Secrets of Powerful Women: Leading Change for a New Generation
by Andrea Wong, Rosario Dawson

Voice, 2010. ISBN 978-1-401-34111-4.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 04/14/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir

"There is something special that happens when you get a group of powerful women in a room...and shut the door," writes Andrea Wong in her forward to Secrets of Powerful Women: Leading Change for a New Generation. In the summer 2008, 16 teenage girls were given exclusive access to dozens of the most politically powerful women in America, learning from these women's experiences and encouraged by their enlightening speeches. This conference inspired the creation of this book and the compilation of these speeches in essay format. "[We] realized that if we are ever going to crash through that ceiling altogether, it's not enough to let only a handful of women at a time in on the secrets," Wong writes, "We wanted to share them far and wide so that women and girls everywhere could benefit."

This is one book I couldn't help but read with a pen in hand to underline the many inspiring quotes. Secrets of Powerful Women is full of good advice: standing up for yourself as a woman, dressing for success, getting ahead at work, beating the double standard, and more. Susan Bevan, Co-Chair of the Republican Majority for Choice, recommends, "Never compromise on your values. You must be willing to stand up for your beliefs, willing to lose a race or an election, in order to have credibility." Fran Drescher, actress and activist, advises women, "Don't try and emulate a man. Be a woman; it's your greatest strength."

There are too many great quotes in this book to list them all, and you'll have to read each of them with their author's personal essay to get the full effect. This is an inspirational book for any girl graduating from high school or college, or just a great read for that extra dose of girl power that might be missing from your life. It took me a while to get through it, but it was definitely worth the effort. I found I could only read one story per day to digest fully the importance of each woman's tale. This well-marked and dog-eared collection of stories will be on my library shelf for a long time to come.

Andrea Wong is President and CEO of Lifetime Network, the most powerful media brand targeted to women, with the top two women's networks on basic cable today.

Rosario Dawson, activist and award-winning actor, has garnered praise for both her leading roles and her work with a range of influential organizations. She is a board member of V-Day, co-founder of Voto Latino, and actively involved with the Lower Eastside Girls Club in Manhattan and the Environmental Media Association.

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