Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers

Rate this book
If you work nonstop without a break...worry about offending others and back down too easily...explain too much when asked for information....or "poll" your friends and colleagues before making a decision, chances are you have been bypassed for promotions and ignored when you expressed your ideas. Although you may not be aware of it, girlish behaviors such as these are sabotaging your career!

Dr. Lois Frankel reveals why some women roar ahead in their careers while others stagnate. She's spotted a unique set of behaviors--101 in all--that women learn in girlhood that sabotage them as adults. Now, in this groudbreaking guide, she helps you eliminate these unconscious mistakes that could be holding you back--and offers invaluable coaching tips you can easily incorporate into your social and business skills. If you recognize and change the behaviors that say "girl" not "woman", the results will pay off in carrer opportunites you never thought possible--and in an image that identifies you as someone with the power and know-how to occupy the corner office.

288 pages, Paperback

First published February 11, 2004

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Lois P. Frankel

29 books137 followers
Dr. Lois Frankel, President of Corporate Coaching International, a Pasadena, California consulting firm, literally wrote the book on coaching people to succeed in businesses large and small around the globe. Her books Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office and Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich are international bestsellers translated into over twenty-five languages worldwide. Stop Sabotaging Your Career, a book based on her experiences as a pioneer in the field of business coaching working with everyone from CEOs to entry-level professionals, is a must-read for both men and women.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,602 (27%)
4 stars
5,403 (32%)
3 stars
4,464 (26%)
2 stars
1,651 (9%)
1 star
738 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,071 reviews
Profile Image for Gwen.
1,045 reviews33 followers
March 29, 2012
As cliched as it sounds, this book was a revelation to me. As a young feminist who is just starting out in her career, I was relatively certain that the professional world would have changed since Frankel wrote her book and that acting in a professional (yet reserved) fashion would be sufficient in today's workplace. Clearly, I was mistaken (although not as much as I thought).

Frankel first has the reader take a 49 question quiz, which is able to determine which of the eight areas are both your strong and weak points. My strengths were in "how you think," "how you look," and "how you play the game." Honestly, parts of the "how you look" section of the book was a bit ridiculous and somewhat dated, even though this book is but 8 years old, (don't wear inappropriate makeup, dress appropriately, grooming in public, wrong hairstyle, etc.), but the DC Interns blog, cataloging all the mishaps of our annual guests, exists for a reason. All of these examples show up repeatedly in that blog, so clearly, this issue still exists. For me, the parts about "dressing the part" were the easiest--it was the more physical ways of holding yourself that I learned I needed to work on.

My weakest points were in "how you market yourself" and "how you respond," two areas that I *knew* I had problems.

I gleaned many, many tips from the book (my poor library copy was tabbed to pieces), mostly subtle things that I can easily put into action--indeed, I already have tried out many of these action items.

"How You Play the Game"

1) Allow yourself to 'waste' a little time each day. 'Wasting' time, like getting coffee or going out to lunch, allows you to build personal relationships with your coworkers. (Which might help you in getting another job later...) While I might feel a bit guilty stepping away from my desk to grab coffee with coworkers, building these personal relationships over the years has been good for my personal life (new friends!) but it might pay off professionally. (Not, of course, that my coworkers are only good for finding other jobs!)

2) "Stop volunteering for low-profile, low impact assignments." Just because I *can* volunteer doesn't mean that I should. Additionally, stop trying to help out in solving problems. It sounds a bit cold-hearted (especially to someone who seems to have this crazy need to help everyone everytime), but "avoid the inclination to want to solve the problem for them. It's *their* problem, not yours." I think this is all part of learning how to say NO. (Easier said than done, I know.)

3) Taking breaks. A former coworker/mentor of mine said that she had to take breaks throughout the day so that she wouldn't lose her mind. I didn't realize the importance of her wise words at the time (what, you mean I can leave my desk for a bit?!), but now I try to get up and move around for a bit every few hours. Coffee, lunch, a brief walk outside--all help to better my mood and make me more productive when I get back to my desk.

4) Couch requests in the form of a statement. Don't ask--TELL. Make it a fait accompli. (Would only work if you make plans: "I've added money to the budget for extra training and staff members" instead of just asking for more money.)

5) Don't necessarily avoid office politics. I love politics, but office politics--especially in small offices--terrify me. You need to define what you have to offer to another person and what you need/want from the other person. "Each time you go out of your way for someone or give them what you they need, you've earned a figurative 'chip' that you can later cash in for something you need." Everything is in exchange for something else. My problem: actually cashing in my 'chips.' I *hate* asking people for things.

6) Don't be the office conscience. Obviously, if something is heinously wrong, tell someone, but you need to weigh the benefit of pointing out minor infractions against the possible consequences.

7) DON'T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP. Probably my #1 problem, both professionally and academically. If I don't 100% have to talk, I won't. Too many occassions of being told how dumb my opinion/thought/comment/question was has made me incredibly wary of ever opening my mouth, even if I know that I'm right. I know that I need to speak up more, and a good way of doing this is to practice speaking up in meetings (or class) at least once per session. It gets easier each time. And this is totally true.

8) Capitalize on relationships. As I'm working on my grad thesis, I've learned how important this is. Nobody will want to talk to you, but if you namedrop/refer to others/get an introduction, getting information/what you want becomes much easier. I think this goes together with #5.

