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The Mona Lisa Stratagem


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About the Author

Harriet Rubin founded the prestigious Doubleday business imprint Currency and she, as its editorial director, published dozens of notable bestsellers. She is the author of the international bestseller The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women. She is on USA Today's editorial board and is a consultant to many media companies. She currently lives in Manhattan.


Though Rubin's latest self-help volume should resonate with working baby boomer women, she clouds her celebration of their maturity with gushing prose. Rubin (The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women) weaves through history, mythology and literature to illustrate that women can realize their true power with age. Her passionate explanation of "how to face the last big enemy: Time and Mortality" plays out as a frantic rush of not always contextualized historical references that range from former Washington Post editor Katharine Graham (she "enabled" rather than governed) and Cicely Saunders (founder of hospice care in England) to Italian queen Catherine de Medici, who asserted herself in widowhood. Ten vague tactics make up the author's "stratagem" for standing up to "Time" and building character. "Master the force of your mysterious smile, because a woman's laughter is more powerful than her tears," Rubin advises in the chapter title for tactic six, about disarming people with humor. Tactic seven, about drawing on one's anger and dealing with enemies, begins with the maxim, "Hate and wait, because one doesn't grow strong on a diet of wimpy burgers." In a culture that fetishizes youth, Rubin makes a welcome but cryptic effort to empower women 45 and older. (May 21) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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