Business Women: Two Paths to Success
By Tom Ryan
Two books have come out with distinct viewpoints on how women should aim to succeed in business. One urges women to make up their own rules and use tactics like flirting to their advantage. The other tells women to imitate ruthless alpha males.
Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman advocates seduction and manipulation as two principal business tactics for women to succeed in business.
“All the men in our lives – the ones we work with or live with, admire or desire, and love or hate – are easier to control if we master the Art of S&M,” writes a former advertising bigwig, Nina DiSesa. She said men fall for such tactics because, “First of all, they love seduction. And second, they are oblivious to manipulation.”
According to a New York Times book review, seduction isn’t about sleeping your way to the top, but “using sophisticated charm and sugar-coated words” to win the favor of male business associates.
“One of the greatest tools, or weapons, we have as women is flirting,” she said, adding, “Men like women who like them.”
In What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business, Christopher Flett – a Canadian-born entrepreneur and self-described “reformed alpha male” – said many business women hide behind personality masks to play roles like Mother and Geisha or try to pass themselves off as “one of the boys” by feigning interest in sports. Viewing “authenticity” as the foundation of the 21st-century business model, Mr. Flett advises women to act more ruthlessly and follow alpha male dictums such as: “Success is yours for the taking,” “Leadership is given to those who take complete responsibility” and “The world drives over weakness.”
The book reviewer, Harry Hurt III, found the persistent stereotypes in both books “rather depressing,” and felt the most illuminating thoughts came from James Patterson, a former advertising exec and now best-selling mystery writer. He urged Ms. DiSesa’s to think of life as a game in which we juggle five balls labeled: Work, Family, Health, Friends and Integrity.
“One day you understand work is a rubber ball. You drop it and it bounces back,” Mr. Patterson said. “The other four balls are made of glass. Drop one of those, and it will be irrevocably marked, scuffed, nicked and maybe even shattered.”
Writes Mr. Hurt, “Both men and women might do well to remember those universal challenges, whether they are trying to seduce their way into so-called boys clubs or use tactics borrowed from the alpha-male playbook to gain advantage in the workplace.”
Discussion Questions: What do you think is the smart way for women to rise in today’s corporate workplace? Is it acceptable for women to use flirting to their advantage? Should they act tough?