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The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

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Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel--and act--as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young. It's only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don't deserve this. I Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel--and act--as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young. It's only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don't deserve this. It's just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake. If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you're not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she's only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she's in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it--impostors in their own lives and careers. While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled 'em again. An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women's most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt. In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life.


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Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel--and act--as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young. It's only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don't deserve this. I Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel--and act--as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young. It's only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don't deserve this. It's just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake. If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you're not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she's only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she's in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it--impostors in their own lives and careers. While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled 'em again. An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women's most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt. In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life.

30 review for The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Smith

    I would rate this book a 4.5 and not because it's the most riveting book I've ever read, but because it was life changing information for me. One thing that shocked me are the sum total of all the little remarks that permeate our society that are subtle put-downs to women. I thought we had come so far as women, and yet women are demeaned every day in subtle ways that affect how we perceive ourselves. I was shocked at the blind studies that show that women have to work harder to be taken as serio I would rate this book a 4.5 and not because it's the most riveting book I've ever read, but because it was life changing information for me. One thing that shocked me are the sum total of all the little remarks that permeate our society that are subtle put-downs to women. I thought we had come so far as women, and yet women are demeaned every day in subtle ways that affect how we perceive ourselves. I was shocked at the blind studies that show that women have to work harder to be taken as seriously, out-perform men in orchestras, defend their grants and dissertations harder, are chosen for jobs less with the same credentials, etc... It was horrifying to me! It's funny, because I honestly hadn't noticed these put-downs, and a few hours after I finished the book, I turned on the TV while we were preparing dinner and I heard SEVERAL negative references toward women on a cooking show, including one man yelling at another man in an attempt to put him down said something like "Go get your tampons, and go with the girls, you little B!*ch!" Why is it that when men want to put other men down, they will make references to being or acting like a girl as if that's the ultimate insult? Other things are more subtle, such as diminishing the efforts or work of a female, such as "How is your *little* project coming?" Another thing that shocked me is that how much men as a whole will BS their way through things, even with limited knowlege to make others feel like they know all kinds of things they don't. An account of a woman at Harvard, feeling like she didn't measure up to everyone else there intellectually, came into class talking about a labratory experiment on rats she had just witnessed, and the professor misunderstood what she said, and went off saying "Oh I've heard of Smurf's work. 5 other people chimed in, acting like they'd read Smurf's work, were following his career, when all along she just said that the lab experiment was conducted in a kiddie pool with a Smurf motif (ya know the blue cartoon characters!!!) And yet all these highly intellectual people acted like they knew Smurt and were following his work!!! It changed the way she looked at people including her professors at Harvard, and she no longer felt like a fraud. This book doesn't just illuminate problems, but it offers real solutions for implementing the material, and changing ones' thinking and actions. I actually took the time to work through the activities at the end of each chapter, and I found it tremendously helpful. I want all my sisters to read this book, my daughters to read it, and really every woman who wants to realize their full potential in school, at work, or in life! Even though the title can be off-putting for men, I truly think that any man who is a minority could benefit. Also any person, man or woman, who is trying to go from blue collar to white collar, or raise above poverty, or elevate their status or position. Any student could benefit... We ALL deserve a place at the table! I'm going to go back through and read it again and underline my book. This is one of the best, most practical self help books I've ever read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    this book is great but it's way too long. it goes on and on about what I'm currently doing but the tips don't start until a good chunk of a way in. I would prefer the physical more than the audiobook. this book is great but it's way too long. it goes on and on about what I'm currently doing but the tips don't start until a good chunk of a way in. I would prefer the physical more than the audiobook.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cory