"How You Act"

1) Don't poll before you make a decision, aka 'crowdsourcing,' of which I'm very guilty of doing. I think it's fine when you're trying to decide where to meet for dinner or what to wear, but professionally, it shows that you can't make a decision. Action item: take risks--make small decisions without input. Figure out what you have to lose if you do X.

2) Stop needing to be liked. I think this is so ingrained in teaching gender roles--that it's better to be liked than many other things. Remember that when people are angry/annoyed at you, it might be because they're trying to get you to do something that they want/act a certain way. I'm not sure that I 100% agree with this, but I do know that being liked isn't necessarily the best method of achieving what you want at the risk of everything else.

3) ASK QUESTIONS--STOP FEELING SCARED OF SOUNDING STUPID. Yup, easily my #1 problem. I was always taught that it's better to not say anything and have people think you're dumb than to open your mouth and have it confirmed, but I do know that such thinking is wrong. Correcting years of that, though, is rough. Asking questions to understand is a sign of confidence, not ignorance. If asking a question will help other people, definitely go for it. Best takeaway from this entry: "If people make you feel stupid over a question you've asked, you can assume it's their problem, not yours. If they do it consistently, ask them point blank why they feel the need to put you down just because you've asked a question." The last part will be rough to put in action (hello, fear of confrontation!), but it's definitely valid.

4) Don't give the whole truth unless it's 100% necessary. This is so true with job applications. Women are more apt to not apply for a job if they don't meet all qualifications, while men will apply when it's about a 75% match of skills to qualifications. Two key points: "Don't make a mistake worse by embellishment...Avoid the tendency to agree or explain, and don't allow yourself to feel bad about it. Practice saying, 'I understand what you're saying, and I'll keep that in mind in the future.'" And "It's true I don't have all the qualifications listed, but what makes me a viable candidate is my depth of hands-on experience." Definitely something to keep in mind as I job search.

5) Don't share too much personal information. If a personal situation is affecting job performance, don't explain, but say, "I'm going through a rough time right now but my job is important to me. I'll work on paying closer attention to the details."

6) Don't always feel the need to help. "Because women are taught early in their lives that others must know more than they do, so knowledge and self-confidence must be gained externally. Helping others is one way capable women gain external validation for their self-worth." SO TRUE.

"How You Think"

This was by far my strongest attribute, but there are still some things I need to work on.

1) Manage expectations--don't get taken advantage of. Be willing to go the extra mile, but make sure to tell people when an expectation is unrealistic.

2) PERFECTIONISM. "Perfect is the enemy of the good" is something I need tattooed on me somewhere. Strive for 80% perfection--the difference between 80% and 100% is so small and often won't be noticed, but it will buy you more time for other important tasks.

"How You Brand and Market Yourself"

And one of my worst categories. I hate selling myself (see my review of "Do What You Love"--it's classic ISTJ behavior, apparently), but I know that I need to become much better at it, especially during a job hunt.

1) Make a list of 3-5 things you enjoy at work, then translate them into strengths, and then note how that makes you different than others.

2) Don't sell yourself short. "When offered a position or assignment that's new to you, TAKE IT. If others have enough confidence in you that you can do the job, YOU SHOULD, TOO." I need to remember this.

3) DON'T BE SO MODEST. Again, I think this is so ingrained in women that it's hard to take credit for a job well done. Stop saying "Oh, it was nothing." It WAS something. Learn how to say "thank you" after being given a compliment. I'm trying so hard on this one, and I think some things are actually beginning to sink in!

4) Get out of your safety zone--this is one I actually did *before* reading this book. After a bit of pressure/boost of confidence from a coworker, I volunteered for a writing assignment, and my boss said "sure." And now I'm quite nicely doing it. I'm stretching my skill set and learning new things. "If you're willing to take the calculated risk of possibly failing, it's not selfish to learn on the job."

5) Stop doing stereotypical "girl" jobs, like making coffee or copies. If asked, you should suggest that the duty be on a rotating basis. I'm not necessarily guilty of this (so far), but this would be a good one to remember when I find another job that isn't as laid-back (in terms of office attitude--we all get our own coffee and make our own copies if needed) as the one I have now. I have a feeling this might be an issue later on. This comes up again in "How You Respond," but learn to say "It's a big deal to me" if your boss complains about you not wanting to make coffee, etc.

"How You Sound"

1) Stop using "upspeak"--making every statement sound like a question. I think I've gotten myself out of this this completely, but I know that I'm much more likely to couch opinions as questions, which I need to stop. Be assertive!

2) Don't always explain. Just because you know more about a subject doesn't mean you need to say it all. "Depending on your level of expertise, it may be incomplete to you, but not to the other person." This goes along with thinking that everyone knows more than you do.

3) Don't ask for permission--just inform. "By informing others you show respect for their need to know, but without *your* action being contingent upon *their* approval." If people have a problem, they'll let you know.

4) STOP APOLOGIZING. JUST STOP. "Apologizing for unintentional, low-profile, non-egregious errors erodes our self-confidence and, in turn, the confidence others have in us." If something is egregious, apologize ONCE, then move on--turn it into an objective assessment and think of ways to fix the problem. Always think that you're EQUAL to the other person (someone may be of higher rank, but that doesn't make them better--hard habit to break from a military background, though).

