Articles by Claire Guthrie Gastañaga

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Connecting Women to PowerSM:  10 Books that Can Help You Connect to And Use Power
RICHMONDWOMAN, Volume 2, Issue 15, May 2005, pp.16 and 17.

Don’t let anyone tell you that the business world has to be experienced as a fierce competition in a zero sum game.  Tim Sanders, Yahoo’s Chief Solutions Officer and a self-professed “lovecat,” proves that “nice smart people succeed (NSPS).”  If you read his book, Love is the Killer App:  How to Win Business and Influence Friends, you’ll be convinced that it you commit Sanders’ brand of “love” in the workplace, you’ll be rewarded with financial success, and, more important, personal fulfillment.

Sanders defines "bizlove" as "the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners."  And, what are your "intangibles?"  They're your "knowledge," "network" and "compassion."

Taking Sanders’ advice to share my intangibles to heart, here is a list of ten books in my “knowledge” base that I think will help any woman connect to her own personal, financial and political power and become, in Sanders’ words, a nice smart person who succeeds.

Connecting to Personal Power


By Stephen Carter

Authenticity and integrity are essential to personal and professional success.  Carter says that integrity requires three things: a careful and exacting examination of your values; a commitment to act on your values; and the willingness to tell others you are acting on your values.  Carter says that the last is the most difficult.  Carter’s definition of the opposite of integrity, “unintegrity,” is “getting away with what you know to be wrong.”  Whether you are thinking about walking away from a cash register with more than the right amount of change, or facing a more difficult challenge, this simple definition provides a clear guidepost for personal action.  Carter also talks about what it takes for an organization to have integrity.   Lack of consistency can be an indicator of lack of institutional integrity.

Leading Out Loud: Inspiring Change Through Authentic Communication

 by Terry Pearce

The second edition of Pearce’s book provides both insight and practical advice for persons who want to lead and inspire change.  Organized in two parts, the book begins with an examination of leadership and a path for developing a “message platform for change,” and it concludes with advice on how to communicate the message effectively.  As Pearce says, “in the process of change, communication is what fuels progress toward the new state.”  Whether you are leading a family, a business or seeking political office, this book will help you connect to the power of your voice as a tool in the process of change.

Beyond the Double Bind:  Women and Leadership

by Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Jamieson examines five double binds or Catch-22’s that can block women from success and reveals through personal stories and scholarly research how these double binds can be overcome.  Any woman who wants to be a leader needs to begin by understanding what these binds are and how to confront them.  As Jamieson says, “the double bind is a strategy perennially used by those with power against those without.”   Whether you call a bind a “double standard,” “a no-win situation,” or a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” understanding the “binds that tie,” can help any woman better position herself for success.

The Power of Followership

by Robert Kelley

As Kelley points out, most of what gets done in any organization gets done by the followers not the leaders.  If you want to know how to become an “exemplary follower,” or how to encourage those in your families and businesses to become “exemplary followers,” this book provides an assessment tool that will allow you to understand your “followership style” as well as the styles of co-workers and family members.  Among Kelley’s insights is that a person must have a “courageous conscience” to be an exemplary follower.  By that he means, the integrity to know right from wrong and the courage to speak up at appropriate times even at personal cost.  Kelley makes clear that a strong personal support system and a strong financial foundation are both essential to permit an “exemplary follower” to have a “courageous conscience.”

Connecting to Financial Power

Smart Women Finish Rich

By Richard Bach

Bach’s book is a powerful, practical tool that will allow you to understand your financial situation and develop a path to financial success.  One of the most compelling illustrations in the book is a chart that shows how a relatively small investment made while in your twenties can (because of compound interest) pay off better than a more significant investment made in later life.  The chart alone is a strong argument for sharing this book with every teenage girl you know.

Women Don't Ask

By Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

Babcock’s research shows that women’s “low sense of personal entitlement – uncertainty about what their work is worth or how much they deserve to get for what they do – often deters them from asking for more than they already have.” And, she points out that the costs of the failure to ask can be high when the issue is salaries: “negotiating your starting salary for your first job can produce a gain of more than a half million dollars by the end of your career.”  If you read her book, you’ll find out why women don’t ask for what they deserve, why women should ask for what they deserve, and how they should ask for what they deserve both at home and at work.  You’ll also get good advice on what organizations (e.g., your employer) can do to create an environment that affirms a woman’s right to ask for what she deserves.

Teaming Up:  The Small Business Guide to Collaborating with Others to Boost Your Earnings and Expand Your Horizons

By Paul and Sarah Edwards and Rick Benzel

If you have a small business and want to grow your income, you’ll find this book a helpful guide to how you can team up with other business owners to market your business or to provide services or goods.  There is a wealth of very practical advice on ten different “win-win” ways to team up from simple networking through joint ventures and virtual organizations.  The book covers all the aspects of teaming from the legal and financial aspects of different arrangements to the psychology of relationships to the realities of business break ups.  While not a substitute for individual legal or accounting advice, the book can help you think through the options and clarify your questions for the experts so that you can reduce costs and make your interactions with the experts more efficient and effective.

Connecting to Political Power

Women for a Change: A Grassroots Guide to Activism and Politics

By Thalia Zepatos and Elizabeth Kaufman

This is a real “how to” book that provides very concrete advice about how to make change through political and civic action.  If you have ever thought about running for office, this book will help you understand what it takes to prepare yourself to be a candidate or to run a campaign.  It also includes recommendations for “activism” on a much smaller scale.  One of their suggestions is to form a kind of charitable investment club with friends where you pool your resources to analyze and then contribute to deserving charities in your community.

She Wins You Win: The Most Important Strategies for Making Women Powerful

By Gail Evans

The thesis of Gail Evans’ book is that there is really only one rule (for women in business): “Every woman must always play on the women’s team.”  “Why,” she asks?  “Because every time any woman succeeds in business, your chances of succeeding in business increase.  And every time a woman fails in business, your chances of failure increase.”  According to Evans, women need to understand and accept that women in business will only make it in business if they make it together.   The same is true for women in politics and government.  If you want political power and influence, it is essential that you find a way to play on the women’s team.

Making Diversity Work: 7 Steps for Defeating Bias in the Workplace

By Sondra Thiederman, Ph. D.

To connect to real political power, one must to be able to connect to people across gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic lines.  Thiederman’s work about bias in the workplace contains information and exercises that will help you understand what bias is, identify your own biases, and encourage you to become an agent for defeating bias in your own life, your workplace and your community.(end)

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