Synopses & Reviews
Showing women how to use their intrinsic skills--sensitivity, emotional depth, and selflessness--to achieve success, Rubin provides the prescription for changing the rules, empowering women to use and be recognized for these inherent strengths.
About the Author
Harriet Rubin has worked in publishing for twenty years. In 1989 she founded Currency, where she has published the works of leading executives, economists, management gurus, and CEOs. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and women's magazines. She lives in New York City.
Reading Group Guide
1. Are princessas born extraordinary? Or do they become that way because of physical and psychological separation from their families?
2. In her discussion of strategy, Machiavella says that "every act contains an enemy's entire strategy." Examine highly publicized battles in light of such insight--perhaps Hillary Rodham Clinton's battle for national healthcare, Marcia Clark's battle to prove O.J. Simpson's guilt, or Anita Hill's battle to keep Justice Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court. How does Machiavella's insight speak to these cases?
3. What can men and women do to make their young daughters princessas-in-training? Why does "prince" have positive connotations while "princess" has negative senses?
4. Do you agree with Machiavella that women have helped erect the glass ceiling that keeps them down, mistaking survival for success?
5. Machiavella speaks of "public love." Discuss its connection to power.
6. Discuss the difference between removing bad things from life and adding good things to it.
7. Think of the things you want. Are they, as Machiavella says, "the things you need"?
8. How does Machiavella's concept of "power anorexia" apply to your life or that of any women you know?
9. Discuss the ways in which sureness of judgment is a weakness.
10. Where's the difference between accepting the victim's role and using openness and vulnerability as a strength? Is there a danger of lapsing into a victim role when employing these tactics?
11. Machiavella advocated knowing and using your subtle weapons to turn the war in your favor. On the physical side these include clothes, hair, makeup, and tears. How have you used these in the past? Did it work? How might you use them now?
12. Have you ever cried in the office? Purposefully? Why? What was the result? Would you do it again?
13. Discuss the ways in which the author uses princessa strategies, tactics, and subtle weapons to draw you in. Did you end up agreeing with her about issues on which you disagreed in the beginning?
14. Machiavella states that men crave disempowerment and are afraid of women. Do you see this in your relationship with a boss, partner, or husband?
15. Under what conditions will princessas dominate princes? When will the opposite hold true?
16. How does Machiavella make her case against the idea or wisdom of women sabotaging women? Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of sabotage?
17. Discuss the idea of peace coming "in the thick of things, not as an aftermath."
18. Compose a joint communique from the field and send it to the author.