If the management world had a shock jock genre, a book that landed on my desk the other day would be a perfect candidate. “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business: Opening Up the Heavily Guarded Alpha Male Playbook,” by Christopher V. Flett, a “reformed alpha male,” executive coach, and owner of the eponymous (of course) Flett Group, intends to target women readers with lessons about how to get ahead in an environment still dominated by men.
Appropriately, Flett spends eight of the first 10 pages of chapter one writing about himself—he boasts that his teenage lawn mowing business netted him more money in one summer than a lawyer makes in one year. And he bows to gross stereotypes in explaining the types of “masks” women wear (geisha, mother, whore, etc.) when dealing with men.
Flett writes from the point of view that women should change their ways to earn the respect of men obsessed with cars, toys and watches (all of which he addresses in the book) and who refer to “women who are continuously on maternity leave” as “breeders.” He spends almost no space suggesting that these egotistical men should change their ways to learn from women who are better at collaborating or cultivating relationships with clients.
To be frank, I found the book’s braggadocio tone too off-putting to finish it. Perhaps most disturbing of his comments: “Alpha Males absolutely put the glass ceiling in place, but it has been the professional woman who has held it there,” which appears on the preface’s very first page. With comments like that, it seems unlikely many other women—his target readers—will spend much time reading the book, either.
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