"For many years, that’s the number of women there were in your department at work. One (you), or maybe a few more, but not many. You survived it, for sure, but times have absolutely changed since then – and in the new book “Power UP” by Magdalena Yeşil, they’re still changing, even now.
For generations, women in business have been told how difficult it is to break through a “glass ceiling” at work. Having grown up in Turkey, Yeşil knew a little about that but she wasn’t fully prepared for what faced her in the traditionally male-dominated American world of tech engineering. To survive, she had to learn American culture, English-as-a-fourth-language, and to allow herself to “make big bets and lose several.” One of the wins was something she learned: success is very possible for women in business, but you can’t wait around for it.
As an immigrant, she says being “humbitious” (humility + ambition) was part of her make-up, but it’s particularly something women should cultivate; one “keeps you grounded,” while the other “propels you forward…” Also, remember that whether you own a business – something that’s not for everyone, and that’s okay - or you work for someone else, you are “the Boss of your career.”
To move ahead, and as hard as these things are, ask for feedback and act on the negative. Know when it’s time to be assertive. Learn to “brush off provocations,” even when #metoo has thrown you for a curve by knowing that “you have more power than you think,” and that cultivating gravitas – “a combination of your dignity and seriousness” - will make all the difference. Don’t put up with comments on your attire; wear what makes you feel powerful and will fit in within the business-culture. Document and report harassment. And, she says with humor, if you’re faced with innuendo, “throw cold water” on it by asking for clarification on its meaning.
Be ready to survive disaster, both personal and in business. Groom a good support network and be a mentor. Lean toward other women, but don’t make a “gender divide.” And finally, never run away from a job. Run toward something. It will leave you with “head held high.”
There are an awful lot of personal stories inside “Power UP.” In fact, the abundance makes it seem as though that’s all you’re going to get – but no. When author Magdalena Yeşil begins sharing tales of being the lone woman in a team of men, the tone of this book shifts from cheerleading to empowerment. When she offers advice, it’s from the POV of someone who’s dug a foxhole in a career in a mostly-male business. And when she begins sharing tales of how she dealt with harassment, this book immediately jumps to the headlines.
For that, it should be next on your to-read shelf. Its advice and commentary is on-point, its stories are relatable, and its firm-gentle tone is not at all off-putting. If you need a business book that’s timely and helpful, “Power UP” is the one."
"Let me start off by saying Magdalena Yesil’s book Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy is not the type of book that I would normally read. A friend recommended Power Up and I decided to give it a try.
I was surprised when I was immediately drawn into the story of Magdalena’s early life. This book has something for everyone. Are you searching for your first job? Possibly thinking about leaving your current job to start up a new company? Maybe you are a parent re-entering the workforce after a childcare leave. Have a gap in your resume? These are some of the topics Magdalena discusses in Power Up. This is not a dry, boring text book; rather it is about a woman who has worked diligently and experienced all the workplace situations that one may encounter. Magdalena’s honest appraisal of some of these experiences and her no nonsense examples of how to deal with them are invaluable. Magdalena references other successful women and men using examples of their successes and mishaps in their rise in the world of Business. Magdalena’s generosity in sharing her wisdom about what works and does not work in today’s workplace is invaluable. In fact, in my opinion, her advice applies no matter what path you are following in life."
"WHAT AN INSPIRATIONAL BOOK!!! I love how the book starts with hammering on the importance of unwavering belief's in one's self. The power to flow is such a simple yet powerful image. I also love the "delicious eff-you attitude" she discusses. I wish I had more of that myself.
I completely agree with Magdalena's take on Mentorship vs Sponsorship and the importance of one's boss as one's main sponsor. What she says about perfection being your worst enemy is so true. My favorite part is her story of her mother, a clear example of how work can transform someone's self esteem and self worth, a barista at Whole Foods Market at the age of 63. I can relate to her mother's story and bet many other can as well. I love how she weaves stories and advice from other successful women. And Gravitas--a great tool to have at the workplace. I will ABSOLUTELY have my nieces and nephews read this well written book. It's filled with incredible career advice. With Magdalena's power packed book,we will feel water at our back and have no excuse other than to Power Up!"
"Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy" is as enjoyable to read as it is needed today. Amidst the horrific stories about sexism and worse in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Magdalena Yesil provides hope, inspiration and pragmatic advice to women seeking to build careers in and around technology. Actually, Yesil's wisdom could be applied to any professional career.
By sharing her own career and personal stories, Yesil will help generations of women learn from her successes and her mistakes. Yesil also shares stories from other successful women, and they provide a wide perspective on everything from navigating difficult moments (should a woman risk being a bitch?) to addressing how to balance motherhood and a big career. "Power Up" encourages women to support each other and touches on the very current topic of harassment in technology in a pragmatic and thoughtful way. Yesil suggests we try to be like water - flowing easily past obstacles. It is a great metaphor I intend to internalize."
