Thursday, October 8, 2009

25. The Palm Beach Post

Dear Followers,

For today's posting I'd love to share with you an article about The Self-Empowered Woman (and me) that appeared in today's Palm Beach Post:

BOOK GIVES WOMEN POINTERS FOR SUCCESS-->By Mathilde Piard Books October 08, 2009 -->

Marilyn Murray Willison spent a lifetime obsessing over the lives of successful women and living vicariously through their victories. Tomorrow at her local book-signing event, she will share her passion so that others may enjoy the same excitement and perhaps learn how to grow into such women.

The Self-Empowered Woman: 17 Characteristics of High Achievers, Willison’s fifth book, is the culmination of the author’s lifelong curiosity about what enables certain women to succeed more than others.

Her findings? There is a pattern. In fact, she identifies 17 recurring traits that occur in varying combinations in successful women — and explores those traits chapter by chapter.Willison’s writing is a balancing act: part storytelling, part essay, part self-help. The self-help comes in the form of exercises at the end of each chapter, which help readers identify and develop the qualities described, “because it’s never too late,” she insists.

Each chapter draws on the experiences of four famous women and tells their stories to demonstrate how the given characteristic contributed to empowering them. The women you’ll meet in these stories are the heroines of the book.

But the true heroine is Willison herself, who went from, in her words, “being stuck in an upscale corporate version of housewife,” to a journalist who worked on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Wheelchair dependent for the past 20 years, she no longer travels for interviews, although 17 of the interviews for the book were conducted by the author.

The enormous quantity of secondary-source research she did as a result, means that at times the writing reads like an academic essay, complete with bibliographic references to other works, should you want to read further.

Both the book’s strength and challenge is how firmly it forces readers to question their own lives and choices, as well as their perceived flaws. I constantly wondered as I read whether Willison would consider me cut out to be a high-achieving woman, or whether I would just turn out to be one of those “less driven peers,” drifting through life from day to day.

At times, her advice seems harsh. To develop our own strengths and resources, the author tells us to accept that women must learn to rely on ourselves, that Daddy can’t be counted on to bail us out forever. She warns younger women of “the trappings of femininity that have delayed or detoured so many promising careers — detours like romance.”

However, it’s all tough love, and Willison knows when to be soft.The Self-Empowered Woman ends with an uplifting recap of how far women have come in the past 50 years, and in Willison’s words, “celebrates the diversity of options available to today’s women, if they choose to pursue them.”

Looking forward to your comments...

1 comment:

  1. Your book sounds as though it has a lot to offer all of us about how to build on strength and resilience. You say that it is "never too late," and in fact we are learning through neuroscience and the research being done on positivity by Barbara Frederickson that this is true. Our brain never stops learning, thanks to its "plasticity" and we can continue to learn how to develop our strengths. That is excting for all of us in the potential and possibility of being one's best self.
    Dr. Lynn K. Jones
    The MOJO Maven