5) Practice saying "thank you." Goes along with accepting compliments. Don't downplay what you did. "Thank you. I'm quite proud of what I achieved and must give some credit to those who helped me along the way."

6) Directly answer whatever question there is. Don't waffle. Take a risk--say 'yes' or 'no.' You don't have to be 100% perfect--better than sounding wishy-washy.

7) DON'T TALK TOO FAST. Something else I'm 100% guilty of. I think my opinion isn't valid, so I try to talk (on the rare occasions that I *do* talk) as quickly as possible so that someone else with a better opinion can speak. STOP THAT. You are entitled to be seen and heard. You are entitled to take all the time you need to convey your message.

8) Stop using touchy-feely language. Be assertive. "I think..." "I believe..." "I intend..." "I would like..." Be strong! Be direct! Language strongly conveys messages about us, so show that you're strong and decisive. This comes up again in "How You Respond." To counter being treated inappropriately, learn to tell people what you really think. "I would appreciate it if you did X."

9) Speak up! Have a loud(er) voice. This one reminds me of a scene from the book "Contact." Ellie is in graduate school in a male-dominated field (physics, I think), and nobody will ever listen to her in class, so she comes up with this persona--authoritative, strong, loud, CONFIDENT. She says that it makes her laugh to listen to herself speak that way, since it's not her at all, but she gets results. People LISTEN. This comes up again in "How You Respond." Be one of the first few people to speak up at a meeting--you never want to be the last person to speak. "The longer you wait to speak, the more likely it is that someone else will say what you're thinking--and get credit for it." This is one of my biggest issues in speaking up in class. I'll be thinking something but won't say it for fear of sounding stupid, and then someone else goes on to say the exact same thing and get praised for brilliance. And if only I had spoken up...

"How You Look"

A bit dated, but clearly relevant, given what all I've seen on the Metro of women dressed for work.

1) Stop taking up too little space. This is so easy to put into practice. The more space you take up, the more confident you appear. In elevators, now, I try to stop cowering in the corner to make room for others. Obviously, don't hog all the space, but that space is yours. You're entitled to it! Take it!

2) Stop sitting on your foot...? I honestly have no idea what this means. I'm trying to picture this in my head, but I can't imagine what this means. Is this tucking a foot under the other under your chair? Or is this actually sitting on your foot IN your chair? If it's the latter, that's just wildly unprofessional and nobody should ever do that, but if it's the former, I'm a little confused as to how I should actually sit, then.

3) MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT. One I'm 100% guilty of, but I'm working on it. Apparently, it means that I'm uncomfortable (usually true in social situations anyway) and unsure of myself. But I need to get out of that habit.

"How You Respond"

This was by far my worst category. Women are not taught to defend ourselves or get angry when someone is disrespectful to us, teaching us to be tolerant of people who treat us like crap.

1) Stop internalizing messages. I need to read "The Drama of the Gifted Child"--how parenting (sorry, Mom...) placed unrealistically high expectations on them. I wonder if this is why I have such a horrible case of 'Impostor Syndrome.'

2) Stop thinking everyone knows more than you. 'Impostor Syndrome,' yet again.

3) Stop being so patient. If you don't ask, it might not happen: promotions, etc. If told that you're being impatient, ask when a good time would be to revisit the issue. If asked to wait a long time, ask WHY such a long time is needed.

4) Put yourself first. I tell my sister this all the time, but the only person looking out for you is YOU. Easier said than internalized. It is NOT selfish to have your needs met. Have a life outside of work, especially.

I've added to issues above where topics discussed in this section relate. These action items are harder to put into practice than others, since these are about changing your worldview completely.

Overall, I was really impacted by this book. It has given me some great tips on how to act professionally and what all I need to do to help make a successful career. I took off one star for the chapter on "How You Look," since to me, it seemed ridiculous and dated.


Source: Reddit posting on women in business
Profile Image for Vivian.
67 reviews8 followers
November 9, 2015
This book was exciting at first, but then turn to uncomfortable. First, It made me feel that being a Girl itself is a guilt, acting like a girl, thinking like a girl is not recommended in work place. So basically this book tell people "how to act like a man" because high positions are mostly held by man. If you "don't see a man do this, you should not do this" (!!!?!) . Second, it provide too many no right- no wrong recommend for both gender, but still emphasize only female worker often do this and that, but male co worker don't. Reading the examples I feel that all the male's thinking, behavior are perfect? This book is not show girls how to find their deserve equality in work place but tell them to follow a man model role, to copy those successful male's behavior and thinking.
However, there are some good tips in this book that I will keep in mind such as stop being a nice, cute girl (I didn't read the English version of this book) , the rest is just so so and you can find those in any self-help book.
May 10, 2015
I did not like it, I felt like you have to fake it to make it. What about we change the corner office rather than changing women to fit in.
Profile Image for LuAnne Alexander.
36 reviews3 followers
June 1, 2015
I felt that most of this book was a how-to for those who want to be a closed-minded corporate robot. Don't bring food to share at work? Don't have long hair? Well, men don't do it, so you shouldn't do it either. Speak at meetings the way men do: loud, confident and don't forget to be the first to speak and never the last. Respond to emails the way men do. Dress the way men do. Use social media the way men do (which means hardly ever). Try not to smile so much because men don't smile that much. I think that whether you're a man or a woman, you will get mad when you read this book. Oops, I just started a sentence with "I think..." - that's probably too touchy/feely and now you don't respect what I have to say. There are a lot of contradictions in this book too. I don't have an example off the top of my head, but there were many times where I thought, "Didn't she say previously not to do this?"

