Book Review Of Karren Brady Strong Women

14th Sep 2012

I was drawn to read Karren’s book from what I had seen of her on the Apprentice and I knew that she was the youngest ever MD of a PLC. She comes over as a very no-nonsense businesswoman who manages to maintain her femininity in the very male dominated environments in which she has worked. I was hoping the book would tell us more about her journey to success.

The book is very easy to read, with its conversational style, its straight forward, and to the point, much like its author. Karren’s message is clear, its take lots of hard work, guts, and self-belief to achieve her level success at such an early age. She had no life outside work as a young woman, she loves to work, now she has a family these are her two focuses now. Her husband Paul Peschildo is a Footballer and they met whilst she was MD at Birmingham FC. She famously only took off 3 days when she had her first child, she had Sofia on the Friday and was back at work on the Monday. She admits now that this was incredibly hard, but when her son was born she only had 3 weeks off. She paints a picture of a very driven, focused, energetic and determined woman.  She did a fantastic job of turning round a business that was in administration with clever marketing. You will have to read the book to read all about it.

It seems to me she made some big sacrifices as a young woman to get to where she is today, I am not sure I would advocate her work ethic to the extreme that she took it. I do believe that we make our luck and hard work is needed, but I am also a believer in being a rounded human being with interests outside work as well.  She is keen to encourage more women to follow her up the corporate ladder, she is proud of the fact that that when she left Birmingham City FC three-quarters of the senior management team where women. And so far she has appointed 3 senior people to the executive board at West Ham and they are all women, as she says if she won’t do it, then who will?

To finish the book she outlines her rules for success, I have summarized her words below.

Karren Brady’s 10 rules for success

Rule One: Work Hard

Success is the relentless pursuit of what you want, and a vital ingredient of that is hard work.

Rule Two: Have confidence

Confidence expresses itself as energy, as being able to articulate your thoughts, having an opinion, being able to be a bit charming, and being a good listener.

Rule Three: Embrace Ambition

Ambition can be seen as a dirty word, but Karren does not think so, she thinks you must embrace it, don’t be afraid of it.  

Rule Four: Have the courage to take a risk

You will need courage if you are going to get anything off the ground. You have to take some risks and you have to make some tough decisions.

Rule Five: Take a reality check

You don’t have to be super-talented academically to be successful and you do not have to be good at everything. You need to work out what you are good at, get better at it, and then focus your career on it.

Rule Six: Learn to juggle

If you have a family and a career you will need to learn about efficiency and fast. Organisation is very important, we have a lot of time hungry distractions at work and we need to learn how to deal with them.

Rule Seven: Plan to win

Fail to plan and you plan to fail.

Rule Eight: Know how to negotiate

Having a reputation for being able to do good and fair deals is very valuable. Know what your bottom line is and where to walk away.

Rule Nine: Grasp the bottom line

Make sure you understand how you are generating your income and what that is costing you to generate, always be looking to save money.

Rule Ten: Communicate

Good leadership is all about communication.

She believes there are three cornerstones to achieving success, these are Planning Process & Strategy.

The final quote that she leaves you with is by Calvin Coolidge the former US president.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence." Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Her parting words to us all are "Press on".

At Beacon Women we help support you to have the confidence to climb the corporate ladder and be successful without sacrificing it all. 

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Book Review Of Karren Brady Strong Women