Play like a Man, Win like a Woman
by Gail Evans
Broadway Books, 2000, 193 pages, $23.


Everyone knows exactly what the boss means when he or she responds in this way to their latest request, right?

Not necessarily. According to author Gail Evans, "no" is one of a number of words that mean different things to men and women. A woman hears "no" and thinks that's the end of the story; she has suffered a crushing defeat. But a man realizes that in business, "no" means that what you asked for won't materialize at that particular moment; it's just the first step in figuring out how to get to "yes."

Learning the Game

The divergent interpretations of a "no" answer illustrates the main argument of Evans's book: Business is a game, and the rules of the game were written by men. Women are at a disadvantage because they are generally unaware of how the game is meant to be played. To get ahead in business, women need to understand these rules.

In a frank, funny manner, Evans explains the rules of the game, hitting on such points as:

  • The 14 basic rules for success, among them making sure that you ask for what you want, and learning to handle uncertainty the way men do.
  • Why a seven-year plan may actually prevent you from reaching your goals by keeping you from considering spontaneous opportunities that arise.
  • The politics of keeping score of success as you move up the career ladder: Measurements include office size and number of direct reports.
  • Things men can get away with at work but would spell disaster for a woman: yelling, acting rudely, having sex with coworkers, or dressing badly.

While women do not necessarily have to play by these rules, writes Evans, women need to know and understand them so that they can fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. She encourages women to discover their own way to play the game, one that is true to their own natures.

Do men and women really see the business world so differently? We'll let you make that judgment yourself. Either way, Evans offers practical business advice that's worth a look.

Copyright © 2000 Soundview Executive Book Summaries