The beauty/clothing section angered me the most. You MUST wear makeup, but not too much makeup, and cut your hair short to be respected and ultimately promoted at work Don't forget your suit. I do not have visible tattoos and agree that you should try and hide them to be professional... But I did not like her statement that if people accidentally get a peek of your tattoos, they will see you as someone who makes poor judgments... and thus a bad worker. That's really unfair.

It was a bit eye-opening on female behaviors that I've always known, but never really put in the forefront of my subconscious. I still don't agree that much of it as harmful to anyone's career. However, there IS one takeaway from this book that have begun applying to my professional life. Women tend to apologize a lot when it's not necessary. Since reading this book, I've stopped starting sentences with "I feel bad, but..." or "Sorry, but..." - no more apologizing when delegating tasks. Too female. :) Now excuse me while I throw out this bowl of candy I have in my office for visitors. I don't want to be seen as a nurturer and not upper-management material.
Profile Image for Wallace.
144 reviews114 followers
September 21, 2009
Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office 101 by Lois P. Frankel is a book that all women should receive upon graduation from college. It is amazing what we, the female gender, do to undermine ourselves without realizing it. Many of us, who come from homes that were supportive and definitely didn't pigeonhold us into the subservient female role, would never imagine how much we have picked up from the social cues and trends around us. Though, until recently, I would have not realized that I suffered from "nice girl syndrome", nor would I have connected it to ill health in my professional (or personal) life for that matter, I have now received a shocking education. Like jumping into a lake much colder than the tepid waters you were expecting, Nice Girls startles you with realization, while you emerge more refreshed because of it. If Nice Girls was a friend, it would be the one who says, "yes, you really do look fat in that outfit, but here's another that will accentuate what a wonderful body you actually have." See, it is not mean; it is truthful with gems of coaching advice. Frankel does not leave you hanging; she will tell you outright how you are shooting yourself in the foot, but then she will remove the gun from your hand and replace it with bandages and antiseptic.
I have borrowed this one from the public library, but will be adding it my personal library. This is too valuable of a resource to not own and be able to refer back to until these life changing tips become healthy habits. As we change and grow our areas that we reference to in this book will also change, and I would like to have the ability to take and retake the questionnaire, that guides you through the book, as often as I like.

Frankly, I'm not sure I know more than three or four women who don't need to read this book.

(originally posted on www.coconutlibrary.typepad.com)
Profile Image for Emily Dumas.
21 reviews4 followers
August 17, 2020
I very rarely rate books 1 Star, and I very rarely leave reviews. However, I was hoping to get some really good advice from this book to help me advance in my career. I found it to be extremely outdated and anti-feminist, in fact, being a woman was portrayed as the ultimate weakness. Positioned as if we don’t “fix” things right away, we can never be successful. Everything from the way we carry ourselves to the way we speak and even the way we look (makeup, hair, etc.)

Women don’t have to change who they are or appear less feminine to be successful. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Profile Image for Ana Blue.
111 reviews12 followers
June 8, 2021
I must confess that I started this book with a lot of skepticism. I am a feminist and I do not like to be told what I need to change in order to fit to a men's world. I would always prefer to change the world.

Besides that, the fact that the heading of each mini chapter is always titled mistake # (and that goes on from mistake #1 - t0 mistake #300+) got my head fuming. It is direct yes, but also pretty arrogant.

Those two points aside, I would recommend every woman to read this book. Not only girls, not only business woman, not only carrier woman. Every woman.

I have a rule of thumb (or three):
If a book makes me wonder and take breaks while reading it to let my thoughts wander,
if a book helps me get to to know myself better,
and if a book makes a change in my life:
It was a book worth reading.

And this was a book worth reading.

Many pages felt like slaps on my face. Many "mistakes" were things I do. Will I necessarily change all of them to get where I want? No. But now I am aware of them and their impact. Now I have control over my "flaws".

Some of the "mistakes" I will change, because they were never actions I consciously decided to do. They were more instilled messages from society, culture and family, that I carry around with me.

For me most important point I take from this read, valid from now: I will never again apologize for winning!
Profile Image for Catherine Cai.
35 reviews1 follower
February 18, 2016
There's some moderately useful gender-blind advice for how to handle sticky situations at work (conflict resolution, discussing promotions, not unduly taking blame, etc.), but much of the book's advice feels massively outdated despite the recent revision. (The latest version is titled "Nice Girls *Still* Don't Get the Corner Office").

