who’s pulling for you? Who’s got your back? Who’s putting your hat in the ring? Odds are this person is not a mentor but a sponsor. Mentors can build your self-esteem and provide a sounding board—but they’re not your ticket to the top. If you’re interested in fast-tracking your career, what you need is a sponsor—a senior-level champion who believes in your potential and is willing to advocate for you as you pursue that next raise or promotion. This a mutually benefited relations ...more
Andreea Lucau
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I am not sure I am exactly the target audience for this book, but I got some valuable lessons for my career none the less. Despite the title, it turns out that having a mentor matters. The book offers useful suggestions on how to use the mentor and the sponsors(s) to get ahead in your career.
One thing that scares me is this constant mention of overdeliver and over-prepare (there are mentions of weekends and holidays spent on work). It makes it look like you can make progress only if you work aro
J C0llier
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great ideas. Gave me an interesting spin on the "it's who you know" thought process. Many people forget to continue networking and that assistance is needed throughout your career.
Lessons learned:
The idea of mentoring is fine but having someone who can sponsor you is better.
One must be able to express one's self and produce results. That's an easy task with help from a sponsor.
Being a protege has bi-directional advantages.
Anyone, no matter the stage in your career, can benefit from this book.
3.5 stars. Maybe it’s because I’m not as ambitious as the target audience. Although there are plenty of good points, I wonder how many can actually accomplish all that this book says is required to make it. The author seems to suggest if you make it to the top, you have it all. I’m not sure that’s possible (to have a super busy work life and fulfilling family/ home life). This book, however is not about how to achieve dreams while putting family first. She seems to suggest if work is great, all ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book has a lot of candid good advice and a clear point of view. Its target audience is women & minorities but others may learn quite a bit too. While I really resonated with this book, I don't think everyone will - for example, if you have firm ideas about what mentorship is and how it's beneficial to you, you may not agree with a lot of what the author says.
Laura Arriba
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good review of the difference between mentoring as we understand it and sponsoring, and the clear advocacy to have both. The examples of sponsorship (or lack of) consequences are very adequate and enlightening. I also like the fact that it lists the expectations from a mentee.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The concepts in this book are controversial. That said, it was well written and easy to understand. Even if you disagree, it’s worth reading - particularly if you are an employer, mentor, or potential sponsor yourself.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I rounded up. Definitely worth the read and very important for women, in particular to understand the difference between a mentor and a sponsor and why you need both to advance your career.
Jim Duncan
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well researched and great advice on some off the beaten path topics that play crucial roles in career paths.
Lori Gibbany
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good plan for success in the executive world.
Emmanuel Balan
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great perspective on how to climb your career ladder. Definitely a women's empowerment book but good for minorities too.
Melissa Yin
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
This book definitely makes me much more aware of the distinction between a mentor and a sponsor: a mentor is someone that you really like and someone you go to for advice, but they don't necessarily have the clout to make things happen for you. A sponsor is someone that you don't necessarily need to feel a personal connection to - just someone hugely influential in your chosen field. You do a great job in your sponsors' tasks for you, and your sponsor advocates for you to make sure that you get ...more
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ambitious young ladies
Shelves: business
This book is a fabulous resource – I really wish I’d read it a couple years ago, though it’s definitely applicable to me now in my career. I was given this book as part of being accepted into a Sponsorship program at my work and I found it extremely helpful, approachable, and a resource I will look to in the future as well as put to use now.

I really identified with a lot of the examples she provides of what not to do in your career (if you want to advance quickly). Like one of her case studies,
Robin Bower
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting and practical book that provides a real strategy for forging a way through the challenges in your career. We've all heard about the importance of mentors, and they play an important role in anyone's development. However, most mentors don't have the influence to propel you forward when what is required is more than 'just' confidence and skills. The sponsor is someone who can give you the opportunity itself. This book gives interesting real-world examples of mostly women and ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women working in a male dominated field
Shelves: leadership, women
Every single women should read this book. Especially if she works in a male dominated field.

First, let’s start with some definitions.

Mentor is somebody who gives you advice or is a shoulder to cry on.

A sponsor is someone in a position where he or she can advance your career in exchange for your loyalty and results. It is a two-way street. It might be a quid pro quid relationship. And that is fine, because you are in that position in the first place because of your hard work and results.

This is
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A first note: I didn't select this book; I was assigned to read this book as part of a sponsorship program at my company.

It felt somewhat padded (it would have been fine as a long New Yorker article or a Kindle single) but made some important points that it took me years to realize in my career -- that promotions don't (only) come from putting your nose to the grindstone and doing good work but from managing your relationships with people in power. While I've come to know that, this book did pu
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is my first review. This also my first book giveaway win. Yay! On to reviewing.

Dr. Hewlett, I both enjoyed and appreciated, but felt forgotten in, the advice provided by this book. It was a very quick, concise, and thoughtful read. I can use much within these pages.

However, as a Black woman, the advice left me very much needing to choose which minority status to align with. As a Gen Y, I felt much of the advice was geared to my age who are somewhat established, but left out those, to a cer
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I finish this review, I'm literally going to open up my corporate Outlook and set up some time on the calendar of a possible sponsor. I've read over 100 business books this year alone for tips on how to be more successful, and I can honestly say that this one has taken about the best 95% of the advice and put it in one place.

My only issue is that there's no mention on the cover that this book will hugely focus on women, minorities, and LGBT needs. That's fine, and pertains to me, and
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014, work
Sometime in the last couple of years, this became required reading for women in higher education - you can't read anything about professional development without it coming up in conversation. My all-women office read it for our June book club pick and while we had great discussion about the topics, my overall reaction is that it was good but not THAT great. It's probably a 3.5 for me, so I rounded up to 4 stars.

It's well-researched and a quick, easy read, but I couldn't help but think that I've
Mavis Chan
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quick and useful read.

Hewlett gives a clear definition of who and what are sponsors, and how do they differ from the traditional mentors.

One quote I'll remember is "How many people do you have in your pocket?", i.e. how many people can you depend upon to come to your assistance when needed. Whether it is to take on a difficult project you have to delegate, or to give you a promotion/job, having deep pockets through sponsorship will ensure that at every step of the way, you'd have well cultivat
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The mentor is the therapist personality who can sit and have coffee with you. The sponsor is someone who can make one phone call and get you a job. This book is full of case studies about people who have faced situations on the job where they either advanced or failed to advance due to their connection or lack thereof to someone who was more politically powerful and connected, and also (down the road) due to whether they were able to maintain and reciprocate that relationship.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Leaders Open Doors: A Radically Simple Leadership Approach to Lift People, Profits, and Performance
  • Overcoming Fake Talk: How to Hold Real Conversations That Create Respect, Build Relationships, and Get Results
  • Profit from the Positive
  • The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think
  • Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership
  • The Cleveland Clinic Way: Lessons in Excellence from One of the World's Leading Healthcare Organizations
  • Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity
  • Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, Nexters in Your Workplace
  • Collaborate or Perish!: Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World
  • The Leader's Checklist: 15 Mission-Critical Principles
  • Can't Buy Me Like
  • The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace
  • A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results
  • Tuesday Morning Coaching ... Eight Simple Truths to Boost Your Career and Your Life
  • The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success
  • SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together
  • Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change
  • Crazy Bosses: Fully Revised and Updated
See similar books…
“Do your job well, make sure your boss is fully informed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” 1 likes
“how you act (gravitas), how you speak (communication), and how you look (appearance) count for a lot in determining your leadership presence.” 1 likes
More quotes…