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Book Review: Basic Black by Cathie Black

Book Title: Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)
Author: Cathie Black
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recently, I listened to the audiobook version of Basic Black during my work commute. Basic Black shares the story of Cathie Black, who is known as the media's world guru.  Cathie Black is the president of Hearst Magazines, and she uses her memoir to emphasize how to be successful in career and life by sharing her lessons.  Her humble beginnings, her determination to be successful, and her perseverance inspire me.

I like Basic Black because of Cathie's honesty.  She does not paint a picture of her life being a bed of roses.  She not only shares her successes, but she includes her mistakes.  She desires for the reader to learn from her mistakes or her exposure to the mistakes of others.  Laced with humor and wisdom, Basic Black functions as a manual to maneuver through life and work.

The beginning of the book sets the tone for it.  Cathie explains how she was caught using company time and resources to copy her resume.  She forgot to remove the original copy from the copier.  The senior executive was the person, who informed her about this mistake.  I am sure that she probably could have died, but Cathie used this as a learning experience.  I especially liked the story of getting Oprah to create a magazine with Hearst.  Through the story, I gained insight about being adequately prepared and knowing the audience.

Additionally, Basic Black identifies the importance of being driven, having passion, choosing risks, and developing as a leader.  Through her book, Cathie gives advice that people, who do not have a mentor, can benefit.  The advice that she gives is not a one size fits all, but she shares her lessons to ensure that you can understand what you could learn from her experiences and mistakes.

I would recommend Basic Black to entrepreneurs, career changers, and anyone interested in being inspired or motivated in their current jobs. I am glad that I read this book for the second time.


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