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Publisher's Summary

Full of empowering wisdom from one of Silicon Valley's first female African American CEOs, this inspiring leadership book for fans of Dare to Lead and Start with Why offers a blueprint for how to achieve your personal and professional goals, drawn from the author's own compelling story of how she weathered life's difficulties to build massive success.

Shellye Archambeau recounts how she overcame the challenges she faced as a young black woman, wife, and mother, managing her personal and professional responsibilities while climbing the ranks at IBM and subsequently in her roles as CEO. Through the busts and booms of Silicon Valley in the early 2000s, this bold and inspiring book details the risks she took and the strategies she engaged to steer her family, her career, and her company MetricStream toward success.

Through her journey, Shellye discovered that ambition alone is not enough to achieve success. Here, she shares the practical strategies, tools, and approaches readers can employ right now, including concrete steps to most effectively: 

  • Dismantle impostor syndrome
  • Capitalize on the power of planning
  • Take risks
  • Developing financial literacy
  • Build your network
  • Establish your reputation
  • Take charge of your career
  • Integrate work, marriage, parenthood, and self-care

Each chapter lays out key takeaways and actions to increase the odds of achieving your personal and professional goals. With relatable personal stories that ground her advice in the real world and a foreword by leading venture capitalist and New York Times best-selling author Ben Horowitz, Unapologetically Ambitious invites listeners to move beyond the solely supportive roles others expect them to fill, to learn how to carefully tread the thin line between assertive and aggressive, and to give themselves permission to strive for the top. Make no apologies for the height of your ambitions. Shellye Archambeau will show you how.

©2020 Shellye Archambeau (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Shellye has achieved amazing success through a clear strategy of setting goals, making plans, and intelligent risk-taking. In this book, she's now sharing these strategies with us: why to set an ambitious plan and how to achieve it. Highly recommended." (Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn and number one New York Times best-selling author of The Start-Up of You)

"Unapologetically Ambitious is a treasure trove of strategic wisdom and practical tips, brought to life through amazing storytelling that will leave the reader inspired, empowered and appreciative. The book deals with the realities of setbacks, trade-offs and societal norms in an authentic way, while illustrating that strength and success often lie in mindset and the team you choose in life. The closing chapter serves as a master guide to navigating life, providing a penultimate takeaway for any reader early in their journey to put the wisdom and experience of the Archambeau's lessons learned into immediate action!" (Brad D. Smith, executive chairman of Intuit and Nordstrom)

"Shellye Archambeau is one of the most intelligent, hard-working and focused women I have met in my 40+ years of business. I was very pleased to have her join the Verizon board in 2013 and have watched her rise within the board to now head the Corporate Governance Committee. Her experience as an African American women rising through the ranks of both large global businesses and technology startups gives her a unique perspective to share with those entering the business world especially those people of color. Grab a pen a paper as you read this book. It is full of the guidance that will put you on a path to career success." (Lowell McAdam, former CEO of Verizon)

What listeners say about Unapologetically Ambitious

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Incredible

I felt like Shelleye was talking to me. She was so encouraging. I’ll take these lessons with me for life.

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Thank you!

Shelley- thank you so much for sharing your story, I listened to it while walking (of course!). My client and friend, Michael Carter recommend it to me and it really resonated- I got a lot out of it and I can't wait to share some of the lessons with my daughter. I will also definitely be recommending it to my women's networking group.

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If you are a minority with majority aspirations this is for you.

Shellye not only provides a wealth of knowledge sharing her personal experience to many 1st but she is also wildly inspiring and direct. Not the simple “just believe in yourself” kind of PD this book takes you step by step to developing an action plan for your success. Including some immediately applicable advice on how to attract high-level mentors. I wish I had found this sooner. I would make this required reading for high school juniors if I could.

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Loved her stories

I really enjoyed this book. It was very engaging given that she shared so many of her personal stories. I believe this part is what makes the book unique. All of her advise and tips for success are followed by a great story to demonstrate the tip. I highly recommend this book for inspiration and motivation to stay on course with your aspirations.

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A must read for every driven person who wants to build a powerful career and life on their own terms

I am in awe of the inside look of a powerful woman living boldly. I will be reading it again bc it’s that good. If you want to build a life you love - this book is so inspiring and well written. Reading it is like reading a story and not another bland career or leadership book. It’s filled with inspiring stories and strategies for building a career.