    This book is all about the imposter syndrome in women--thinking that you're a fake and you don't deserve the success or the happiness that you have. I was quite certain I had this, but as I read this book and learned about the causes and symptoms and signs and coping mechanisms of the "syndrome" I kept thinking "NONE of these apply to me!" So . . . I guess this book helped me to figure out that I'm an arrogant little thing who thinks she deserves great things in this world. This book is all about the imposter syndrome in women--thinking that you're a fake and you don't deserve the success or the happiness that you have. I was quite certain I had this, but as I read this book and learned about the causes and symptoms and signs and coping mechanisms of the "syndrome" I kept thinking "NONE of these apply to me!" So . . . I guess this book helped me to figure out that I'm an arrogant little thing who thinks she deserves great things in this world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I remember attending a talk by Young on Imposter Syndrome when I was a bewildered first-year graduate student at MIT. She was a great speaker and her words were timely, giving me a huge sense of relief. I may not have let "imposter thoughts" go immediately, but she got me thinking about it seriously. Fast forward a few years - I'm a Ph.D. candidate now and in a much more peaceful place for various reasons. Young's book was still an interesting read, but not really in the same way. Her work is def I remember attending a talk by Young on Imposter Syndrome when I was a bewildered first-year graduate student at MIT. She was a great speaker and her words were timely, giving me a huge sense of relief. I may not have let "imposter thoughts" go immediately, but she got me thinking about it seriously. Fast forward a few years - I'm a Ph.D. candidate now and in a much more peaceful place for various reasons. Young's book was still an interesting read, but not really in the same way. Her work is definitely worthwhile and good, but after thinking about it for a few years and coming back to it, I felt it was missing a deeper discussion. For example, she makes a good case for why imposter syndrome isn't helpful, but could it also be harmful in a bigger way? Misplaced pride? Also, if I were to recommend a book to someone on this sort of topic, I would probably put Brené Brown's work in their hands first. Not quite the same thing as Young's work, but Brown cuts to the heart of topics like shame/vulnerability using [what sounds like to a non-psychologist] fairly rigorous research. After that, read Young's work - it makes an excellent case study.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    I had thought this would be a book of "secret thoughts of successful women." But this is something of a misnomer. The book is not filled with interviews and discussions from successful women. The first chapter or two has lots of quotes, which is great. But then the author launches into a psychological analysis of her theories on the imposter syndrome, especially for women, and then how to combat feeling like an imposter. This is useful stuff, so I adapted to my disappointment and kept reading. Ho I had thought this would be a book of "secret thoughts of successful women." But this is something of a misnomer. The book is not filled with interviews and discussions from successful women. The first chapter or two has lots of quotes, which is great. But then the author launches into a psychological analysis of her theories on the imposter syndrome, especially for women, and then how to combat feeling like an imposter. This is useful stuff, so I adapted to my disappointment and kept reading. However, this book is dated - it's really entirely oriented toward Baby Boomers. For example, she's talking about girls growing up unable to play sports until Title IX passed in 1972 and how that created an imposter syndrome in all women. That's her target audience - those women. So the material really falls short in some areas where she's speaking about women, because what she's saying is pretty remote from the experience of Generation X-and-later women. And the material thus becomes inaccessible at times, for whole sections, because she's basing her work on the experiences of Boomers. This got very tiring. I would say - read the first half. That will give you a good eye-opener to the nature of the imposter feelings you might be having.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Van Dyke

    Every woman should read this book. Enough said.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women gave me the pep talk I needed. I never knew the Impostor Syndrome existed, because I always believed in what I am doing. It is rare for me to experience doubts in the things I do. Whenever I accomplish something, I own it and I truly believe that I deserve it. Occasionally, I would cry for unknown reasons I do not understand. Probably it is because of the self-conflict when it comes to the success I foresee after I accomplish things. Maybe it is because I a The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women gave me the pep talk I needed. I never knew the Impostor Syndrome existed, because I always believed in what I am doing. It is rare for me to experience doubts in the things I do. Whenever I accomplish something, I own it and I truly believe that I deserve it. Occasionally, I would cry for unknown reasons I do not understand. Probably it is because of the self-conflict when it comes to the success I foresee after I accomplish things. Maybe it is because I am the perfectionist who overprepares and have a low tolerance for my own shortcomings, which then defines the whole scenario to failure. I grew up in an environment where I am usually in the top of my class, and during high school, boys would often tease me about being a nerd. One bully prophesied that the only job I could get someday would be a calculator. Math is my forte, but after several years, I took that comment as a compliment. In those days, I felt left out. I was too smart for any of them. Also, when I have a lengthy opinion in class, it would be too intellectual for them to comprehend that they just clap their hands halfway through. The stench of sarcasm traveled faster in the air as they continued their applause. This booked perked me up a little and gave me some guidelines on the way women think and explained the behavior of men. I believe the application of the advice is crucial in my case since I will be in a workplace dominated by men. This could help me assert my girl power and stop me from having inadequate feelings. I like how it presented the kind of mental scenarios women face, especially the one about lower self-esteem, which is a common problem. Even I with high self-esteem still face the lowest of lows, which proves this does not make me invincible against the issue that most girls are facing. This would be a helpful book, especially to those women who aspire for success in a man-driven world. I do not think this is a matter of feminism, I believe that the psychology about the differences between the way men and women think should be expounded on. Valerie Young did a thorough job in understanding the mindset of both genders and introduced ways on how to conquer the Impostor Syndrome. The common quote: "Fake it until you make it." is the general theme of the book. All people have their ups and downs, but women are generally more vulnerable. Self-doubt could activate the flight or fight mechanism. Men are known to not really care about what other people think, while women are more sensitive to criticism. This sounds stereotypical, but it is a general truth that men earn more than women, because women usually just settle for an easier working environment. The book explains at a deeper depth about this crucial difference. I still find it amazing how I do know some of the tips from self-learning. Reading the lines gave me important realizations and concrete verification. Overall, it all comes down to positive thinking and dealing with a problem when it actually exists, not when it is theoretical.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Imaan Tamimi

