Book Review: Beyond The Boys’ Club

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This summer, I read a lot of books. Do I feel more connected to my scattered team members? Hardly. As a project manager, have I become less efficient? But I’m trying. Did I rethink my entire approach to work. Yes. Step forward Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris.
Beyond the Boys Club offers career strategies for women who work in male-dominated fields such as science and engineering.
I didn’t expect much, as neither my team nor my area are heavily male-dominated. I was only a few chapters into the book when I began to take notes and to make suggestions.
Yes, the cover is a bit thin. Yes, the title is a bit long. (Take a deep breath: Beyond The Boys’ Club: Strategies for achieving career success in a male-dominated field: strategies for women working in a male-dominated field. It’s the first business book that has changed my outlook in a long time.
Doyle-Morris interviewed several senior women in male-dominated fields, including archaeology and the Diplomatic Service, and recorded their career paths and advice.
This, along with her own experience as a coach and executive coach, makes the book full of fascinating stories about what other women have done, sometimes well and sometimes badly. Each section ends with top tips that you can immediately put into practice or write on the inside cover of your notebook to look at whenever you need a boost.
The book covers a lot. It felt like I was reading seminar material for an executive career program – and that’s exactly what it is. No matter what field you work in, you must be aware of how others perceive you and what it takes to get ahead.
All sectors have women, and all men (if they can ignore the female focus) will benefit from the topics covered. There is bound to be something for everyone.
Doyle-Morris discusses how to build your profile, connect with the right people, take calculated career risks, give presentations, and come across professionally in meetings.
She also devotes a chapter on image. While styles change, I doubt that her advice will remain relevant. The book is heavy in what I believe are key topics that she discusses with clients or during her public speaking: the importance of networking, mentoring, and coaching.
Doyle-Morris’s writing style was particularly enjoyable to me. She offers great career advice, hints, and tips. However, she makes it clear to the reader that these are just suggestions. The book is not a guidebook.
Doyle-Morris instead aims to make sure women make conscious decisions about how and what they say, do, and look. Bottom line: You can do whatever you like – you can wear ripped jeans to work, but you should consider the impact on your career.
The problem is that there is so many things in this book that it is difficult to know where to begin. I plan to go back and read it again (I won’t be lending it out, that’s for sure) and make lots of notes to help me prepare my career action plan.
Ten gold stars!

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