Books: Forging Career Success

By Amy Huismann
November 1, 2019

In Earning It, Joanne Lublin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor formerly at The Wall Street Journal, interviews 52 top female executives and leaders who share their personal narratives of sexism, microaggression, and hurdles they faced on their rise to the top of their respective professions. But this isn’t a collection of women vs. men stories.



Instead, you’ll get valuable pointers about how to deal with difficult business scenarios and overcome challenges that may threaten to undercut your professional responsibilities. The author also writes about how to know “when to push and when to pivot,” as well as the importance of “being respected rather than being liked” and how to handle trade-offs between motherhood and career development.


Lublin walks the reader through the obstacles that women have encountered and the improvements that stemmed from the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She goes on to say that while there has been significant progress since the 1940s, the improvements have been “painfully slow,” particularly in the technology industry. Lublin argues that counteracting women’s departure from the workforce and pay inequality isn’t just about “leaning in”—a reference to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s popular book on female empowerment.


The book is organized along the lines of a typical career path: getting in the door, creating your own opportunities, negotiating pay, getting ahead, achieving work-life balance, managing a team, and getting a seat on the board or management committee. Each chapter contains Lublin’s own stories and those of women she interviewed, recounting how they navigated each of these areas. It ends with tips that sum up and reinforce the lessons learned.


This is an engaging and motivating book that will inspire all those who are still growing in their career and want to know what it takes to get into the C-suite. If you have dreams of earning a top spot at a company, then this book is likely to be worthwhile to you, as it highlights issues with which all professionals may struggle, such as bad bosses, resentful peers, and self-doubt. Earning It provides valuable leadership and career-development lessons than anyone can apply.


Amy Huismann, CMA, is a controller at Richwood Industries and a member of IMA’s Grand Rapids Chapter. You can contact Amy at arhuismann@gmail.com.
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