    'The title is jarring' was my first thought when I was looking for books on Imposter Syndrome, but the book kept cropping up again and again in different articles about it. And eventually I thought 'Why not give this a go', so I did and I'm glad that I did (I still find the title jarring though). I didn't know, until about last month, that Imposter Syndrome was the underlying thread in my mind for almost a decade. That's the cool thing about putting a name to something, it gives you target to go 'The title is jarring' was my first thought when I was looking for books on Imposter Syndrome, but the book kept cropping up again and again in different articles about it. And eventually I thought 'Why not give this a go', so I did and I'm glad that I did (I still find the title jarring though). I didn't know, until about last month, that Imposter Syndrome was the underlying thread in my mind for almost a decade. That's the cool thing about putting a name to something, it gives you target to go after. Instead of dealing with an intangible feeling, you can grasp it in the hands of your mind and you realise that there are many more people who have experienced it and dealt with it too. I like this book, I really do. I'll be coming back to it again and again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I had a crisis of confidence during a recent author's conference. I debated about saying anything on social media, but finally did ... and the outpouring of "me too" was both gratifying and disturbing. In the course of the ensuing discussion, this book was recommended to me ... and I cannot say how glad I was. Author Valerie Young goes not into just what impostor syndrome looks and feels like, but also where it comes from (she postulates seven different origins). The one that resonated with me w I had a crisis of confidence during a recent author's conference. I debated about saying anything on social media, but finally did ... and the outpouring of "me too" was both gratifying and disturbing. In the course of the ensuing discussion, this book was recommended to me ... and I cannot say how glad I was. Author Valerie Young goes not into just what impostor syndrome looks and feels like, but also where it comes from (she postulates seven different origins). The one that resonated with me was the expectation that anything less than perfection was evidence of incompetence. I was the kid who got in trouble for the one B amongst all of the A grades. I was the kid who, upon folding towels to help with household chores, was told I did it wrong because the design had to go on the outside and the folds in a particular order. You get the picture. So, suffice it to say I've had many years with a little niggling voice telling me that I wasn't good enough. It didn't matter how many awards or honors I earned. What I found out from this book is that a whole *slew* of people, almost all of them women, have this same experience on a daily basis. The good news is there are ways to combat impostor syndrome. The tricky bit is that, just like strengthening muscles, it takes work. However, there are practical tools in this book that give the reader ways to make it through to the other side. Am I ready to take on the world? Perhaps. I know that there is work yet to do. However, I also know that I have a tool kit that I didn't previously possess and that it will make a great deal of difference in the long run.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carissa

    What a fantastic book for those of us who are interested in this phenomenon. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jerzy

