REVIEW || How Remarkable Women Lead by J. Barsh and S. Cranston 


Hello Royalty.

How’s your week going? I know I promised this post was going to come on Wednesday and I sincerely apologize that it is a day late.

To the review,

Publisher: Crown Business

Pages: 355

Format: Hardcover

Forbes could not be more right when describing this book as, “full of compelling real-life narratives and useful insights for those seeking to get out into the bustling, confusing, irreverent,  and potentially rewarding life of the twenty-first century .”


Barsh and Cranston have done a most excellent job putting this together.  The book is sectioned into five parts – each part explaining which steps to take on becoming remarkable.  There are twenty five chapters,  each beginning with a quote and each dwelling on a remarkable leader – her ups, her downs and her strive and her thrive.

Part One: MEANING 

This part dwelt on having a deep sense of meaning attached to whatever purpose you are trying to achieve.  Chapter One opens up with the story of Amina Susannah Agbaje, who started her own law firm to fulfil a childhood dream. Although meaning does not come so early for everyone like Amina, I realized it is the crux of an ever-progressing life and career. This part also encourages us to draw on our core strengths, to have a sense of purpose and fulfilment and to never stop dreaming. One of my favorite quotes from the part says,

To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun? – Katherine Graham,  first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.


You know that ah-ha moment when your thoughts help you to get things altogther? In this book, we are encouraged to frame life and situations positively.

There was a scenario on page 69, it goes like this :

Your boss calls you in for an unexpected meeting. When you enter the room, you observe two other executives with her. They immediately stop talking and hastily put away their papers. They avoid looking at you as they leave. Your boss looks down at some papers and then back up at you. She doesn’t ask you to sit.

What is your immediate reaction – your gut feeling? When discussing this scenario with a group of women, we singled out two who shared their top of mind reactions. “Oh, I must have done something terrible,” the first woman blurted out. “I must be in danger of losing my job. I’m feeling a bit ill!” We turned to the second woman, who was smiling. “They were probably finishing up some other business,” she said. “Who knows? I’ll ask the boss what’s going on!” 

That explained positive framing to me in crystal clear terms! Do not turn the tables on yourself. View situations clearly and always avoid the downward spiral.


You must have heard it over and again, just like I have – you cannot do it alone! When I read the chapters in this part, I understood relationships and connections in a whole new light.  I found myself writing names and resolving to value my relationships the more. You see that inclusiveness and belonging? It’s everything! Denise Incandela, president of Direct Saks says, “What I didn’t realize is that I needed to build relationships and that I was never going to succeed on my own” On page 144, we are told to

“Remember that reciprocity is the essence of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Reciprocity is what Jonathan Hadit calls the “glue that holds societies together,”.


I’m talking to all the ‘shy’ people in the house or the ‘I’m-new-here-let-me-just-shut-it’ kind of people. We can all be that way sometimes. But you know what my book says? You can learn to speak up for what you want, too! Careers and lives are built on decisions that involve risk. You have a voice – use it!  No one is asking you to fight others with your opinions, but when it comes to things which really matter and things which affect you, learn to speak up!

I’ll stop there.


When you have meaning and you can analyse situations clearly and positively, plus great people in your life and the understanding that you have a voice which is allowed to roll over the earth, then you bet your energy tank is naturally filled to the brim. I really enjoyed reading Chapter 24 in this part about the “experience of flow” – that natural high when time passes unnoticed and work seems effortless. I wrote this review in that kind of flow. Sure, flow can expire…but knowing what keeps you up and constantly tapping into that will keep your fire on!

BTW, Mihály Csikszentmihályi, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, identifies five conditions for flow on page 267:

  1. Clear and attainable goals
  2. Strong concentration on a focused topic
  3. Intrinsic motivation
  4. Balance of the challenge with your ability
  5. Immediate feedback

Yes! You read through to this point. Thank you! ? I’m sorry it was pretty longer than usual posts but I hope you learned a thing or two. For every woman desiring to excel in life and career, this book is a must read. And amazingly, the men can read it too!

About the Authors

Source: Penguin Random House

Joanna Barsh is a senior partner at McKinsey and company and the head of the Centered leadership Project whose research has brought about this book.




Source :LinkedIn

Susie Cranston is an Executive Vice President focused on strategic planning for First Republic  Private Wealth Management.





Thank you for your time!

Goodbye Royalty,

With Overflowing Love,

Alexandra Zion.

About the author
Christocentric. Academic. Writer. Poet


  1. I love the fourth part. I’ve always hidden under the ”I’m the shy girl” kinda thing but having been here, I’m gonna talk myself into voicing out again.

    1. Hello Kintola! I’m glad you’re planning to talk yourself into voicing out again! It might not be easy at first, but it is definitely worth the try and you’ll be just fine ☺

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