Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)
By Cathie Black
Published by Crown Publishing Group, 2007

Reviewed by Gretchen Monahan, CEO, President and Coach, Gretta Enterprises (consists of three Boston-area, full-service Grettacole salons and spas, the GSpa and Grettaluxe fashion boutique)

What is the book about?

“The book captivatingly details how to successfully navigate the challenges of the workplace and demands of personal life from a woman who has done just that, heading the Hearst magazine empire. This must-read career guide gives readers advice on various business situations from how to land the job to securing a promotion, and more. No matter where you are on the executive ladder, this is a must-read.”

What was the biggest takeaway message for you?

“Fact-checking. No matter what you’re doing, always double-check your work. From proof reading all of your documents to spelling someone’s name correctly, the smallest mistake can make a bad impression. Be sure you’ve covered all your bases. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, or what position you hold at the company, making sure you’ve covered your ground is essential. It was so enlightening to see how Cathie managed to balance her personal and professional life. She never compromised one for the other and I remind myself everyday how important that is to remember.”

What idea did you implement into your business and/or life?

“This book helped me relax and go with the flow more. I’ve realized I can’t force my personal and professional fate, I have to let them evolve. Thanks to this book, I know that if I continue to love what I do, opportunities are bound to come my way. So far, so good.”

Why would you recommend this book to other owners or your staff?

“The author’s personal stories make the book an entertaining read. Unlike other business books, the author’s core lessons are discernable and uplifting. She puts difficult business situations into understandable terms. Her voice and actions are motivating and sends home the message that if she can do it, you can do it.”