    I was lucky enough to see Dr Young give a seminar at my university. The talk was really helpful---not just great lecture content, but also interactive segments of discussion with fellow students at our tables, showing us firsthand just how many other people across campus deal with similar worries. This book is just fine, but I don't think I got anything extra out of it beyond what was in the seminar. So: try to hear her speak instead if you can, though the book is a fine alternative if you can't. I was lucky enough to see Dr Young give a seminar at my university. The talk was really helpful---not just great lecture content, but also interactive segments of discussion with fellow students at our tables, showing us firsthand just how many other people across campus deal with similar worries. This book is just fine, but I don't think I got anything extra out of it beyond what was in the seminar. So: try to hear her speak instead if you can, though the book is a fine alternative if you can't. The book talks a lot about broad differences between men and women, but I found much of it applies to me too (maybe I didn't get the typical guy experience of playing on team sports? but many women play team sports too...). So take that with a grain of salt. * p.28: She gives "you were raised by humans" as a core reason for impostor syndrome: your parents did their best but still couldn't shield you from this phenomenon. Your parents might have praised too much, or not enough, or in the wrong ways, etc... That's helpful in a way, but terrifying to me as a parent! How *should* I raise my son to *prevent* him having impostor feelings (or other issues)? No help here. * p.40, Martha Graham: "No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." Sounds like academia too :) * p.51-2, funny quotes in discussion about how non-competent men manage to power through anyway, while non-competent women hold themselves back: "I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government." --Sissy Farenthold "Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel." --Bella Abzug * p.59: story about Sheryl Sandberg giving a talk about needing more women leaders, then saying it's the last question, and all the women in audience dutifully put their hands down---but men didn't, so she kept answering men's questions. ***I need to watch out for this myself when I teach a class! Be especially careful not to let certain folks dominate the discussion! * p.76: she categorizes impostor syndrome defense mechanisms into a few categories: overworking, never finishing, procrastination, etc. The one I probably relate to the most is the "ever-changing profile": change majors, careers, interests, etc. I enjoy being legitimately new to things and learning, but I worry that I don't stick around long enough to get really deep mastery. * p.83: What is your "crusher", the "core negative belief we hold about ourselves"? Mine might be something about not being an independent thinker/actor. A few times in the past, I've made bad choices just because a good choice was suggested by someone else, and I didn't want to feel like I was following their lead instead of doing it my own way. Plus, I'm not afraid of admitting I don't know something, or that my work isn't perfect; but before meeting with advisors or supervisors to discuss a question about where to go next, part of me is always worried that they'll think, "Why didn't you know to do this next thing? Obviously you should have tried that before bothering me with your questions." They've (almost) never said or implied this---but a deep part of me worries about it all the time anyway. * p.108: she also categorizes impostor syndrome "competence types": in what (unhealthy) way do you define competence for yourself? I relate to each of them a little bit. Here, about the Perfectionist, she mentions people who see a right and wrong way to do everything, and can't delegate because they don't trust others to do it right. "When you do delegate, you are often frustrated and disappointed at the results." I can certainly relate! Usually it's fine, but sometimes I really need to be better about letting go. * p.110: "Half-ass is better than no ass." * p.120: "Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects." --Will Rogers Also, discussion of the Expert, who won't jump into anything until they feel sure they're ready to do it 100% right. "And you certainly don't want to promise something unless you're absolutely certain you can deliver." I relate here too; the problem is when you spend years and years preparing but never act, like folks who keep collecting more and more credentials and degrees, but never use those skills to make contributions to the world. * p.126, about the Rugged Individualist type, who thinks competence means going it alone (perhaps the one I relate to most, in some situations anyway): "The truth is that Diane couldn't handle the job. But under the same circumstances neither could John or anyone else. The critical difference is that he knew it, which is why he felt perfectly entitled to ask for what he needed in order to do it. ... Competence doesn't mean knowing how to do everything yourself. Instead, competence means knowing how to identify the resources needed to get the job done." That really strikes home. If I can't get certain software to work or find a certain step in a proof by myself, that's OK---I *am* entitled to ask for help. I just need to remember it's OK :) * p.128: "Truly competent people not only ask for advice, but they delegate wherever and whenever they can. ... The rule of thumb is to assign a task to the lowest level in the organization at which it can be performed competently---not perfectly, competently." * p.130, about the Superman/Superwoman/Superstudent type, who thinks they need to do well in *all* areas of life at the same time: "I was approached by two doctoral students who were managing to meet rigorous academic demands while simultaneously holding down full-time jobs. That would be impressive enough, but they were also raising young children who had their own overly full roster of extracurricular activities. I was exhausted just hearing about their overextended lives. I assumed that they approached me for advice on how they could offload some responsibilities. Instead these women wanted to talk about how guilty they felt about not having time to do volunteer work in their community." Yeah... I feel really bad when I turn down requests to volunteer. But it wouldn't help to commit to something I can't do well on top of my school+work+family duties already. * p.134: "Just stop expecting yourself to remain in a constant state of extreme brilliance. Instead strive to feel comfortable with being fabulously adequate." What a great phrase: fabulously adequate! * p.142: good to keep in mind as a parent: after a failure, sometimes girls hear "Don't you worry your pretty little head ... If it's too hard, you don't have to try." Instead, it's better to say, "That was a really tough break, honey. But if you really want to make the team, then you have to try again. And when you do we'll support you one hundred percent." * p.144: different ways that (stereotypically) men and women use communication as a tool: guys try to fix problems, gals try to express feelings. A guy saying "Stop worrying about it" is sincerely trying to help, but it can come across as "Stop talking about it," which isn't helpful when what you need to hear instead is support, like "I feel that way too sometimes." * p.148: psychologist Peter Gray "found the most constructive and amiable interactions were those in which an individual reached out to an older mentor or peer for advice." Apparently from "How to Take Feedback" by Karen Wright. * p.174: "But if ... Dave doesn't understand the game, he might respond to what was a purely ritualized apology on your part with Well, obviously you weren't very clear, because I sent you exactly what you asked for. Okay, now you're pissed because you weren't really sorry! You were just trying to help him save face and preserve the relationship." Happens to me too---not just to women! * p.210: bullshitting is "closer to bluffing than to telling a lie" ... The whole fake-it-till-you-make-it thing isn't necessarily lying about your competence. It can just be thought of "impression management," giving yourself the chance to learn on the fly instead of self-selecting yourself out before you get that chance. * p.219: wonderful story about the Smurf pool, from Martha Beck's Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic. Whenever I feel intimidated by the people around me, I need to tell myself, "He's a good man, Smurf is." Full quote, from Beck's book (she's pregnant, hence the nausea): It was mid-November and the few remaining leaves rattled on the trees. I welcomed the winter chill, since ice air helped keep my mind off the nausea. I breathed it carefully one day as I waddled over to William James Hall (known to the intelligentsia as Billy Jim) to attend a class. I arrived a few minutes early and decided to use the extra time to visit a friend in the Psychology Department, one floor above the Sociology Department, where my class was held. My friend was in her lab, conducting an experiment that consisted of implanting wires into the brains of live rats, then making the rats swim around in a tub of reconstituted dry milk. She told me why she was doing this, but I have no memory of what she said. Maybe she was making soup. Whatever the reason, she had put the rats and the milk in a children’s wading pool, the kind you fill up with a hose so that toddlers can splash around on a hot summer day. The tub was decorated with pictures of Smurfs. Smurfs, for those of you who are not culturally aware, are little blue people whose antics you may have observed on Saturday morning cartoons during the 1980s. I personally feel that the Smurfs were cloying, saccharine little monsters, but Katie adored them. After chatting with my rat-molesting friend for a moment, I excused myself and headed downstairs for the seminar. There were seven or eight other graduate students in attendance, along with a couple of extra professors who had come to hear the latest twist on established theories. I felt the way I always did when I walked into a classroom at Harvard, that I had just entered a den of lions---not starving lions, perhaps, but lions who were feeling a little peckish. The people in the room were fearsomely brilliant, and I was always terrified that I would say just one completely idiotic thing, make one breathtakingly asinine comment that would expose me as a boorish, politically incorrect half-wit. “Ah, Martha,” said the course instructor, “we’ve been waiting for you.” I blushed. I had stopped at the rest room to blow a few chunks, and had been hoping that the class would start a bit late. I did not want to be the focus of attention. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I was upstairs in the Psych lab, watching rats swim around in a Smurf pool.” “I see,” said the instructor, “Yes, I believe I’ve read about that.” A professor, one of the visiting dignitaries, chimed in. “How is Smurf’s work going?” he inquired. “I understand he’s had some remarkable findings.” “Yes,” said a graduate student. “I read his last article.” There was a general murmur of agreement. It seems that everyone in the room was familiar with Dr. Smurf, and his groundbreaking work with swimming rats. It took me a few discombobulated seconds to figure out that everyone at the seminar assumed a Smurf pool was named for some famous psychological theorist. I guess they thought it was like a Skinner box, the reinforcement chamber used by B. F. Skinner to develop the branch of psychological theory known as behaviorism. Comprehension blossomed in my brain like a lovely flower. “I think,” I said solemnly, “that Smurf is going to change the whole direction of linguistic epistemology.” They all agreed, nodding, saying things like “Oh, yes,“ and “I wouldn’t doubt it.” I beamed at them, struggling desperately not to laugh. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to mock these people. I was giddy with exhilaration, because after seven years at Harvard, I was just beginning to realize that I wasn’t the only one faking it. I had bluffed my way through many a cocktail party, pretending to know all about whichever scholar or theory was the current topic of conversation. I had always wondered how I survived among the staggeringly intelligent people lurking all around me. Now I was beginning to understand. “He’s a good man, Smurf is,” said the instructor solemnly. And thus I learned that at Harvard, while knowing a great deal is the norm and knowing everything is the goal, appearing to know everything is considered an acceptable substitute.

