Review: I Shouldn't Be Telling You This

I Shouldn't Be Telling You This

by Kate White

Reviewed by Judith Reveal | Released: September 18, 2012

Publisher: Harper Business (368 pages)

“I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This packs a powerful punch: Ms. White covers every possible topic that the up-and-coming female executive will need to tuck into her Prada portfolio.”

Kate White, author of I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, has written an engaging book chock full of solid tips for the woman who is embarking on her career. 

Although the lion’s share of its appeal is for the younger woman just entering the working world—ready to carve out a name for herself in stone—Ms. White discusses concepts that appeal to the middle-aged woman who might already be there, but needs a boost in her approach to her career.

Divided into three parts, Ms. White emphasizes success: How to Get It; How to Go Big With It; and How to Savor It. Her own experiences in various editorial positions paid off in her strong organizational approach to laying out the guts of this book. 

In Part I: How to Get It, Ms. White expresses the importance of knowing what the “gutsy girl” wants; developing the self-confidence to pursue it; and defining what needs to be done from the initial interview to maintaining a strong profile as she establishes her reputation. 

A personal fave chapter in Part I is titled: How to Use Bitch Envy to Your Advantage. This is a good example of what a woman should expect of herself as she examines her goals and working relationships going forward.

In Part II: How to Go Big With It, Ms. White moves the reader into handling the success that the career woman has now achieved. She talks about branding, being the boss, impressions, and sometimes breaking the rules. Lots to choose from in Part II, but the chapter on People Principles: Because Now You Really, Really Need Them is of particular value as it discusses the role of the boss in dealing with coworkers on all levels. She outlines 18 principles—each with its own value relative to the situation presented. 

Part III: How to Solve It” takes us into a variety of environments of the successful woman, and explains the importance of not only success in the corner office, but also success in love, marriage, relationships, and children. An interesting chapter is right up front in which Ms. White offers The Bliss Quiz. This quiz gives insight into assessing oneself to determine one’s stress level. 

One of the best facets of this book is that chapters can be read out of order based on need-to-know topics. Her chapters are short and snappy, and her discussion techniques—using of humor, slang, personal experience, and relevant anecdotes—make this a quick read. Her language is down-to-earth, and some might find her approach offensive—if that’s the case, those individuals should move on because they do not belong in the world in which Ms. White lives, works, and succeeds. 

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This packs a powerful punch: Ms. White covers every possible topic that the up-and-coming female executive will need to tuck into her Prada portfolio. This book should be on every career-minded woman’s bookshelf dog-eared and well read.

This book review was prepared for the New York Journal of Books and is reprinted with their permission. Please visit their website: for a complete listing of book reviews.

Reviewer: Judy Reveal lives in Maryland. She is the author of Around Greensboro and the Lindsey Gale Mystery series including Cheating Death, The Music Room, A House to Kill For, and historical fiction (2013) The Brownstone.

© Roy Bartels 2012