Best Books (aka What's on my Nightstand): The Myth of the Nice Girl

The most fascinating part of reading The Myth of the Nice Girl by Fran Hauser was my experience on the train while doing so. More than a few women glanced at the cover and then said to me or someone they were commuting with, "Oh, I definitely don't have that problem." To them, being nice was clearly a bad thing, as was reading a book that made you feel better about being one. Of course, I wanted to snap at them, "You're totally proving the author's point!" since the book addresses how "nice girls" are mistakenly seen as weak. But I mostly smiled and kept my head buried.

As I was learning from Fran, disrupting gender stereotypes is best done with less emotional outburst and more thoughtfulness and precision. The Myth of the Nice Girl is measured straight talk from a big sister powerhouse who wants you to succeed. You won't find anything too dramatic, salacious, or provocative in its pages. The strength of the book lies in the real-life scenarios that offer effective strategies for responding in real time to challenging situations at work. Tired of getting interrupted? "Kindly but firmly say, 'Excuse me, I wasn't finished.'" Need to disagree? Use the phrase, "I completely respect where you are coming from on this, and..." or "It sounds to me like we both want..." 

After reading the final chapter I was convinced that The Myth of the Nice Girl is the most pragmatic playbook for professional women on how to manage tough conversations at work with fierce grace. Don't forget it in your beach bag, ladies. The Myth of the Nice Girl has earned its rightful place in the stack of books on your desk, always handy for easy reference after any stressful meeting or encounter.