Book Report: Strategize to Win by Carla Harris

Carla Harris is on my Badass Women list. She is a Wall Street banker, motivational speaker, gospel singer, and author of “Expect to Win” and “Strategize to Win”. She has done so many things in her lifetime that I couldn’t decide what or how many of her accomplishments to list, so here are my top 2 “damn-she’s-a-badass” choices:

  1. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council in August 2013, and
  2. She performed sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall.

After listening to her speak at the 2016 Massachusetts Conference for Women, I believed in her awesome-ness, and I wanted to see if her book could rub some of that savvy charisma onto me.

I was surprised at how in touch with current realities Carla was. She starts off the book saying that she understands the new workforce isn’t looking for 30-year-long careers at one company. Doing that right off the bat made me more willing to listen to what she had to say. Then she talked about rotational programs, which surprised me because it still seems like not many people have heard about them. Go on, Carla, my ears are wide open.

The book is divided into 3 sections: Starting Out, Stepping Up, and Starting Over. I learned something from every section, and will definitely refer back to this book whenever I hit a new phase of my career.

Just like her in-person at the conference, her writing style is straightforward and no bullshit. She would make a statement, then provide sample scripts or case studies to back it up.

For some examples from the book (including an excerpt reading), check out the video!

At the end of every chapter, she includes short summaries called “Carla’s Pearls”. Those quick bullet points are good for refreshing your memory, but don’t just read that. There is more content within the chapters themselves.

I wish I read this book before I graduated college because I would have been in an even better mindset when starting out as a full-time employee. I missed a lot of opportunities so far in my two years in the professional world, and now I’m playing a little bit of catch up. After reading this book, I feel re-energized to do what I need to do to get where I want to be.

  1. I am investing in myself by taking a MicroMasters Program in Data Science with edX. I feel as though my decision to take the data science or big data path was a long time coming – you can read more about how I got there from my LinkedIn post “When I Grow Up…”.
  2. I am stepping outside of my comfort zone and building relationship currency with anybody and everybody. Relationship currency is the “medium of exchange you use to further your professional agenda; to acquire more responsibility, more senior roles, and better assignments; and even to have your voice heard”. Are you surprised that I say I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone? It’s just the first few interactions are always uncomfortable for me.

I hope you guys will pick up this book and read it for yourself – if you do, please let us know how you felt! And if you guys have any book suggestions, please let us know in the comments below!


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