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I am a big fan of podcasts. S-Town. Bitch Sesh. How Did This Get Made.
My most recent podcast obsession is the hilarious My Dad Wrote a Porno.
My Dad Wrote a Porno is exactly as it seems. Englishman Jamie Morton’s dad—using the pen name Rocky Flinstone—wrote an erotic novel called Belinda Blinked, and each week, Jamie reads a chapter aloud while his friends James and Alice snark, snort and guffaw. As terrible as the dirty book is, the podcast is a delight, even as Jamie cringes and wonders “How in the hell was I ever conceived because my Dad’s understanding of sex and female anatomy is shaky at best!”
After reading Ivanka Trump’s Women Who Work, I’m certain that Ivanka’s daughter, Arrabella, is going to have a podcast called My Mom Wrote a Business Book and give it the same type of treatment.
Because Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success is not good.
If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, then Women Who Work is a book about nothing. But a grifter’s gotta grift, and what better way than by hiring a ghost writer to help slop “You go, girl!” pablum onto the page.
Women Who Work is a business book that aims to teach women how to succeed, but it’s hard to teach when you say nothing. Yes, this book has words. It has sentences, and it has a lot of adverbs. But if you are looking for actual advice or specific examples of how to get ahead, you are better off asking the crazy guy in the van down by the river. I’m certain former The Apprentice contestant Gary Busey would be more helpful than Ivanka. I’d bet my tits on it.
As the New York Times puts it, the books “reads more like the scrambled Tumblr feed of a demented 12-year-old.”
Have you ever taken a writing course? One of the first rules they teach you is “Show, not tell.” Ivanka does a lot of telling in her book, with very little showing.
But I do not want to be like Ivanka and just tell you this book is dreadful; I’m going to show you how dreadful it is.
So come along with me as I take you through the Preface, Introduction, and Chapter One of Women Who Work.
But before we begin, take a look at the Table of Contents. Two pages to say you have six chapters? Remember in college when you had to turn in fifteen pages on the role of Prussia in the Napoleonic Wars and you played with the margins for about two hours to get there? This is Ivanka’s version of playing with the margins.
Yes, I have club thumbs. I know. You don’t have to tell me.
The preface isn’t really a preface at all. It’s a humble-brag letter from Ivanka to the reader. She even signs it IVANKA. At first this annoyed me, but then I figured this is probably the only thing in the book she actually wrote, so I’ll allow it.
I have been grateful for the overwhelming amount of outreach I have received from people who have shared their stories and offered to extend their idea…in the areas I’m deeply passionate about, including education and economic empowerment for women and girls.
Good time to remember that her Dad discontinued Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” program on May 1.
When my father takes office as our nation’s forty-fifth president…
Wait, is this a horror novel? I don’t read Stephen King for a reason.
[B]ut the potential to improve the lives of countless women and girls has caused me to fundamentally consider where my work will do the greatest good.
As a woman who used to be a girl, let me just say, “No thanks. We all set. Send in Nancy Pelosi.”
I recognize the privilege and responsibility I have to use my voice to make positive impact where I can.
You recognize privilege?
Today, I’m executive vice president at the Trump Organization.
Don’t admit it, dipshit! You told us you quit!
…and founder of my own eponymous fashion brand.
Everywhere but Nordstrom.
I consider the position I’m in to be a great responsibility and one I intend to use wisely.
Let us know when you are going to start using your position wisely. Any minute now…
Warm scarf wrapped tightly around my neck, I carried everything I needed on my back. Around mile three of the eight-hour hike through Patagonia…
This is the sentence you use to open your book? A hike through Patagonia? When I think of an heiress exercising in South America, I think, “Relatable!” Ivanka is Cheryl Strayed but with diamonds and zero self-awareness.
As the top executive in charge of the [Plaza Hotel] redevelopment, [my mother] would meticulously inspect each inch of the prior day’s work—impeccably dressed in full makeup and four inch heels….It was my mother that, unapologetically feminine in a male dominated industry, who first embodied and defined for me what it meant to be multidimensional woman—a woman who works at all aspects of her life.
Someone needs to tell Ivanka that makeup and uncomfortable footwear are not a dimension. Nothing says “I got this” like tottering around a construction site in Louboutins.
