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Book Reviews

Briefcase Essentials

Discover Your 12 Natural Talents for Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Workplace

Reviewed by

Susan Spencer has accomplished some amazing things in life and invites us to join her in doing likewise with her debut book on women in business. An attorney, historian, mother, successful entrepreneur and business school lecturer, Spencer’s career has traversed venues from schoolrooms to locker rooms, boardrooms, factories and distribution centers. As Vice President and General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL Franchise, to operating a tennis clothing manufacturing company and managing mergers of meat processing plants in Atlantic City, Detroit, and Poland, she has embraced challenge and overcome obstacles. Along the way, Spencer developed skills and strategies to minimize conflict and maximize success. She shares her outline for success in a succinct volume aimed at women (but also of interest to men) whom Spencer believes have unique tools for succeeding in business.

In many ways, this book is about communication and how readers can use the feminine traits of intuition and compassion in promoting positive business outcomes by engaging in effective communication and problem solving with their colleagues in and out of the workplace. The book is organized around twelve abilities ranging from “Being Able to Ask for Help” to “Being a Builder of Professional Relationships” along with a further helpful guidelines. Among other gems, Spencer observes that “projecting an upbeat, confident, and outgoing personality over the telephone is an effective means of communicating that women need to put into practice.” In an age when we rely on Facebook posts, texts, and tweets to electronically broadcast our thoughts and emotions, Spencer reminds us to “Always remember that the best way to communicate is in person, and the next best way is on the telephone.”

Spencer is a master storyteller who has woven together a series of accomplishments and events that are engaging as well as informative. Readers will laugh at how she responds with grace and effectiveness to challenging situations with male colleagues including naked football players, macho meat processors, Polish vodka connoisseurs, and corporate executives. In this post-feminist era, some may wince at her mention of high heels and observations that “a businesswoman’s approach is 180 degrees apart from the way that most men run a business,” but Spencer is a keen observer of and participant in recent history. Her book is full of sufficient wisdom to merit serious consideration and is laudable for its commitment to honoring empathy and compassion while achieving win-win situations in business.

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword and Foreword Clarion Review only recommend books that we love and make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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