The Confidence Effect : Book Review

Today’s post is a Book review of The Confidence Effect:  Every Woman’s Guide to the Attitude That Attracts Success by author Grace Killelea.

This book was recommended to me as an excellent guide for women to gain and maintain confidence. This book for most parts is personal development guide for career women, especially those working their way up the corporate ladder. But, it  does carry quite a few tips to bolster confidence and techniques to tackle issues that are relevant for women regardless of work status or age.

This book is another item on my list of Books by Women Authors on Leadership and Management that I have shelved on Goodreads. So, I am happy to have checked one more great read.

Now, let’s move on to the Review:

A quick look at the book’s summary will summarize the direction of the narrative. “… Men are prone to overestimate their abilities, while women too often sell themselves short. The Confidence Effect helps women speak out, take risks, and assume leadership positions with assurance. …” So true and the single reason why women should be picking up this book. Imposter syndrome, insecurities, conditioning to be nice and hard working and fair, disparities in paychecks, status and how the world perceives us; women battle so many handicaps at the same time. This book will not present ways to end it all, but it will equip readers to offset these disadvantages and be able to focus on hurdles we wish to exert our efforts on: like that promotion or elevated social status.

This book presents a novel approach to building, growing and maintaining confidence- by working on four vital areas : Relationships, Reputation, Results, Resilience. The whole premise is that  we need to balance competence with confidence.

I really enjoyed the different chapters devoted to so many topics of relevance. The anecdotes make them easy to absorb. While I will admit that some of the advice seemed common sense (I had been warned), it felt justified for a coherent and complete narrative. Besides, every chapter had at least one nugget of information or point that really resonated with me or opened my eyes. Hence, I definitely recommend keeping an open mind while reading this book. You will find a lot of useful stuff.

The chapter on expanding our network begins of by explaining exactly why we need to do it. Women have different networks for work and leisure. Men do not. In conjunction with the fact that the boys club is alive and kicking and not particularly women-friendly, expanding our networks should definitely be uppermost on our minds. I am a SAHM but even my top three picks for leisure and professional conversations differs.

Appearance and grooming got a whole chapter too. I was riveted by noting that she terms it  “dressing for growth” as opposed to simply dressing or grooming. I also was particularly moved by how the author shares her own stories about being in less than fit state . How she constantly has to tackle the sloppy perception that her body impressions sheds on her professional expertise.  To quote an angry friend’s rant: “When a Paunch and Baldness start seeming Attractive – on a Woman- Feminism will be achieved. ” While I aim for a more mental equality, the context of that behavioral and physical discrimination is not lost on me.

Shifting focus back to this book, the writer does note that grooming as per the environment does impinge on our personal preferences. But she explains that it is necessary for staying focused on more important matters. The writer advises to experiment a bit and find attires that we feel comfortable but conform with our work atmosphere and enhances our image of ‘being competent’. Sensible yet practical.

I loved the chapter about resilience. The example given by writer Grace about the skydiving event on her birthday was really inspiring. Poignant, funny and encouraging it demonstrates how we need to infuse resilience, adaptability and good humor in all our life experiences. The story also emphasizes the need for women to understand the adage: ‘better is done than perfect‘. In the writer’s own words, we can achieve what we hope to, maybe not very gracefully, but we can get it done and learn a lot on the way

Managing reputations was quite helpful, given that we have to manage our personal brands both in real life and virtually. I would have loved to see more examples for the online side. Mentoring and mentor groups was another topic detailed out by the author. These were useful too.

This book was one of my first audio books. I was a bit skeptical about being able to stand the pace (as an Indian I frequently speed instructional videos to 1.25x while watching). I worried too if I would be able to follow along since I had planned to listen while multi-tasking [boring ironing- am looking at you!]. But the book narration was splendid and completely able to hold my attention. Clearly, the writer’s communication skills are excellent and inspiration for yours truly too, to up her game.

Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely and am happy to have checked off such an fabulous book on leadership for women, by a woman. *

As ever, leave me your thoughts if you’ve read the book and suggest other titles and great reads. Stay warm, stay blessed.

*Totally pondering on the terms ‘books for women’ and the non-existence of terms like ‘Working Father’ as I work on my Goodreads List.

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