• Machiavelli for Women

  • Defend Your Worth, Grow Your Ambition, and Win the Workplace
  • By: Stacey Vanek Smith
  • Narrated by: Stacey Vanek Smith
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (292 ratings)

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Machiavelli for Women

By: Stacey Vanek Smith
Narrated by: Stacey Vanek Smith
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Publisher's Summary

2022 BUSINESS/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AUDIE AWARD WINNER!

From the NPR host of The Indicator and correspondent for Planet Money comes an “accessible, funny, clear-eyed, and practical” (Sarah Knight, New York Times bestselling author) guide for how women can apply the principles of 16th-century philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli to their work lives and finally shatter the glass ceiling—perfect for fans of Feminist Fight Club, Lean In, and Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.

Women have been making strides towards equality for decades, or so we’re often told. They’ve been increasingly entering male-dominated areas of the workforce and consistently surpassing their male peers in grades, university attendance, and degrees. They’ve recently stormed the political arena with a vengeance. But despite all of this, the payoff is—quite literally—not there: the gender pay gap has held steady at about 20% since 2000. And the number of female CEOs for Fortune 500 companies has actually been declining.

So why, in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, is the glass ceiling still holding strong? And how can we shatter it for once and for all? Stacy Vanek Smith’s advice: ask Machiavelli “with this delicious look at what we have to gain by examining our relationship to power” (Sally Helgesen, New York Times bestselling author).

Using The Prince as a guide and with charm and wit, Smith applies Renaissance politics to the 21st century, and demonstrates how women can take and maintain power in careers where they have long been cast as second-best. “Machiavelli For Women is the ultimate battle guide for our times. Brimming with hard-boiled strategies, laced with wit, it’s a must-read for every woman ready to wield power unapologetically” (Claire Shipman, coauthor of The Confidence Code).

©2021 Stacey Vanek Smith. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved

What listeners say about Machiavelli for Women

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Hard lessons served with wit, warmth and hope

I first became a fan of Stacey Vanek Smith when she was a reporter for Planet Money. With a degree in economics, I’m painfully aware that economics is not always riveting, but Ms. Vanek Smith brought life and excitement to the dismal science like I’ve never heard before. Whether it’s following the production of a T-shirt from the cotton fields to finished product, or oil or toxic assets, Stacey Vanek Smith makes economics exciting. More importantly she shows how economics is really about people.

Now Stacey has produced her most important work yet - a careful and thorough explanation of the discrimination and hurdles working women face through the voices of women who have experienced and overcame them. Along with this, she casts a new light on Machiavelli, the ultimate heartless manipulator. Or maybe not so heartless.

Machiavelli, as the chief diplomat of Florence, Italy, was the consummate poker player though dealt a terrible hand. When his winning streak came to an abrupt end, he poured his diplomatic lessons learned into a treatise addressed to Florence’s Medici conqueror-The Prince.

Ms. Vanek Smith applies Machiavelli’s wisdom to the modern problems facing women in the workplace with her well honed talent for wisdom, wit, optimism and humility. The result is a book that makes women facing workplace discrimination or harassment, basically all working women, feel less alone and better equipped to get their just due in the world of workplace.

Why would I, a white man over 60, care about a book on workplace discrimination and advice? Simple. I have two daughters. I have an awesome sister who experienced pay discrimination. I manage women in my job and have reported to women for over twenty years. The discrimination needs to stop so we can all be better and prosper together. Finally, well, Stacey Vanek Smith. She’s just great. Read the book or listen to the audiobook. You will learn and enjoy it.

6 people found this helpful

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Tough truths I’d rather know now (or, a DIY guide to building your own Trojan horse)

As a young woman in the workplace this books rings painfully true. As much as I appreciated the validating stories and examples of gender discrimination, it still took me a bit to come to terms with the fact that this IS the world I live in. But! I am grateful for Vanek Smith’s practical guide on how to face down gender discrimination and move forward anyway. At least now I know how to build my Trojan horse.

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Simply great

Solid practical advice to help women excel while still being able to be authentically themselves. Breath of fresh air — especially if you’ve read all the books that advice women need to act like men in order to get anywhere. This book focuses on how women can still be women while also being confident and asking for what they want.

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Every woman should read this book

Brilliant book! I related to so many of the experiences of women and loved the practical advice. This is the type of book you want to listen to again and again until it’s second nature to react from a position of strength instead of traditional female weakness. Stacy is a talented writer and reads her book beautifully. I’ve brought several copies of this book and plan on sharing it with my female friends and sending copies as anonymous Christmas presents to former male bosses and supervisors who have been roadblocks to me in my career in the hope they’ll read it and have an awakening and stop sabotaging the women who come after me. I highly recommend this book it’s one of the smartest things I’ve read in years. Thank you Stacy please write more! 😀

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  • KC
  • 07-23-22

Essential for your career

Wow. I never write reviews and felt this was the first book that warranted the effort.

I bought this book but kept putting it off because I was tired of ‘work books’. I began the book and I was immediately hooked. The observations and research really resonate with my own experiences and are clearly presented with actionable steps. Some of the suggestions have changed my thinking and my outlook. I am 20+ years in my career and I wish I would have discovered this book earlier. Nevertheless as I approach the next chapters in my working career the advice here is invaluable. I highly recommend.

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Compelling: now I know what that word means


This book was practical and unapologetic. I was in awe of the author’s use of gender expression as a means to an end. Is it fair? Nah. But it works and I’ve used it as well.
I especially liked the use of time of others as a deterrent for behaviors. I’ve used this extensively in my own professional life and there’s something nice about knowing others do this.

I would like to see an update in a few years. Specifically, I’d like to dive deeper into Machiavellian tactics for managing your life.

As it is, I planned on listening to this on a trip and I couldn’t stop listening…It drew me in.

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Wish I had this 20 Years Ago

Well written and so entertaining. Gems throughout. This works on so many levels. Great for girls and women.

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Great book, enjoyable narration

I really loved the idea, the applicable suggestions and the inspiration from Machiavelli that the author referenced. Thanks for this incredible book

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Great book for everyone!

Stacey’s voice throughout the audiobook makes it a super enjoyable listen, plus she has really good advice for both woman and man, being a manager that works with woman constantly, helped me identify some stuff I can definitely do better.

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Great Info

Not really an auditory reader but had a couple of book challenges with prompts to listen to an audio book.

I wanted to make sure it was a good one and one I could listen to during a long road trip .

I couldn't have picked a better book to listen to- I learned so much and have a lot of takeaways to put into practice in my own professional career. The format and examples flowed really well- even in audio format.

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  • At this for too long.
  • 07-16-22

Don’t CIS me!

When anyone, especially a woman writing about discrimination, starts talking about “cis gender” you’ve lost me, and any credibility otherwise accrued.
Nothing is achieved by monstering adult human females for a few woke brownie points.

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  • Shelly
  • 06-15-22

Every woman needs to read this.

I wish this book was around when I was starting out in the world of work twenty years ago.

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  • Diana
  • 06-06-22

One should read this book before graduate

If you want to eliminate discrimination at work, this is for you. I definitely will read this again whenever I face conflict with coworkers.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-21

Amazing! Stacey never disappoints.

This was everything I expected from Stacey Vanek Smith and more. She is a great storyteller. The book is inspiring, but realistic, intelectual but practical, funny but serious. I loved it so much.

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  • Irene
  • 11-16-21

Surprisingly Good

You wouldn’t expect this from the title but this a gem and great take on a historic book with a modern day take specifically for women ! Absolutely loved it and easy to implement!