And do we need to remind ourselves what her mother Ivana Trump looked like in the 80s? I take this picture to Sephora and say, “I want makeup the opposite of this.”
I was really proud of the fact that my collections captured a femininity and a sense of fashion that working women hadn’t been able to express even just a decade before.
Casual Corner is like…
I believe that we each get one life and it’s up to us to live it to the fullest.
Okay, Ivanka is right here. It’s true. We all get one life. But nitpick, it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not. It is still true. Kinda like abortion is my legal right whether you believe in it or not.
I’m in a unique place where my life is both chaotic and amazing.
Another name for this unique place: Planet Earth. This describes everyone’s life. Everyone gets harried and everyone has seen the double rainbow meme.
Married mothers aren’t the only ones in need of a rewrite to the rules for success.
In the paragraph that precedes this tidbit, Ivanka is
stealing from quoting Sheryl Sandberg who is talking about mothers versus women without children. Newsflash, Ivanka. You don’t have to be married to have kids. I know you hate science, but do some research. Warning! It involves the no-no place.
Stephen Covey, the best-selling business author, often emphasizes the enormous value of being proactive.
Ivanka quotes or discusses Covey an estimated 45 times in the first chapter. Stephen Covey is the go-to sales guru for people in fertilizer sales. Here’s an idea: instead of reading Stephen Covery quotes in Ivanka’s book, read Stephens’ book instead. $8.49 on Amazon.
Occasionally when I’m particularity stressed and can no longer see the forest for the trees, I recall a scene from the movie Bridge of Spies.
I’m sorry, what? Bridge of Spies? Because when I’m stressed I recall a scene from the Brendan Fraser classic, George of the Jungle.
Close your eyes and conjure a scenario that creates a positive looking-back from you.
Like the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
While I would strongly advocate creating a mission statement wherever you are in your career so that you can consciously carve out a path going forward that honors your passions and priorities…
MY MISSION STATEMENT:
Can I just take a minute to discuss the fonts this book? The biggest scourge on American architecture is the McMansion. A visually pleasing house has one roof type, two MAX. This book is a McMansion. How many fonts can they use? Is this a book or a fitspo Pinterest board?
The core of your missions statement—your foundational values—probably won’t, but your relationships (other than your family) and your interests might.
OTHER THAN YOUR FAMILY? Lady, your Dad has been married three times.
Start the journey of creating a personal mission statement…
You know who uses the word “journey”? People on The Bachelor. I don’t tend to go to Bachelor contestants for career advice, unless the career is “Brahman bull fluffer” or “asshole bleach specialist.”
EXPLORE YOUR INTERESTS: Ask yourself what you like to think about.
The impeachment of Donald Trump.
Early one morning, the phone rang….It was Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue. We met when I was modeling as a teenager….She knew I liked fashion. She wanted to offer me a job at Vogue.
Who knew that simply liking fashion was enough to get a call from Anna Wintour. I knew my parents should have had call waiting! Anna must have called my house and gotten a busy signal. But real talk. Who knew Anna was so thirsty?
My father, my brother Eric, and I created a plan…
Hold up. Eric did something? This book just hit FOUR genres! Business, self-help, horror, and fantasy.
I consume a tremendous amount of information: books, newspapers, trade publications, magazines…
You know who else said she read a lot of stuff but failed to name a single title?
So I was proactive and met with people in the industry who had created or worked at companies I respected—Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein.
So I could steal their designs.
If, like me, you’re looking to get into a different industry, you’re probably not going to just throw caution to the wind and spontaneously quit your job.
Well, they sure as shit aren’t going to NOW. Because they might not be able to get health insurance on the open market starting next week!
Finishing out the chapter…
As a woman who works, you chose proactively how to spend your time. You know what’s most important to you, how to plot a plan for success, beginning with the end in mind and establishing your true north.
I DON’T know how to plot a plan for success! So far, Ivanka refuses to tell me.
The nest step for you in achieving excellence—and architecting a life you’ll love—is to make your mark at your company and your industry, the topic of Chapter Two.
Let me guess. The answer is have a Dad who owns the company.
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