  12. 5 out of 5

    JaneAnn Kenney

    I found the first several chapters very enlightening/helpful. The end probably also would have been good but I felt that I had a good handle on how to identify my own patterns and how to tweak/reset as needed. I'll definitely pick it up again if I need a refresher. I found the first several chapters very enlightening/helpful. The end probably also would have been good but I felt that I had a good handle on how to identify my own patterns and how to tweak/reset as needed. I'll definitely pick it up again if I need a refresher.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shayna Ross

    DNF - got about halfway, but it just isn't the right book for me right now during the pandemic. DNF - got about halfway, but it just isn't the right book for me right now during the pandemic.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I really liked her writing style. Smooth and easy to understand. Lots of useful tips and great examples! I'll read it again. I really liked her writing style. Smooth and easy to understand. Lots of useful tips and great examples! I'll read it again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    Great info but a bit preachy at times. Could also have been the narrator’s tone on the audiobook, which I wasn’t thrilled with.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samantha York

    Strongly recommend this book for those who think they may be experiencing symptoms of imposter syndrome and want to know a little more and DIY some responses. If, like me, you've attended a couple of webinars and read a bunch of articles - note: they're either pulling from or more recent than this book. It's great, but no longer groundbreaking. Strongly recommend this book for those who think they may be experiencing symptoms of imposter syndrome and want to know a little more and DIY some responses. If, like me, you've attended a couple of webinars and read a bunch of articles - note: they're either pulling from or more recent than this book. It's great, but no longer groundbreaking.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet Civitelli

    This is one of my favorite books because every time a career coaching client tells me that she is constantly worried that she isn't as smart or competent as everyone thinks she is, I think, "Aha! Impostor Syndrome at work!" For many people I know (including myself), it is extremely helpful to name what is happening and to know that you aren't alone in feeling that way. One of the best parts of the book is Dr. Young's examples of famous people who struggle with the Impostor Syndrome. To me, it rea This is one of my favorite books because every time a career coaching client tells me that she is constantly worried that she isn't as smart or competent as everyone thinks she is, I think, "Aha! Impostor Syndrome at work!" For many people I know (including myself), it is extremely helpful to name what is happening and to know that you aren't alone in feeling that way. One of the best parts of the book is Dr. Young's examples of famous people who struggle with the Impostor Syndrome. To me, it really puts things into perspective to read that Meryl Streep is secretly fearful that she can't act and that for years, Vivian Schiller (former CEO of NPR) worried that her career success was a fluke and that she would be discovered as a fraud. Dr. Young is strongest at describing the nature of and effects of the Impostor Syndrome and it is up to the reader to identify which strategies to use to most effectively combat it. Neuropsychologists say that people have hundreds of conscious and unconscious thoughts per day that shape their mood and self-image. It doesn't work to just tell yourself, "Stop having those bad thoughts!" The only way to eliminate the effect of a self-sabotaging thought is to intercept it and replace it with a more optimistic and strengthening thought. This takes practice and persistence but it is worth it to suffer less in the long run. Full review at my blog at Moving Beyond The Impostor Syndrome

