Exposure

Exposure is the story of how Michael Woodford, physician President of the Japanese corporation Olympus, exposed a massive financial fraud.

“Brace yourself … Woodford tells his tale like a thriller” announces one of the quotes on the front of the book. And he does. But you know what? Just because you tell it like a thriller doesn’t make it thrilling. In fact if you write a whole book at the same pitch, which is exactly what Michael Woodford does, then the thrilling bits get lost. Do you know what I mean? It’s like if you’re at a seminar and the presenter talks at exactly the same level throughout it’s really boring, but if they vary their tone it holds your attention much more.

OK, I did find the story interesting. It’s a whole new world to me and not the sort of book I would normally read, so I picked it up with relish. He obviously did quite a major thing and you have to have admiration for someone who was brave enough to do the right thing despite what they had to lose. But I would find him much more admirable if he didn’t repeatedly tell me how fantastic he was.

What I did really like was the ‘Intermission’ chapter where he explained a bit about his background and upbringing. That was an interesting bit of detail which did make him come across as more human. Unfortunately, the description of how his wife cried down the phone when he broke the news to her that he’d accepted the position of President left a bad taste in my mouth – I couldn’t believe that he made such a life-changing decision without discussing it with his family first.

Unfortunately, Woodford ends up coming across as completely self-obsessed and what could have been a very interesting book just completely lost its impact for me. In fact I ended up finding it pretty irritating. Here’s what I think:

I wish my review could be more positive. Unfortunately I feel that the book doesn’t do the story justice.

Buy “Exposure: From President to Whistleblower at Olympus: Inside the Olympus Scandal: How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower” from Amazon >

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Inspiring Women: how real women succeed in business

Inspiring Women: How Real Women Succeed in Business by Michelle RosenbergI’ve found myself having an interesting love/hate relationship with Inspiring Women: 25 Top Female Entrepreneurs Reveal How Real Women Succeed in Business by Michelle Rosenberg. It was on my Amazon wishlist so my brother bought me a copy for Christmas (thanks bro!). It’s a series of profiles of women behind successful businesses, search talking about what they’ve achieved and how they have done it. I was keen to read it because I don’t know much about the actual people behind businesses and thought it might help me choose a role model/something to aspire to, particularly with it being specifically about women and me being a woman and all.

However, what I’m not and have no plans to be is a mother and what this book is screaming at me is that to be a ‘real woman succeeding in business’ I have to have the added challenge of raising a family and spending enough time with the kids etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m full of admiration for women who do manage to do both, but that’s just not who I am. I find it hard enough getting a decent work/life balance as it is! But, my idea of reading about how women have succeeded in business is more about learning about their experiences running the business, not the children bit.

Overall I did find the book very interesting but I found the focus on being a mother increasingly frustrating and at some points (which I quickly talked myself out of) began to feel inadequate for my lack of offspring. Does everyone have to be introduced as ‘blah, mother of three’ – if it was a book about men in business that wouldn’t happen. It seemed that even the types of businesses covered were fluffy women-friendly ones – maternity clothes, baby food/toiletries, fashion, secretarial. Let’s face it I obviously don’t fit into the target audience for the book – if I was a mother thinking of setting up a business I’m sure I would find the book incredibly inspiring.

How about a book about women succeeding in male-dominated industries … like web design for example? They can be women with or without children, I don’t mind, just don’t make it all about the motherhood.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy “Inspiring Women” from Amazon >

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