Saturday, March 1, 2014

Women Who Don't Wait / dot Complicated

Review by Bill Doughty

It's complicated (but doesn't have to be) according to authors Randi Zuckerberg and Reshma Saujani in their books from 2013.  Be authentic to "untangle our wired lives" and "break the mold, lead the way."

Zuckerberg's "dot Complicated" is filled with ideas for achieving tech-life balance in the brave new world of super-smart phones, instant communication, hyper connectivity and changing definitions of privacy.

Like a lot of business books, "dot Complicated" has personal anecdotes and easy-to-find highlighted lists. You'll see tips for achieving tech-life balance with self, friends, love, family, career, community and future.

"Strive to find personal peace, friendship, love, fulfillment at work, and good in your community, and use the Internet to improve your life, not control it," she advises. And, "don't be a jerk."

Think of that when you're having a face-to-face conversation with someone and they turn to check their tweets; or you look in the rearview mirror while stopped in traffic and notice the driver behind you is obviously texting; or you read hate-filled troll droppings in anonymous online comments. Again, "don't be a jerk."

Among Zuckerberg's simple and common sense advice: know how to break digital addiction, learn how to achieve balance, and think about how/what/when/where/why to post or repost information. She applies the Golden Rule of life to social media: "Repost unto others as you would have them repost..."

This book is easy and fun to read. As the sister of Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, the author has the bonafides to describe social media and the do's and don'ts of navigating the new millennial landscape where "technology seems to make things both easier and harder at the same time."

Reshma Saujani mentions Randi Zuckerberg in her groundbreaking work, "Women Who Don't Wait" published last year, praising Zuckerberg's work-life balance and willingness to be herself.

"Randi is right. The more open women are about the richness and multidimensional aspects of their lives, the more acceptable it will become to simply act like ourselves -- and the more effective we will be as leaders."

Saujani's book is filled with provocative chapter/subchapter titles: Fail Fast, Fail First, Fail Hard; Unapologetically Ambitious; Don't Worry If They Don't Like You; Jump the Line (Wear What You Want); and Building a Sisterhood for the Twenty-First Century.

Her biggest advice, like Zuckerberg's, is: "be authentic." She discusses her transformation and encourages the reader to "free yourself from believing that you have to behave like anyone other than yourself."
YN1c Marjorie Daw Adams (right) with Mailman 2nd Class Harrison, 1945.

While her insights are relevant for everyone, her target audience is, of course, women.  She calls for a strong community of support, or sisterhood, but writes, "And guys? We aren't hating on them; we are looking to men to be our allies. We no longer see them as a barrier to our success."
"I have worked with and been inspired by others, every day, to help create the world I want the next generation to live in. As women we must have the humility to see the world as it is, but the audacity to envision it as it could be. To apply a new lens of female leadership and reinvent, reshape, and retool the traditional system. To realize that we can learn from the poorest of women and the richest of women. We can and should be talking to one another about what this new model should look like -- and about how we can build it together."
Saujani dedicates her book "For all the women in my life whose shoulders I stand on, and for all the women who will stand on mine."

Since the 1980s March has been National Women's History Month, a time to recognize the women who didn't wait and who shouldered the struggle for freedom and equality, including the right to vote.
Future President Jimmy Carter readies to graduate from Naval Academy, 1947.

The first National Women's History Week was proclaimed by President and Commander in Chief Jimmy Carter, a former naval officer.

Here is Carter's Message to the nation designating March 2-8, 1980 (sixty years after women won the ability to vote) as National Women’s History Week:
   "From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.
   As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, 'Women’s History is Women’s Right.' – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.
   I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980.
   I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality -- Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.
   Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.
   This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that 'Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.'"
Congress passed a joint resolution proclaiming a Women's History Week in 1981.

The National Women's History Project and Department of Defense theme for this year's commemoration is, "celebrating women of character, courage and commitment," clearly mirroring Navy core values.

The books by Zuckerberg and Saujani in this review build on the gains of women in the past with a focus on the future, whether achieving tech-life balance or workplace gender balance -- with equal pay for equal work. It's not complicated.

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