  18. 5 out of 5

    Helen Power

    Reading through the other reviews for this book, I noticed a startling pattern in the comments from various reviewers. If you don't suffer from Imposter Syndrome, then you're much less likely to enjoy and relate to this book (which makes a lot of sense, given that the book is about overcoming Imposter Syndrome). As someone who's struggled with feelings of being an "imposter" all my life, I benefited greatly from hear the not-so-secret thoughts of successful women who have experienced similar fee Reading through the other reviews for this book, I noticed a startling pattern in the comments from various reviewers. If you don't suffer from Imposter Syndrome, then you're much less likely to enjoy and relate to this book (which makes a lot of sense, given that the book is about overcoming Imposter Syndrome). As someone who's struggled with feelings of being an "imposter" all my life, I benefited greatly from hear the not-so-secret thoughts of successful women who have experienced similar feelings of doubt and fraudulence. This book was an eye-opener, and while I haven't had the chance to thoroughly work through the exercises yet, just reading this book has helped me with to recognize the imposter feelings and attempt to overcome them whenever they arise. I recommend this book to anyone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome, (or anyone who thinks that they might), but even those who cannot relate would find Young's discussions about socioeconomic influences on self confidence to be quite insightful. 4.25 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lee Ann

    I feel like this is the kind of book I can't really rate until I see some results (or lack thereof), so I'm going with 3 stars for now. There was a lot I liked, and a lot I disagreed with. I liked how validating the book was. It didn't try to belittle anyone for their impostor syndrome, but rather gave a name to the feeling and gave the reader the tools they need to confront and overcome it. I also liked that the author acknowledged intersectionality, and the ways that impostor syndrome affects pe I feel like this is the kind of book I can't really rate until I see some results (or lack thereof), so I'm going with 3 stars for now. There was a lot I liked, and a lot I disagreed with. I liked how validating the book was. It didn't try to belittle anyone for their impostor syndrome, but rather gave a name to the feeling and gave the reader the tools they need to confront and overcome it. I also liked that the author acknowledged intersectionality, and the ways that impostor syndrome affects people of different genders, races, orientations, religions, etc., in different ways. Considering that that majority of people didn't "become woke" until 2015/2016-ish, I'd say this book was maybe a little ahead of its time. I also LOVED the section about Rebecca Solnit. I didn't realize Men Explain Things to Me was written so long ago (God, 2011 was "long ago," I feel old). "Male answer syndrome" is real, y'all. Then there was the section on the "opposite" of impostor syndrome: irrational self-confidence syndrome, or ISC. It was fascinating to read about, and definitely observable in people I know... and a certain someone in the White House. Yikes. Speaking of, I hated how often the Trumps were cited as a success story in this book. That didn't age well. There was also a line that implied the author believes women "let" men talk over them. Which kind of annoyed me. A lot. And the whole section trying to explain the difference between "bullshitting" and "lying" just did not resonate with me. Seemed like the author was bending over backwards to defend liars. But overall I enjoyed this book, and I learned a lot of infuriating statistics (i.e. that women working in the sciences in Sweden had to try 2.5 times as hard as men to be rewarded for their work). There were also moments where I felt extremely called out. Not only am I a writer who has been working on the same project for, ohh, 5 years now, but I just started a new job. This job is way above the level I was at just a year ago, as far as experience goes, so I feel super under-prepared and question myself every day. I hope what I've read here will pay off in the long run and help me feel more confident in my day job work. 3/5 stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    ReadingMama

