Sunday 15 December 2013

Strong Woman, by Karren Brady. Book review

I've been reading this book bit by bit for the last two weeks, usually last thing at night before I put my head on the pillow and drift off to somewhere else. When picking a book up again, I always have to re read the last couple of paragraphs to refresh my memory, as inevitably my eyes start closing while I am still reading. This is not a reflection of the content of the book, I just can't stay awake.
I think most people have heard of Karren Brady, at 23 she was the youngest Managing Director of a PLC, she turned Birmingham City Football Club around from being on the verge of bankruptcy, to selling the company for £82 million.  
Karren was born ambitious, driven, and determined. The desire for independence is her driving force, she wanted to live her life where no one could ever tell her what to do. From a young age she was always opinionated about everything, and never afraid of saying out loud exactly what she was thinking. At the age of 13 she was sent to boarding school, which she didn't particularly enjoy unless she was throwing herself into a project, but she does say it gave her the capacity to make the best of a difficult situation.
The book charts her working life, and her family life, and how the two fit together. She faced a life or death choice when it was discovered that she had a brain aneurysm. In 2010 she was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham United FC. She writes newspaper columns, sits on the board of directors of several companies, was voted Business Woman of the Year, and is currently appearing on The Apprentice as Lord Sugar's right hand woman.  
The last chapter of the book is taken up with her ten rules for success. Briefly these are...
1.  Work hard.
2.  Have confidence.
3.  Embrace ambition.
4.  Have the courage to take a risk.
5.  Take a reality check.
6.  Learn to juggle.
7.  Plan to win.
8.  Know how to negotiate.
9.  Grasp the bottom line.
10. Communicate. 
Karren wrote the book about her own experiences to inspire other women to think about developing their own paths to success. Going through the rules above, some of them did apply to my own career path. I did work hard. I did have confidence, eventually. I did embrace ambition. I did have the courage to take a risk, though I could have taken more. I did plan to win, and I did to a certain extent. The reality check came at the end when I wasn't enjoying it any more, so I called it a day.
Anyone just starting out in their working life would do well to read this book, and anyone else who wants to get down to the nitty gritty of working in a business environment would find it interesting.
I'll be back later with the winner of the bag. Two hours to go to the 6pm deadline.
Toodle pip. 


  1. You're happy Ilona. That says more than having pots of money.
    Best wishes.

  2. I reckon a woman is just the person to sort a football club out. Men would be too wrapped up in the football to bother about the business side of things. Business is just like running a household and as long as more money comes in than goes out things should be ok.
    So i suppose that if she sent the 'boys' off to play she could get down to sorting the finances out.
    She's did well to get on in a male dominated world much like yourself Ilona, i think men are drawn to the big boys toys (especially the V8 Scania topline boys on min wage).


I will not be intimidated by the stupid comments coming my way. You have the problem. I am happy in my own skin.

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