Though the subtitle of “Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy” clearly highlights an emphasis on women, let me begin by saying that this is a book that everyone (both men and women) will greatly benefit from reading. As a male, early-stage tech company founder, I found Ms. Yesil’s personal story highly inspirational, and her hard-earned professional advice directly applicable to my goal of trying to build a strong and diverse team.
On the inspirational side, Yesil tells the story of a young woman from Turkey arriving in the United States with little more than a couple of suitcases but armed with a keen intellect and a highly-adaptable spirit. After turning down an early job offer from the two Steves (Jobs and Wozniak), she found herself in the male maelstrom of Jerry Sanders’s AMD (I’ll let you read the book to learn about some of the outrageous goings-on there). It was at this point that Yesil realized that the key to her future would be “gravitas” — the combination of dignity and seriousness that allows a person to gain power and control.
The rest, as they say, is history, including Yesil’s more-than-pivotal role in the founding of Salesforce, a story about which Yesil shares considerable insider lore (which was particularly fun to read). Throughout the book, Yesil delves into lessons from not only her own personal experiences, but also those of more than two dozen other female tech pioneers. The result is a tightly-woven series of insights and practical information that never devolves into an “us versus them” narrative. Instead, Yesil offers a refreshingly positive approach about how we can all share and leverage each other’s best talents and experience.
Yesil’s very personal and engaging style makes this an entertaining and informative read. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
I am a millennial guy who has spent the last 10 years in Silicon Valley. in various startups, I am amazed on how much of this book's lessons apply to me as a young man. I like the advice around taking risks with your eyes open and also the damage perfectionism causes.
I think the "Good Enough" is a very good lesson, especially for a programmer. Also the comment from Courtney Broadus on the quality of software varying depending on the company's business -- consumer facing versus enterprise. I need to keep reminding myself that. Thank you for a very useful book for my generation.
This is a MUST read for any woman, whether an executive or a stay at home mother. Magdalena's story is beyond inspirational. An immigrant who does not speak English, arriving for college with a few dollars and no family around.
Through obvious intelligence, intentional hard work and a healthy amount of confidence she rose to the upper echelons of the male-dominated world of venture capital. She has worked with some of the most famous and revered technologists of our time, and she has great advice for creating a personal brand, setting boundaries, finding supportive colleagues and mentors, taking time off if that's your choice and re-entering with gusto.
I want my mother, sisters, and nieces to read this. And I want my sons to know that the proverbial Men's Club has outstanding competition - from women who know how to Power Up!
So many great learnings and stories in PowerUp. I've read a great number of women's leadership books, and Magdalena's approach is the most helpful and practical I've read, including practical points such as:
- Credit isn't usually given, it's taken. You can self promote without bragging--think of yourself as a thoughtful communicator who can tell a compelling story with yourself in an award-winning role. Otherwise, someone else might tell your story for your, and depending on their vantage, bias and agenda, you may not feature well in it.
- When negotiating your pay, ask to see where your salary falls vis a vis other executives.
- Sometimes another woman can be your worst enemy when she sees you as a competitor, deflect by radiating the attitude "this is not an issue" and "let my work speak for itself."
- Female networks are good, but be sure to include men as well.
- But she also recognizes that male-female networking and relationship is harder after people marry, have kids, people start to gossip, etc. She shares how she had dinner with her to-be co-founder's wife to allay her concerns about her husband collaborating with a woman half his age. She respected his wife for taking the initiative and being open about her reasons for wanting to have dinner.
- Women try too hard to be perfect, which is a mistake. Her own belief that she had to be "perfect," led to Magdalena quitting the Salesforce board when she was faced with uncertain health issues.
Thank you Magdalena for sharing your experiences (and those of others) in this practical, action-oriented book!
Great guidance for how to present your best self and manage the complexities of our evolving workplace. The book is full of quotes and information from interviews with other seasoned professional women, giving different viewpoints.
Overall, a very inspirational book, especially for women trying to advance in competitive fields of work. We need women like Magdalena as leaders to push the frontier forward!
Must read for all women (and also for men who believe in equality). As a woman in tech, Power Up resonated with me and became a reference. Magdalena Yesil's sincerity and fearlessness shine through the book.
She shares not only her inspiring stories throughout her career as an entrepreneur, investor, leader and Silicon Valley pioneer, but also those of other bold and successful women. One of the things that I really like about Power Up is that it gives actionable advice on how to stay resilient in the face of adversity.