    V. Young is an internationally known workshop leader and her work has been cited in many publications. There were many sections in this book, I knew exactly what she was talking about… because that’s how I had behaved… following what was expected from me as a woman in particular era, including 70s, 80s, 90s and until today. Growing up in the Eastern culture, then living in America as a minority, studying in a field where men were the majority, my self-confidence was at the bottom. I was used to V. Young is an internationally known workshop leader and her work has been cited in many publications. There were many sections in this book, I knew exactly what she was talking about… because that’s how I had behaved… following what was expected from me as a woman in particular era, including 70s, 80s, 90s and until today. Growing up in the Eastern culture, then living in America as a minority, studying in a field where men were the majority, my self-confidence was at the bottom. I was used to so many excuses and yup, I knew all about the imposter syndrome. Last night, I watched a movie “On the basis of Sex by Ruth Bader Ginsburg” and soooooooo~ inspiring… She was certainly a woman of time ahead and I absolutely adored her intelligence but more of her stubbornness and persistence. I did not have courage or even skillset to assert myself nor confidence before. No more. As I enter my 50s, I have worked in a professional environment for almost 30 years, and most importantly, by observing and learning from others, now I know that I should market myself, not to boast but I know my capability. I have worked hard slowly and steadily and I accept my success proudly and own it. I do not expect others would value me and my work if I do not value it first! Growth has not been comfortable and it is not supposed to be! Its purpose is to stretch so I can not only perform at my full potential but to achieve my highest calling. I do not expect perfection but I strive for excellence! Even the legendary Babe Ruth batted ONLY “0.324”. Having said all about success, I love the following author’s sentiment and do not want to lose the perspectives. “Years from now, no one will remember all the extra projects you took on or your meticulously organized garage. Instead what they (or you) will remember is the time you said “No” to a work assignment to take your kids to the science museum or when you ignored household chores to enjoy the sunset. With my experience, I NEVER REGRETTED by choosing the latter. As a matter of fact, I am ready for morning hiking now ;))

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nita Shoyket

    Though I did not agree or relate with some of what was presented, I gained some insight and understanding as to why I do not feel as confident as I should. I mean, I ask myself why do some people (idiotic men) have so much confidence and seem like they are super human? I am smarter, tougher, funnier, more educated. Why do I feel inadequate at times? Well, apparently some "fake it till they make it." As an example, this book talked about how men will apply for jobs for which they are only partial Though I did not agree or relate with some of what was presented, I gained some insight and understanding as to why I do not feel as confident as I should. I mean, I ask myself why do some people (idiotic men) have so much confidence and seem like they are super human? I am smarter, tougher, funnier, more educated. Why do I feel inadequate at times? Well, apparently some "fake it till they make it." As an example, this book talked about how men will apply for jobs for which they are only partially qualified for, while women will not apply for a job unless they meet most to all of the criteria on the job description. I've read this before elsewhere. But in all truth, this book reiterates that we, women, should believe in our abilities because we can adapt amazingly and take on new challenges and make changes. We just lack confidence. And, further, it's ok to take a leap of faith or take a risk because we are capable of learning as we go and wholly capable of finding solutions to problems that come up. Well, hell yeah!! Sometimes we (I) forget how awesome I am because my mind gets stuck in worry and hung up on the "what ifs" of failure. I NEED TO STOP THINKING THAT WAY!! The best thing I got out of this book was a reference to this article: No One Knows What the F*ck They're Doing. This is sheds light on how men and women differ when if comes to tackling new challenges and taking risks. Definitely and must read!! http://jangosteve.com/post/380926251/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This book talks about impostor syndrome: what it is, who is affected by it, what does it look like, why we get it, and - most importantly - how to prevent it from affecting decisions we make. As an immigrant woman of color working in a technical field, impostor syndrome is a feeling I struggle against daily. I appreciate that Young does not prescribe a "cure" for impostor syndrome; instead, she advises that we acknowledge that it exists and try to identify the ways in which it influences the way This book talks about impostor syndrome: what it is, who is affected by it, what does it look like, why we get it, and - most importantly - how to prevent it from affecting decisions we make. As an immigrant woman of color working in a technical field, impostor syndrome is a feeling I struggle against daily. I appreciate that Young does not prescribe a "cure" for impostor syndrome; instead, she advises that we acknowledge that it exists and try to identify the ways in which it influences the way we think. She broadly categorizes ways in which the syndome manifests, and some of them (hello, perfectionist) made me widen my eyes because every word rang true for me. The point of the categorization is to show us different types of impostorism so that we can better defend ourselves against those dark feelings that whisper that we're not as good as everyone else. As much as I took from her message, I do think the book is a little long-winded. Young spends a lot of time on anecdotes of famous successful women, which I didn't find too helpful. There's also a lot of ego-building, which came across a bit false in parts and detracted from the message for me. In general, a good read-- but be prepared to speedread through a few redundant sections.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jean Moncrieff

    An excellent read for women and men. Ever had that feeling that you're not worthy of your success? Or that you landed where you are by pure luck? Or somebody screwed up in administration and gave you a place you don't deserve? You feel that it's only a matter of time before somebody uncovers that you're a fraud. Then this one is worth a read, especially if you are a woman or entrepreneur. Most of us experience some degree of Impostor Syndrome in our lives. Stop allowing it to hold you back. For An excellent read for women and men. Ever had that feeling that you're not worthy of your success? Or that you landed where you are by pure luck? Or somebody screwed up in administration and gave you a place you don't deserve? You feel that it's only a matter of time before somebody uncovers that you're a fraud. Then this one is worth a read, especially if you are a woman or entrepreneur. Most of us experience some degree of Impostor Syndrome in our lives. Stop allowing it to hold you back. For those of us trying to make the world a better place, or simply doing something you believe in, this book offers a brilliant insight into impostor syndrome and ways of dealing with it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pranjali

