Finerman’s Rules: A book review by Bob Morris

Finerman's RulesFinerman’s Rules: Secrets I’d Only Tell My Daughters About Business and Life
Karen Finerman
Business Plus (2013)

Are you a honey badger?

This book’s subtitle suggests that Karen Finerman shares in it “secrets” she would only tell her daughters “about business and life.” In fact, obviously, she is telling them to anyone who reads the book. They are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but I feel comfortable suggesting that all of them are experience-driven and, if followed with appropriate care, can be of incalculable value to almost anyone (male as well as female) who is now preparing for a business career or has only recently embarked on one.

After explaining what she thinks successful “girls” are really made of, in Chapter 1, she explains in the next nine chapters how to achieve personal growth and professional development with a series of initiatives: get out of your own way, build and rebuild momentum, take asymmetric risks, find your inner decider, fail well, follow the path of most resistance, be where you are, let yourself off the hook, and take control of your finances. Finerman devotes a separate chapter to each initiative.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of her coverage.

o My First Job (Pages 21-28)
o Ways to Show Confidence and Conviction (47-48)
o Doubt the Doubts (55-60)
o How to choose a mentor: Tbe best man may be a man (63-65)
o What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (73-77)
o Six Steps toward Better Decision Making (95-115)
o The Golden Goose and the Iceberg (126-133)
o The Here and Now of Family Making (166-174)
o Making and Messing Up Plans (207-211)
o Learn from Others and Embrace the Wisdom of Our Mothers When We Can (212-213)

Readers will be especially interested in the “Finer Points” sections that Finerman also provides:

Chapter 2, “Ten Highly Selective Guidelines for Public Speaking” (18-19)
Chapter 2, “Eight Rules to Find Your Style and Look Your Best” (32-35)
Chapter 4, “”The Travel Cheat Sheet for Mentees and Everyone Aspiring to Succeed” (65-66)
Chapter 8, “The Truth about Maternity Leave” (181-182)
Chapter 9, “A List of Lists – From Lawrence [Golub]” (204-205)
Chapter 9, “Ten Highly Personal Rules for Raising Kids as a Working Mother” (211-212)

Many readers will especially Karen Finerman‘s “Top 10” list of money traps, each accompanied by suggestions about how to avoid or escape from it. She concludes her book with a call to action: “So get out of your own way, push through your doubts and fears, know you will live through failure, learn all you can from it, and thrive. Be cold (bolder than you believed you could be, or fake it till its real), be confident, and be easier on yourself. And tell me what happens. I can wait to hear. Onward.”

How valuable will this book be this book? That depends entirely on (a) whether or not those who read it “get it” in terms of understanding the wealth of information, insights, and counsel provided and (b) whether or not those who “get it” then apply what they have learned with the courage, determination, and endurance of a honey badger. Honey badger? Check it out. Those who aspire to achieve peak oerformance now have a new role model.

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