Think: your well-meaning grandmother (but still your grandmother) trying to give you a boatload of career advice based on her life experiences. Sometimes she has a truly valuable nugget for you, but most of the time, it's safe (and maybe better) to ignore.
Profile Image for Talitha.
102 reviews
March 10, 2020
Geloof me vrij: die corner office ga je door dit boek niet verkrijgen. Het bevat 300+ pagina’s vol open deuren en daarnaast nog wat belachelijk corporate onzin zoals ‘pas je volledige uiterlijk aan aan wat je denkt dat je werkomgeving van je verwacht’ - basically. Ik vreesde van tevoren al dat dit een véél te Amerikaans 'corporate office'-verhaaltje zou worden en las dit daarom uitzonderlijk eens in het Nederlands, in de hoop dat de vertalers de moeite hadden gedaan om ook de context te vernederlandsen, but nope. Naar mijn bescheiden mening hebben zeer weinig werkende vrouwen überhaupt iets aan dit boek, maar al zéker niet als ze geen sales managers binnen een groot Amerikaans bedrijf zijn. Freelancers, arbeiders, creatieven, onderwijzers, verpleegsters, you name it: driekwart van dit boek is nutteloos voor jullie. Yet another zelfhulpboek dat met een hoop grote woorden beweert verbazingwekkende informatie te delen die je volledige zijn zal transformeren, maar uiteindelijk een empty shell vol voorspelbaarheid blijkt te zijn. Thank u, next.

(Overigens ook best ironisch dat een boek dat haar lezers honderd keer denigrerend vertelt dat wij vrouwen moeten stoppen met ons als meisjes gedragen toch wel lekker cliché voor een suikerspinroze cover kiest. Beetje binnensmonds kotsen.)
Profile Image for Meg .
102 reviews27 followers
September 13, 2014
I had an epiphany-like moment over and over again when Frankel points out that when people shame a woman for unladylike behavior, it's not because there is such a shameful thing as unladylike behavior, it's because it's the easiest and most effective means of getting whatever it is they want out of you.

Because we've been so conditioned to be pleasing to others, accusing a woman of behaving in an unpleasing manner is like an automatic shut off button that manipulative people use against us. Accusations and implications of this manner have no basis in reality, it's just a means of shutting us up and keeping us out.

I'd downloaded several other career advice audiobooks before this one, as I was looking for career advice because I'm a new grad starting my first corporate job. I found the other new grad career advice books rather trite and unhelpful. I was hesitant about this purchase because I wasn't worried about snagging the "corner office," so much as just getting started, but I am so glad I found this gem as I begin my journey through the corporate world.

I'm so impressed with the book I intend on buying copies for female friends as graduation presents. I also loved that Frankel recommends a plethora of other resources and career coaching books throughout. She is a generous author who never fails to cite and recommend her influences, a rare skill in a world of self-promotional and narcissistic branding.

I know a lot of women will bristle at Frankel's direct advice that hacks away at traditional femininity - in a perfect world, we should be able to be ourselves at work and get ahead - but we don't live in that world, and a more subtle idea in this book is that perhaps many of the soft-fuzzy-nice-girl characteristics women have aren't inherent, so much as conditioned, and in the process of unconditioning ourselves, we find out how human we really are. Frankel doesn't waste time pining for an idealistic world - this book isn't for idealistic women, it's for ambitious women who want to succeed and thrive in the world that exists. Success in the corporate world, like it or not, entails conformity. Frankel points out the mistakes women are making in regards to that expectation of conformity in terms of how we prioritize performing gender over performing our jobs.

And at times it's a bitter pill to swallow. Nearly all the advice comes back to: stop acting like a coy little girl; put on your big girl panties and step up to the plate. It's hard because it forced me to confront how infantalized some of my behaviors are. As girls there are many emotional developmental areas where we're not encouraged to grow. Girls are protected from overcoming many barriers, like failure, and consequently there is a kind of emotional stunting that we turn a blind eye to and justify through the idea of inherent gender characteristics. And our society will let us tread water here in that emotional retardation for the rest of our lives, but if you want to get ahead, you have to get over it. Frankel's book is the first step on that path because she simply made me aware of what was in my blind spot. The book holds up a mirror - if you don't like what you see, it's on you to change it.

Profile Image for Jaime.
54 reviews1 follower
November 26, 2012
I just finished reading this book in an effort to teach myself how to stop doing all of those little things that sabotage the advancement of my career. I'm not currently looking for a new job (even though I should be) but I'd still like to work on improving my skills and stop downplaying my abilities.

Things I already know: I act nice to get people on my side, meanwhile, forgetting about my own needs because I want everyone to like me. I also say "I'm sorry" a lot and don't know how to toot my own horn.

What I need to do instead: make decisions without polling others for opinions and deliver direction without wavering. I need to let my confidence come across so that the people I am speaking with know I mean what I say and they'll stop questioning or undermining me.

As a woman in the workplace, it can be difficult to overcome the pressures and teachings of society, parents and peers to be a "good girl" by going with the flow and not being assertive to get needs met. I believe women need to learn how to be empowered on their own because they certainly aren't getting it from others. Empowerment for women doesn't mean you have to be a over-controlling bitch or a whining nag. We certainly cannot act like men because we aren't men but we can find that balance that I find myself craving.

With this book as a guide, I hope to learn where to go from here. The title contains a clue that 101 mistakes cannot be fixed within one book so the author wisely points them out and then refers the reader to another more specific book to help with a particular or group of particular mistakes.