    A 3ish for me It's a well researched book that will help you be more self aware. I was so sure I'd also had some imposter syndrome but I realised unknowingly I did manage to work on that in the past few years. So I don't think I've got a severe case of it like the book talks about. So didn't relate with all the scary thoughts that other people face. However I do have two takeaways : 1. It is totally okay to fake it and pretend to be confident. Will be more mindful of this. 2. Chutzpah is pronounced A 3ish for me It's a well researched book that will help you be more self aware. I was so sure I'd also had some imposter syndrome but I realised unknowingly I did manage to work on that in the past few years. So I don't think I've got a severe case of it like the book talks about. So didn't relate with all the scary thoughts that other people face. However I do have two takeaways : 1. It is totally okay to fake it and pretend to be confident. Will be more mindful of this. 2. Chutzpah is pronounced as hoot-spuh. I've lived a lie. :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shae

    This book was incredibly negative from the beginning. I was looking for some uplifting thoughts from successful women, things to keep me from getting bogged down in the details. This books immediately starts with all of the reasons the deck is stacked against women. Those things aren't wrong, and it's probably good to know about them, but it was seriously depressing, which I think was the opposite effect the author was going for. I quit about halfway through when the depressing pattern kept up. This book was incredibly negative from the beginning. I was looking for some uplifting thoughts from successful women, things to keep me from getting bogged down in the details. This books immediately starts with all of the reasons the deck is stacked against women. Those things aren't wrong, and it's probably good to know about them, but it was seriously depressing, which I think was the opposite effect the author was going for. I quit about halfway through when the depressing pattern kept up.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna Eilertsen

    I am a woman pursuing a PhD degree in computer science. I have encountered many of the problems in this book without even realising: differences in communication styles, imposter syndrome, and the Catch-22 where being a woman means that if you keep quiet you are ignored and if you speak up you are unpleasant and bossy. This was such an eye opener for me and helped me recognize and alter patterns in how I communicate. I have gifted it to many other female friends in the field as well, who have ha I am a woman pursuing a PhD degree in computer science. I have encountered many of the problems in this book without even realising: differences in communication styles, imposter syndrome, and the Catch-22 where being a woman means that if you keep quiet you are ignored and if you speak up you are unpleasant and bossy. This was such an eye opener for me and helped me recognize and alter patterns in how I communicate. I have gifted it to many other female friends in the field as well, who have had similar eye opening experiences from it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Angela Fong

    Like many other reviewers already expressed, the book can be a lot more concise. It does provide many good real-life stories and quotes but they can probably be filtered down (less is more). The strong push for women to trust their talents/abilities and get comfortable with "winging it" isn't exactly the best advice. Sometimes the "undeserved" feeling can be a real career fit issue or even a result of harassment. In those situations, taking more risks and acting more confidently may not be the m Like many other reviewers already expressed, the book can be a lot more concise. It does provide many good real-life stories and quotes but they can probably be filtered down (less is more). The strong push for women to trust their talents/abilities and get comfortable with "winging it" isn't exactly the best advice. Sometimes the "undeserved" feeling can be a real career fit issue or even a result of harassment. In those situations, taking more risks and acting more confidently may not be the most appropriate course of action. Take it with a grain of salt.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    If you have ever thought, "I can't do this" or "I'm not good enough", this book is for you. Valerie Young makes anyone feel like they fit in when they think they are imposters in their lives. I have felt like I was drowning and that I would never succeed because I thought I wasn't the right person for the job. As it turns out, I CAN do this, and I WILL succeed simply because I can. Women, let's use this advice to help each other and raise each other up! If you have ever thought, "I can't do this" or "I'm not good enough", this book is for you. Valerie Young makes anyone feel like they fit in when they think they are imposters in their lives. I have felt like I was drowning and that I would never succeed because I thought I wasn't the right person for the job. As it turns out, I CAN do this, and I WILL succeed simply because I can. Women, let's use this advice to help each other and raise each other up!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Manami

    I think I would have given this higher stars if I hadn't picked it up after going to her workshop. This was a good book, but it almost exactly follows her workshop/speech. I expected the book to have further information. Even the examples were the same. Still, well written in a easy-going voice, and good information :) I think I would have given this higher stars if I hadn't picked it up after going to her workshop. This was a good book, but it almost exactly follows her workshop/speech. I expected the book to have further information. Even the examples were the same. Still, well written in a easy-going voice, and good information :)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This is my second time reading the book, and I find it just as helpful as the first time. The book definitely boosts morale and does a great job letting the reader know that they're not alone. For me, it helped to point out certain weak areas, such as a procrastinator mindset that I wasn't consciously aware of. Overall, it was a good book and I enjoyed reading it. This is my second time reading the book, and I find it just as helpful as the first time. The book definitely boosts morale and does a great job letting the reader know that they're not alone. For me, it helped to point out certain weak areas, such as a procrastinator mindset that I wasn't consciously aware of. Overall, it was a good book and I enjoyed reading it.

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