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The Princessa
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About the Author

Harriet Rubin has worked in publishing for twenty years. In 1989 she founded Currency, where she has published the works of leading executives, economists, management gurus, and CEOs. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and women's magazines. She lives in New York City.

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How can women achieve power? Rubin, founder of Doubleday's imprint Currency, explains the strategies, tactics, and weapons women should use to reach their goals. The main strategy is not to play by the rules but to change the game. Eighteen practical tactics are listed and explained; for example, "reduce the conflict to its bare essentials." Weapons include tears, breasts, and jewels. Rubin's ideas are illustrated using historical figures such as Joan of Arc and Gandhi. She posits that women must go after what they truly want‘if they believe they are invincible, others will believe it as well‘and concludes that peace is the recognition of what cannot be controlled. Unfortunately, Rubin's work is full of simplistic statements and generalizations without clarification or substantiation, e.g., "men are afraid of women." An optional purchase for large self-help collections.‘Janet Clapp, Kingston P.L., Mass.

"Rubin's insights are brilliant in their simplicity and effectiveness...a book sure to be underlined, dog-eared, and re-read for inspiration and aid."
--USA Today

"A beautiful book, full of wisdom."
--Atlanta Business Chronicle

Taking her cue from Machiavelli's The Prince, Rubin, founder and publisher of Doubleday's Currency business books imprint, declares that a woman can get what she wants, on the job or in personal relationships, by becoming a "princessa"‘a commanding presence exuding authority, both as a lover and a fighter, who wins not by copying male tactics of assertiveness and aggression but by drawing on her feminine strengths of wisdom, power-sharing and strategic maneuvering. Hillary Clinton, for example, ran into trouble by fighting like a prince, rather than using such princessa tactics as behaving "as if your enemy is your ally," or becoming "a woman who combines opposites." The advice here makes sense, although Rubin's handbook can be repetitive or can verge on self-parody: "Inanna, a Sumerian princess, was a princessa who became an expert at besting. If she were alive today, she would be the entrepreneur who wants a piece of the action," we are told. The role models provided include Russian "poet and warrior" Anna Akhmatova, George Eliot, Ayn Rand, Rosa Parks and French resister Magda Trocme, who sheltered Jewish refugees from the Nazis. Rubin occasionally falls back on clichés, but given her position in the corporate world, which provides testimony for the efficacy of the techniques she explicates here, women climbing the corporate ladder would do well to heed her guidance. (Apr.)

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