Not only am I going to use what I learn to help myself but I'm going to use it to teach my four year old daughter the same. It is important to me that she knows she is smart and that her ideas and thoughts matter just as much as the next person's.
Profile Image for Joanna.
45 reviews
February 14, 2009
Another book with a tacky title that I have bypassed every time I've seen it. But browsing in the library one day I decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did. I always knew that I was a typical girl in finding it difficult to negotiate money, but I thought that was it. After reading through this book (which doesn't take long as you can easily skip over irrelevant sections), I have realized that I actually am making a bunch of 'mistakes' at work that are not benefiting my career. This book helped me take conscious stock of what I need to change if I want to improve my performance and I have come up with a list of specific points to focus on for my personal career development.
Profile Image for Kressel Housman.
974 reviews226 followers
August 29, 2016
This is the first book I read from the bibliography of Anne Kreamer's It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace, and I found it much more skills-based and practical. The author's main theme is, "Quit being a girl," by which she means to toot your own horn and stand up for yourself because high quality work alone won't get you noticed and promoted. The corporate world is prejudiced against girls and can't envision them beyond the secretarial pool. Women, in contrast, get ahead with the right efforts.

The first chapter contains a questionnaire of the "very true/sometimes true/sometimes false/very false" variety with questions as diverse as, "Do you apply lipstick in public?" and "Do you phrase your statements as questions?" Each of these questions relates to one of seven categories: 1) how you act 2) think 3) work 4) play 5) look 6) sound 7) market. Each category has its own chapter, so the author recommends that you read the chapters corresponding to the areas in which you scored lowest. My lowest scores were in act, play, and market, but I think my worst drawback is my soft soprano voice. Other than taking voice lessons, which I can't afford anyway, there's not much I can do about it. Interestingly, my best score was in look, which just goes to show that modesty in dress enhances a woman's respectability. But this self-promoting stuff. . . that goes against the tzniusdiggeh grain.

According to the book, though, there's plenty else I can do, and while I was reading it, I definitely applied some of its advice, like insisting that my boss stop sending me out to Starbucks and engaging in more office chit-chat because relationships matter. But it's been a few weeks since then, and I've fallen back into my old passive ways. Still, it was good advice, and I intend to read more from this author and the books she cites. I wish I'd learned these lessons long ago!
Profile Image for Rubi.
295 reviews109 followers
November 6, 2022
Very good, well-written and nice book specially made by women for women.
How to stop being a nice girl so we are able to climb the ladder in the organizations and even get the corner office?

"Promotions are rewards for getting the job done, not necessarily doing the job."
"Never ask permission to spend money"
"Timing is everything in life. Make sure you time your requests. "
"You must take care not to be a victim of your own success. "
"If you haven't learned anything new lately, you're not growing. "
"Don't try to change the system alone."
Profile Image for Rachel Smalter Hall.
355 reviews218 followers
July 24, 2016
I loved this and I hated this. Lois P. Frankel is a total pragmatist, which can be tough for an idealist like me to swallow. Throughout "Nice Girls" she argues that women who want to get ahead in business have to learn to play by the rules created by white men in corporate America. We have to learn to live and play within that structure.

Yet I've always held onto this starry-eyed idea that we should be able to create lives for ourselves that honor who we are and what we value. And this is probably why I stand to learn a LOT from Frankel, even while screaming and kicking my heels.

Things I loved: all the lessons about how to be assertive, negotiate, and be decisive. Her case for why it's a bad idea to volunteer for secretarial duties and bring baked goods to work.

Things I hated: Frankel's vitriolic dislike of tattoos plus her other bizarre / conservative grooming tips. Her insistence that being a whistle blower or holding management to its policies (or legal obligations) won't get you anywhere.

Overall, a recommended read for the assertiveness training alone. Just take everything else with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for MB (What she read).
2,350 reviews14 followers
December 22, 2008
Easy to read and some quite useful tips.

(It would be nice if someday, we, as a society, ever get to a time when men aren't advantaged in business by their sex and women didn't have to make themselves over just to get ahead.)
Profile Image for Hannah.
108 reviews5 followers
October 1, 2020
Sorry, maar nee: Draag niet teveel make-up, maar ook niet te weinig. Ik heb ooit iemand met tattoos aangenomen, dat was een fout. Zet geen snoeppot neer. Haal nooit koffie. Wees geen bitch, maar ook niet te lief doen. Zeg geen sorry. Manipuleer, speel het spel.

