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The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It
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The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  749 ratings  ·  98 reviews
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. It's just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake. If you are a working woman, chances are this inter�nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you're not alone. From the high-achieving PhD candidat ...more
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Published March 28th 2017 by Tantor Audio (first published October 11th 2011)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  749 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Kimberly Smith
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Every woman should read this book. Enough said.
Apr 04, 2017 marked it as not-for-me  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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.

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.
Nita Costello
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jean Moncrieff
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 did not finish this book. What part I did read wasn't bad, it was quite interesting. It was picked for my book club but I just couldn't get into it after a long stressful day. I needed something less factual and more entertaining to have an escape from daily life. This book just wasn't that. I do want to revisit it when things have calmed down in my life though.
Ji Mun
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young brings up many points and stories that made me rethink or examine how I look at success, proficiency, and patterns of my own. I’m glad I 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.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy the discussion of imposter syndrome and appreciate the work that this author and others have done toward recognizing it and bringing it out into discussion. However, I didn't find the book that helpful in working through the feelings and issues with experiencing it. Narrator was good.
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.
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 :)
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.
Poh Hean
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's really comforting to know that the author and so many other women understood how I feel like an impostor and experienced just what I am going through. Now after reading this book I am confident that I have the rights to continuous learning, the rights to have an off day to make mistakes, and the rights to be confident as my work will help not only myself but others too.
I learned stuff that will help me understand others; but I might be the only woman without impostor syndrome so.

I have heard the noted "crusher" thought mentioned before. It's the idea that ou believe this singular thing about yourself and that leads you to doubt yourself. Mine is more related to my personal life so I guess that's why I feel good about work?
I took her in-person workshop and enjoyed that more than the book. I recommend either take her workshop if you can OR read the book, but doing both makes it all too repetitive. I did enjoy the short 'chutzpah' stories at the very end of the book.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the content of this so much - more people need to learn about imposter syndrome. However, I felt like while the first few chapters were excellent, it go somewhat repetitive. Unfortunately, I think this could have been much shorter and it would have been better as a result.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delving deeply into impostor syndrome, this book offers invaluable advice to men and women alike. Everybody should read it (even overconfident type A men, who could benefit from learning a bit more about gender dynamics and why not everyone thinks like them). Truly a book for everyone.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exactly the book I needed to read. Right on my career break. Right before I run off to Africa feeling anxious and wondering if I'm going to get myself hurt or bankrupt!

I would recommend this book to everyone.
Jelly Welly
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hesitated on 5 only because I personally don't like books with exercises that stop the flow of ideas. This reads fairly smoothly, despite the suggested exercises, which are mostly concentrated in the beginning. I found this book to be very insightful and I took pages of notes.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ignore the title. This book is about impostor syndrome and how to combat it. Excellent and helpful; a lot of the techniques are drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book I wish I had read 15 years ago.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Great book - found a friend to go through it one chapter at a time - good conversation starter!
Armina Frederick
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unsuccessful at completing this book. If the concepts are new, it might help to hear them.
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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
“You can have all the confidence in the world and still be reluctant to self-promote out of a steadfast belief that a person’s work should speak for itself. It doesn’t.” 5 likes
“Years from now no one will remember all the extra projects you took on or your meticulously organized garage. What they—and you—will recall is the time you said no to a work assignment to take your kids to the science museum or when you ignored household chores to enjoy the sunset.” 4 likes
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