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A Must for Every Ambitious Professional

Shellye's story is a compelling one. Going from a shy, often bullied, only black girl in a California school to the CEO of a venture-backed (Kleiner Perkins, no less!) company. It is especially timely because it shows one can still succeed in an unjust system, with careful planning, preparation and being unapologetically ambitious--setting high goals and sharing them with everyone, to garner support. Some of us have been told not to wear our ambitions on our sleeves or that the nail that stands out gets hammered, but Shellye challenges this notion. She brought up her goals frequently with her managers and wasn't afraid to leave situations that were comfortable but unlikely to lead to the next milestone. I liked the story about her assignment in Japan, a highly patriarchal society that only respects people with two key qualities she lacked: maleness and advanced age. In her first presentation to her new team, she did something that seemed obvious to her but that no one else had ever thought of doing: She had the slides translated into Japanese, which got her instant respect and admiration! Shellye credits her experience as an outsider in most past environments, for that insight. Lesson: minorities and women can often see things others do not simply by virtue of being an outsider. If Blockbuster video had been open to Shellye's vision, perhaps the company might still exist today. As the president of Blockbuster online based in Dallas, she negotiated a partnership with Netflix to join forces and own the online movie market. Unfortunately, the board rejected the proposal. Lesson: One can have the right vision but without support you are stuck. Leave, and got to a place where people see the vision (for online commerce). Shellye left for Silicon Valley soon after and has never looked back. I would have liked it if Shellye talked more about how to not come across as abrasive or bossy and rub people the wrong way, while being unapologetically ambitious. I've seen too many people (especially minorities and women) rejected or seen as "angry black men" when they tried to adopt a white male mentor's style! Lastly, Shellye was incredibly lucky in finding a supportive spouse--one who agreed to sacrifice his career and be a stay at home dad, to support Shellye's ambition to become an executive by 30 and CEO by 40. Few men I know would take this deal! Overall a good read and should be a part of every ambitious professional's tool kit.

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For Everyone Who Wants To Succeed In Business

I loved UNAPOLOGETICALLY AMBITIOUS because it does not sugarcoat the road to success. It gives the reader a step by step plan on how to succeed - truly anyone can succeed if they want to. Shellye shares with us her struggles, hard work and triumphs. She is real and open about her life. She also gives us strategies to overcome failure. I wish I had read the wisdom in Shelley's book long ago when I was beginning my career. I recommend this book to all people, especially those early in their careers. It is also AMAZING to read a book about a successful Black woman who rocked it!

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Loved it!

Such a Great book for Anyone but especially Women & Minorities! Thank you so much!! Loved the book and the narration... also seen her present and she rocks it!

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Required Read for Any Woman in Position to Lead

If you were to ask me what is the most practical, transformative, and impactful book that I’ve read this year, I would say it’s Shellye Archambeau’s Unapologetically Ambitious. While I am incredibly grateful for my journey to date, having founded companies in both Canada and the United States, I did it without a blueprint and a handful of mentors. A book like Unapologetically Ambitious would have helped me to reduce my learning curve tremendously. Not just in business, but also in my personal development. The lessons and examples that Archambeau shares with us in her book go beyond the workplace and business. She gives us insights into family life, partnerships, and how to blaze your own trail. This is the book that I should have read 20 years ago, but I’m happy to have read it now. Do you consider yourself to be a driven or an ambitious woman? Whether you’re at the beginning of or mid-career, do yourself a favo(u)r and grab this book for yourself. You will be glad you did.

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Shellye Archambeau drops so many gems!

I love everything about this book! I will be passing this book on to my neiece and nephews so they can strategize their life moves! So amazing!

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  • Johnny
  • 12-02-20

100% inspirational

This book is a great story of Shellye Archambeau and at the same time it is an easy going self-help book. I like how everything seems to be about the author but in reality this book is talking about you (the reader) and how you can implement your personal goals even if those are too ambitious. I am totally suggesting this book and especially for people that doesn't like the self-help book structure as this book has a great story anyway. Thank you Shellye for sharing your life story with us :)

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  • Pammie
  • 10-18-20

Fascinating insight into the world of a successful female leader

This book will have the ability to motivate women at any point in their career. Whilst not all of the story will necessarily be relevant to everyone, there are certainly some real gems that you can take away. I found myself looking back over my career to find the parallels with the story. A key takeaway for me is her approach to mentoring and asking for help.

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  • Ann-Marie
  • 10-15-20

Hugely inspirational

The book is a rare insight from a black woman who’s really made it “all the way up” and her empowering advice and inspirational story sparked something in me. It’s got great practical advice that anyone can take away for their own life and career, regardless of where they are today. Part business book and part memoir - I was pleasantly surprised by how much of her personal life is centered in the story as well as her career. Shellye is incredibly open and honest in the retelling of her life, with the advice we can take from it. Very well read by Shellye herself, I finished it in a flash.