Book Review plus Giveaway: ‘Leading Women’ by Nancy D. O’Reilly

Leading Women Nancy D. O'Reilly

*Update: The winner of this giveaway is May Li! (Email sent)

This book ‘Leading Women’ begins with a bold statement on page 3 of the introduction. The author (or shall I say, compiler) acknowledges Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’ as a bestseller – “sold more than 150,000 copies in its first week” – but goes on to say that “Although Sheryl’s book is inspiring, it offers few specific tools. That is where this book comes in.”

Let’s just say it was a jaw-dropping moment for me. And if you don’t already know, Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook.

Leading Women

The author, Nancy D. O’Reilly, compiled 19 essays from other “influential women” and calls this her book – ‘Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life’.

And this book ends before you expect it to, as pages 195 to 254 have just the profiles of the contributing writers, additional resources and an index. That’s 23% of the book allocated to things which the average reader will not be interested in reading – at least, I wasn’t.

And about that bold claim by the author that this book will work where Sheryl Sandberg’s has (apparently) failed? I DID derive quite a few nuggets of wisdom from this book, so I cannot say that gutsy author has over-promised and under-delivered.

It’s kind of like the National Achievers Congress (NAC) in Singapore; the speakers give you just-enough information for you to want to find out more, but… you’ll wish they’d just given you what you wanted. For instance, on page 65 of this book, bestselling author Marci Shimoff writes about the 14 ‘keys’ for experiencing Unconditional Love she has discovered in the course of her research for her book ‘ Love For No Reason’ but only shares 3 of them in this book; a pretty-obvious hint to go buy her book. 😀


[image credit:]

Still, if you get just ONE nugget of wisdom from a book, it is already a good book. If the book is life-changing, it’s a great book. This particular book is a good book. And here are 6 of the key takeaways I’ve gotten from reading it:

1) [From Lois Phillips: pg 29 to 34] Four empowering strategies to increase your self-confidence when speaking before an audience:

  • Flaunt Your Track Record – let them “leave with your elevator speech at the tip of their tongue”. Also, “take control by preparing and providing the moderator with a Speaker Introduction cheat sheet” and if there is a printed program, “provide a written list of specific successes that reinforce your expertise, and e-mail it to the person preparing it.”
  • Share the Stage – “extend your reach by adding layers of voices to your presentation by including respected colleagues or experts, board members, or partners.”
  • Learn from Outspoken Women Who Can Take the Heat – examples are Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. “Take a stand, hold your ground, and never apologize for who you are and what you believe.”
  • Connect with Your Audience – include your personal narratives.


2) [From Claire Damken Brown: pg 39 to 44] How to manage interruptions, exercise the art of the brief response and to prevent idea theft.

I agree with the finding on pg 40: “Men interrupt women more than women interrupt men” (when speaking in a group comprising men and women).

A woman can say “Just a second”, “I’m not quite done yet”, “I’ll be with you in a moment”, “One minute while I finish”, “I’ll continue now without interruptions”, “Hold that thought”, etc.

(Want to find out more about managing interruptions or preventing idea theft? Buy the book, or try to win a copy in the giveaway below *wink*) 


3) From Marci Shimoff [pg 66] Practice Self-Compassion

Throughout the day, ask yourself, “What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?” or “What’s the most loving way I can be with myself right now?”

Marci Shimoff

[Marci Shimoff – image credit:]


4) From Marcia Reynolds (pg 101) Ask yourself:

What is my highest potential? I might be good at what I am doing, but am I doing my best work with the skills, gifts, and talents I possess?


5) From Janet Rose Wojtalik: Seven Keys to Unlocking Female Leadership

If you have a daughter, I highly recommend that you read this chapter!

The seven keys include: Branding, Independence, Thinking, Learning, Authentic Beauty, Education and Awareness.


6) From Aurea McGarry (pg 191)

(When crises happen) I do not give any thought or any time to “What if I can’t? What if I fail?” I only give my attention to “I have to try.” I always pray before I speak, “Give me the words to speak today that the people need to hear, even if it changes just one life.”

~ Giveaway ~

Leading Women

This book ‘Leading Women’ is available in bookstores for S$24.25 before GST. To win a copy, leave a comment on this blogpost and tell me why you want to win/read this book! 😀


6 thoughts on “Book Review plus Giveaway: ‘Leading Women’ by Nancy D. O’Reilly

  1. For the ‘leading woman’ in my lives, my wife, who is always learning to become a better leader herself, so that she can help her staff achieve their maximum potential.

  2. I would love to win this book as it really shows us or teach us how to be a successful woman! (; and i wan to open my business next time!

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