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What to Read: Mistakes I made at Work

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June 12, 2015
What to Read
Tammy Farley

What's On the Bookshelf
Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations with industry leaders and often one of the topics that we discuss is the latest book read. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what our industry leaders are reading.

Mistakes I made at Work
25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong, by Jessica Bacal
[Review by Tammy Farley, Principal, The Rainmaker Group]

I was recently asked to participate on a panel for the Global Gaming Women. I knew that much of the discussion would center on guidance for emerging female leaders in a traditionally male-dominated industry. As I pondered what fresh, new insight I might have for this year’s discussion I happened upon the book “Mistakes I Made at Work.” I was so intrigued I bought the book and I didn’t put it down until I was finished reading it!

In the book, Jessica Bacal interviews 25 very successful women from all walks of life about the toughest situations they have faced on the job. What they reveal is that it was often their failures, or at least mistakes, that led to their ultimate rise to success. One of the most compelling to me was the story of Joanna Barsh, director emeritus of McKinsey & Company, who describes how, at a summer job during business school, she used a bit of “creative math” to make the data for a project tell the story that she intuitively knew needed to be told. She accepted a full-time position with the firm and before she started they started asking questions about her analysis; she ultimately came clean and her future boss accepted the news and gave her some advice. She went on to be an extraordinarily successful consultant and leader, her advice from all of this:  “understanding those lessons affirmed my belief that mistakes are nearly always learning opportunities and that you should only call them ‘failures’ if you don’t learn.” This book is insightful for any leader, future or current – and is relevant for everyone, not just women!

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