Ik werd hier echt boos van, het is zo: vrouwen zitten in een rolpatroon en daarom doen ze alles fout. Dit doen mannen, doe ze na want anders ontslaan ze je.
Profile Image for Liliana Kiss.
108 reviews6 followers
November 25, 2021
This has got to be the most confusing book I've read lately. I mean, most advice is good, common sense advice: don't be vulgar, don't be passive aggressive, don't shy away in a corner, don't think you're a victim or play a victim, don't overdo with makeup, don't dress like you're going to a frat party, network with people, ask for help. All really good stuff. But there are others that I have trouble accepting: be a woman more like a man. And that's not really empowering. Although in the beginning the author does say that you don't need to be a man to succeed in the business world, most examples are "have you ever seen a man do/say ..." And to me that reads as: if you want to be successful, you have to put aside all your femininity, all your qualities that you're proud of and act like a man. As a creative personality, I have trouble accepting that if I want to expand my career in the corporate world, I need to act more like a bland, boring individual who's part of a boys club than use my creative side to showcase my skills and abilities.
Maybe this book and this attitude works in some corporations, but I believe you can be a successful woman without completely erasing your feminine personality to act more like a man. There are chapters where the author specifically said to put aside any femininity, to dress like a man and wear only dark colors because that's what men do.
Overall, most advice is good, but oh, do I get triggered whenever I hear the phrase: act more like a man. Like it's wrong to be a woman, to be confident in your abilities and your qualities that you have to pretend you're somebody else just to get a job higher on the leadership chain.
I think this was written before the female empowerment movement, because the content about women supporting women is on the low end.
Profile Image for Mary Ellen.
18 reviews
August 23, 2014
My overall impression of this book was that it was advice from a few decades ago. Yeah, she updated it with, "Don't post and tweet stuff you'll regret." Brilliant. But she seemed like a grandmotherly voice to me and that made it difficult for me to take seriously.
That being said, I need to be honest. There is the world where I like to think that I work and where I actually work. I like to think that I'm building my career in a modern work environment where gender equality is assumed and diversity is abundant. In reality, I'm marooned in the Midwest where there is zero diversity and feminism is a dirty word. My office is scarily similar to a Mad Men office. When I heard the words "female ghetto" (I audiobooked this title) I immediately recognized it as a accurate description of my position. What I did get out of this book was motivation to move on to the next job. Even thought I can't relate to her on a generational level she is a good kick in the pants to stop being a "girl" and start working like a woman who has her shit together.
Also, I daily sit on my feet and can't stop.
Profile Image for shannon✨.
1,084 reviews43 followers
June 19, 2019
Ik vond het format van dit boek erg fijn lezen, eerst de 'fout' en dan coachingtips. Daarnaast was het fijn dat er bij elke fout eigenlijk wel een voorbeeld genoemd stond en dat er werd uitgelegd waarom het fout was. Ook al ben ik nog aan het studeren, ik vond dat er veel fouten in stonden die mij mogelijk ook zouden overkomen. Hopelijk helpt het lezen van dit boek mij deze fouten te voorkomen. Het enige minpunt dat ik ervoer was dat 'klein meisje' best vaak benadrukt werd in een negatieve zin. Het is niet per se een fout iets, maar het gaf mij een onprettig gevoel.
Profile Image for Kathi.
12 reviews
March 1, 2018
No. Just No. In my opinion the majority of the advice in this book perpetuates the inequality issue and encourages women to conform to acting like a man in order to be successful. This allows people to continue their inappropriate judgement of feminine behavior in the workplace. I liked the advice to be more confident and to not be afraid to speak up. I was physically angered by the chapter regarding long hair. I would NOT recommend this book to anyone.
Profile Image for Mandy.
27 reviews
May 3, 2017
This was awesome. I wish I had read it years ago. It helps with every day life as well. this is not about what is wrong with men or women but rather practical advice for how to act and speak at work so that men will listen and we won't get upstaged. I suggest this for all women.
376 reviews351 followers
January 5, 2013
Reading "Nice Girls" back in 2004 was a bit of a shock to me - an unpleasant one. So many of the negative behaviors Lois Frankel describes were things I did in the office on a regular basis. These behaviors were so ingrained in me: don't be too aggressive, apologize profusely for any misdeed, be grateful for any crumb tossed my way, and I sat with my foot folded under me ALL the time. I do agree with Frankel that it's difficult for women to get ahead by always being a "nice girl." Her book struck a chord with me, and I had to work hard to forcibly change behaviors that were so much a part of me. It's been nearly ten years since I first read this book, and no, I'm not in the corner office. But Frankel's advice has helped me to at least be perceived as more confident and assertive, even when I don't always feel it. This book provides some very helpful advice and insights for women of all ages and at all stages of their careers.
Profile Image for Selena Stan.
99 reviews
February 9, 2016
I could not identify any real added value in this book. There are some common sense ideas, while other points are simply soaked with feminism.

I went through the book in hope of finding some rational advice to improve my business attitude. After around 10 randomly-chosen chapters I gave up...

Maybe the book would get a higher grade from less experienced readers (in their early twenties, for example). For seasoned business women, it's a waste of time.
Profile Image for Laura.
43 reviews
March 28, 2020
There are absolutely useful tips in this book. However, I didn’t like the negative way of writing. It is a list of mistakes that women make: too much or too little make up. Too long hair. Visible tattoos. Sitting the wrong way. And so on. I am sure some things will make you look more strong and confident... But I am also sure it is time society accepts everyone the way they are, without people having to change to meet up to the male standard.
Profile Image for Kristall Glow.
25 reviews
March 26, 2023
8 розділів. Тестове завдання. 133 помилки. Коучингові підказки.
10/10. Варто читати. Відмічати для себе тези, підказки, думки, поради які відгукнулися в процесі читання. І що півроку можливо повертатися до них.

Легко написано та структуровано. Читаєш достатньо швидко. Примітивні, проте корисні поради. Які можна оцінювати і розглядати в першу чергу через робочу сферу, але тим не менш можна використовувати в особистому просторі.

