Ivanka Trump has a new book out Tuesday entitled, “Women Who Work.”
The book, which the first daughter and White House adviser wrote while her father was running for president, reads like a mashup of countless essays and articles written in the past decade aimed at female entrepreneurs.
That isn’t to say all the advice is bad — it’s just that little is new. The book borrows heavily from books like Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston’s “How Remarkable Women Lead,” and backlogs of IvankaTrump.com.
More disappointing for people hoping for a window into what to expect from the Trump administration is a lack of details on Ivanka’s own life and political views. While Trump does reference some of her own experiences, including her efforts to prepare a speech at the Republican National Convention, the book often lapses into generic platitudes of female empowerment that could have been written by anyone.
However, there are a handful of interesting tidbits in the book that help illuminate the powerful first daughter. Here’s what I learned about Ivanka Trump from “Women Who Work.”
According to the book's preface, Trump finished the manuscript before the election's results were announced and wrote the preface in the days before her father's inauguration. As a result, as Trump was writing the book, there was no way she could have predicted that, by the time it was published, she would have quit her job as CEO of Ivanka Trump to work in an official White House role.
'When my father takes office as our nation's forty-fifth president, I will take a formal leave of absence from both The Trump Organisation and my apparel and accessories brand,' Trump wrote. 'On paper this separation is straightforward, but emotionally, this was not an easy decision.'
The book returns repeatedly to Trump's love for entrepreneurship and how important her job is to her -- something she may have toned down had she realised she'd be making a career jump before the book was published. Trump may have also avoided quoting so many vocal critics of her father's political aspirations, if she had realised he would be elected.
In the book's acknowledgements, Trump thanks her children's two nannies, Liza and Xixi, 'for being a part of our extended family and enabling me to do what I do.'
Despite extensive discussion of the need for paid childcare throughout the book, Trump only mentions her own nannies one other time in 'Women Who Work.'
'Some of my best photos of the kids were taken by my nanny during the day (I'm sure in ten years I'll convince myself I took them!)' she wrote.
Trump also thanks Dorothy and Bridget, the nannies who helped raise her and her siblings.
In writing a book that is essentially a 'how-to' guide on being a successful working women, Trump had to show that she wasn't just born with a silver spoon in her mouth -- a point that she reiterates again and again throughout the book.
'Undeniably, one factor in my success has been the doors that my family's name and my privileged upbringing have opened,' Trump writes. 'I'm deeply grateful for all the opportunities afforded to me, but they alone didn't guarantee my success. Curiosity, passion, hard work, and perseverance have enabled me to prove my value to myself and others beyond my surname.'
However, as an anonymous quote that Trump includes in the book states, 'It's not what you know but who you know that makes a difference.'
That, or an editor decided to slip in a quote from the German philosopher.
'Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius,' Trump quotes Nietzsche as saying. 'For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking.'
Other surprising people quoted in the book include feminist author Betty Friedan, anti-Trump novelist Junot Díaz, anti-Trump actress Cynthia Nixon, and 'The Art of War' writer Sun Tzu.
As I neared the end of 'Women Who Work,' I found myself wondering -- is Trump going to acknowledge, just once, the political realities that impact working women in the US?
After encouraging new mothers who don't qualify for maternity leave to 'negotiate' for time off earlier in the book, Trump tidily packed all of her political leanings into one short, four-page chapter -- the last in the 211-page book.
'While I never expected to have this heightened platform -- and stepping into the political fray was daunting -- I recognised both the privilege and the opportunity to use my voice to dramatically advance an important conversation that benefits parents and families nationwide,' she wrote, emphasising the importance of paid family leave.
While Trump notes that her company now offers flexible work schedules and paid leave for new parents, four years ago, she expected women to return to work soon after giving birth, according to a report in The New York Times. In 'Women Who Work,' Trump notes she herself returned to work just a few days after the birth of her daughter, getting on a plane from New York to Miami to clinch a hotel deal for Trump Organisation.
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