I value Magdalena's viewpoints and appreciate her sharing her experiences with us.
I've been a self-employed, hard working mother for 25+ years and naturally found myself drawn to two chapters of the book: Chapter 3 "You Have More Power Than You Think" provides very important points relevant to today's female work climate/culture.
With women finding their power to finally speak their truth I am confident women of any age will find Magdalena's experiences and discussion relatable. Her point SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS A CRIME is direct, sharp and accurate. She details ways to address it and I find her advice on this matter fitting today.
I'm also thankful Magdalena shared her experiences in Chapter 7 "Guilt and Other Challenges of Working Parenthood". This is a subject every one of my (not just female) friends struggles with. In today's workforce, it seems there is a requirement to be engaged and dialed in (via email, text or working remotely) 24/7. The line between work hours and family hours is increasingly blurry. By simply acknowledging this and addressing it with her "Family Saturdays At The Office" and outlining "work at home" proposals and expectations, she has empowered the reader to envision and plan for balancing work and family life.
I am excited to purchase this book for the young women in my life so they can learn (as I did) from Magdalena's experiences. I look forward to reading more from Magdalena in the future!
I am a young male professional, and --honestly speaking-- don't normally read books about women. The stories and advice in this book totally relate to men as well (with possible exception of harassment issues, which is less than 5% of the book).
One rarely finds useful advice based on personal experience these days. The message that I was most impressed about is the advice that we should not be too mechanistic at our professional lives (oh, I should have this person as a mentor, etc), but rather orchestrate the natural flow of relations. As Nobel Laureate author Orhan Pamuk said "A [good] writer talks of things that everyone knows but does not know they know." I got this feeling many times when reading Magdalena's book. We have experience on many things in life, but Magdalena's wisdom and experience has been crucial to put them in perspective. I suggest all young professionals --men and women alike-- to benefit from her perspective.
As a male executive, I found this book to be an insightfully balanced approach to sexual dynamics in the workplace. It contains sound advice to those starting their careers and is filled with real life examples from the many people Magdalena interviewed.
I learned a lot, including that “perfection” in my job performance is actually my enemy when compared to "being practical and getting things done”, and the importance of preparing for my annual review with "specific documentation relevant to my companies bottom line". The book is a great and entertaining read for both men and women, which I highly recommend.
I am a 29 year old male with an engineering degree. After spending several years in technology, I moved over to the fashion industry. Before reading Magdalena's Power UP, I felt that my chances of going back to technology were very low.
In her book, Magdalena says that no other industry is more welcoming to outsiders and underdogs, because technology does not look to the past, it looks to the future. If you can study up on a newly emerging technology trend and make yourself an expert, you can be successful. So I am very inspired and motivated to re-enter the technology world and am doing what Magdalena suggests. I am diving into the depths of blockchain technology, taking new product management courses to update my know how and am preparing for my re-entry into the tech world. Thanks Magdalena for encouraging and guiding me.
“We must give ourselves latitude to screw up.” Thanks to advice like that and stories that shows Magdalena practices what she preaches, I found this book extremely liberating.
If Magdalena and others whose stories she shares were able not just to survive but thrive in the Silicon Valley of the 1980s, then success is in reach for those of us dealing with today’s polarized climate. But man, she does have some hair raising stories about those days! She’s a powerhouse, and i walked away from the book inspired with a list of ideas for some of the things I’ve been working on improving in my work life.
Power Up offers great stories, anecdotes, and words of advice, such as this one: "Although audacity is your friend, entitlement is not" and "We don't have total control over how others see us.
But we can control the degree to which we see ourselves as outsiders." Magdalena Yesil's wonderful book - part memo, part how to - has arrived at just the right time: when gender tension, problems, and confusion are the norm. The book, like the author, is pragmatic about how to move forward in a constructive way.
This book really more of roadmap to building and navigating a career in Silicon Valley. As someone who's worked in Silicon Valley for over a decade, I am so happy someone wrote the REAL story about how to navigate between startups and big tech companies, when to look for VC funding, and how to balance the risk/reward equation when it comes to following your dream and having a meaningful personal life.
The author has been very successful in Silicon Valley tech for several decades, and has worked at big companies, founded and sold startups, and been a venture capitalist. With her gems of wisdom, everyone can gain insight into what Silicon Valley is really like, and build a career in tech with the knowledge and thoughtful tips in this book.
Also, the book is being billed as a book for women -- and there are some sections that are more geared toward women. Like, how to deal with sexual harassment and what to do when you want to have children. There are some really valuable insights there as well, though I do think that the author doesn't fully appreciate how hard it is for many women to pick themselves up after they have been put down and talked over again and again on their team, or after their boss has tortured them with sexual jokes.