Коли ти ведеш бізнес в Україні варто враховувати, що автор описує все ж більше американські моделі для бізнесу і роботи. Відповідно і прототипи поведінки або поради будуть стосуватися цих моделей. Це не погано і не добре. Це є. Обдумайте їх, оцініть та спробуйте інтерпретувати їх для себе, тоді ви обов’язково отримаєте користь.

Якщо ви тільки починаєте свій шлях, шукаєте впевненості, чи вже давно в бізнесі, ви всеодно знайдете тут інформацію яка доможе вам рухатися далі, або ж покаже напрямок.

Дослухайтеся до порад описаних в книзі, пробуйте, оцінюйте себе, вчіться говорити собі правду та насолоджуйтеся просторими кабінетами.
Profile Image for Aura.
33 reviews63 followers
October 1, 2011
Written by top career coach L.P.Frankel, ‘101 mistakes’ aims to guide women away from the ‘act like a girl’ stereotypes taught to them as young ladies, which according to the author they carry onto womanhood.

The book begins with a self-assessment questionnaire to help you identify what your strengths and weakness are, so you can concentrate more on your weakness. Each section includes a case study and bullet pointed summaries to help you deal with each problem.

I liked that Frankel kept everything short, she didn’t ramble on for too long on each point, everything was clear, concise, and easy for anybody to understand.

Here however, is where I had issues with this book; Frankel blames women’s lack of dominance in the work force on how they were socialised compared to boys. While I do agree that boys are taught to be more fierce and aggressive from a younger age, whereas girls are taught to be suger,spice and everything nice, Frankel then uses this as a means of blaming women for their issues in the workplace.

As if there aren’t one hundred other reasons women’s progression at work, how much they are paid, or how they are treated compared men put a damper on their careers. There are many other social reasons for this and to ignore then I think is just naive.

There is one section were she claims you must spend as much time creating networks and socialising with colleges as you should doing work, a good enough point I suppose, if all is truly kept professional. What do I mean you ask? A shocking report uncovered many high profile business meetings and so called cooperate entertainment functions were being undertaken in lap dancing clubs and sex was often used as a means of getting deals! So I suppose women are just meant to play along with the boys huh. Of course this is one extreme, but it is one of many and I think Ms Frankel is missing a lot of important points.

How about we start appreciating the different skills women can bring compared to men, because it is a known fact that organisations that have a more equal balance of men and women perform better. Much of the book is also more fitted for the corporate world, of which not everybody works in, or wants to for that matter.

Overall however, I do think it is a decent career advice book for women and worth reading, but don’t get trapped in the idea that just because women stop making our 101 mistakes, life at work will be any better, we still have a long battle to fight for equality.
Profile Image for Alanoud.
159 reviews107 followers
December 3, 2008
Starting from the naïve socialization until sex discrimination, most women are way too far from achieving satisfactory successful career life. Lois Frankel addresses in this amazing book, Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office, 101 unconscious mistakes working women do that sabotage their careers. All of these mistakes are results of being socialized with stereotypical norms and roles. Lois's main argument is that women themselves are the ones who carry out the whole responsibility. If they happen to be treated un respectfully or unfairly or even if they were perceived as weak and unprofessional workers, they are the ones to be blamed first.

Through this book, the author provides many tactics and techniques in which women can be more aware of all the subtle massages they receive every day from society and how to deal with them correctly and efficiently. By getting out of the girls ghetto, a woman can manage what she seeks out from her career. Moving from girlhood to womanhood is the aim of this book and NOT jumping to the men ghetto acting like if you are one of the dudes! In fact, that was what I liked the most about this book.

Honestly, I was shocked how very little unconsciously made up behaviors or words can negatively make a huge difference. At a workplace, the author covers EVERYTHING a woman needs to know about how to play the game, how to act, how to think, how to brand her talents and market herself, how she should sound, how she should look and finally how to respond, especially to gender discriminations and sexual harassments.

Profile Image for Catalina Vieru.
73 reviews1 follower
March 26, 2023
No, no, no. I had high hopes for this book, but it is so subtly mysoginistic!

First of all, the foundation of its advices is laid on patriarchal gender roles: women are emotional, men are rational, women are soft, men are hard etc.

Then, it goes on to practically advise women to just not be women (according to these gender roles): show no emotion in the workplace, don't let illness or pregnancy show that you are tired or sick, don't take carer leave (men don't!).

I tried my best to read the whole thing so I could rate it in the fairest way, but gave up half way through.

Neah, I am done hearing advice that women should be more like men to be respected and get into leadership. Both concepts of gender are toxic (i think we are in a time when men should be encouraged to show emotions, vulnerability doesn't make you weak, parents should share house and child rearing responsibilities etc), and leadership based on ruthless, robotic, company-driven styles is outdated.
Profile Image for Heather.
27 reviews3 followers
June 1, 2011
Self-help books aren't really my thing and the tone in this book is often condescending, like she's talking to people who are emotionally adolescents. That said, some of her points are great and no matter how much education in women's studies you or I or anyone has, the socialization we received as girls continues to cripple us in adult life. It's inescapable.

I'm not exactly a shrinking violet but I recognized myself in some of her examples. Recommended for women in industries dominated by men and/or anyone interested in gender studies and pop psychology.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,071 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.