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Smart Women: Canadian Entrepreneurs Talk About Making Money, Leadership, Management, and Self-development

by Barbara Thrasher and Madelon Smid

Although women entrepreneurs are establishing businesses at record levels and are primarily responsible for the proliferation of small business today, they continue to be dogged by the disparity between men’s and women’s incomes. Why? According to Barbara Thrasher and Madelon Smid’s Smart Women, women suffer not only from a conflict about money and success, but also from the need to become “whole people” – a balance of body, mind, and spirit.

Thrasher and Smid interviewed 100 women entrepreneurs from across Canada for their self-help book that examines topics along the road to building a profitable business such as planning, hiring, delegation, financial systems, and the old bugbear of balancing family and business. Each chapter has a quiz you can complete in order to rate your quotient in a particular skill.

The premise behind Smart Women is an important one. The average income of female entrepreneurs is a pittance compared to that of their male counterparts. Women just haven’t been able to bridge the profit nexus. Unfortunately, Smart Women is not the tool to solve that gap. The book suffers from a rash of clichés, the worst gobbledygook of the New Age self-help genre, and the superficiality of the quizzes is reminiscent of those that women’s fashion magazines delight in. There are too many references to another banal book – The Princessa – about a female Machiavelli who advocates using tears when all else fails. In short, this book is unfocused, and tries too hard to combine management with new age thinking.

A “whole person” doesn’t want to win a “prince,” for example, and will find her own balance in life – with or without a man. Thrasher and Smid are on a more solid footing with their compilation of interviews with entrepreneurs. Women beginning their own business will be able to glean something of merit from these. But there are far better “how to” and self-analytical books than this available on the market.


Reviewer: Susan Hughes

Publisher: Macmillan Canada


Price: $19.95

Page Count: 272 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 0-7715-7573-4

Released: Sept.

Issue Date: 1998-11

Categories: Politics & Current Affairs