Customer Reviews for

Personal History

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2004

    Personal and a slice of history

    I had been meaning to read this for awhile, and never found the time - glad I finally did. One of the first women to hold a true position of power; and one of the most influential and captivating women in contemporary America Graham tells of making it inspite of and despite considerable odds- including the fact that she was born to wealth, married to a genius suffering from manic- depression, and then publisher/owner of the Washington Post. She was a legendary figure that shows herself as being human all too human, writing of her mistakes, of overcoming, enjoying and learning from obstacles and privileges. The book offers slices of American history from the inside, not only Watergate but also major characters such as Warren Buffet. It chronicles both her personal and then professional life at the Washington Post- recounting history (hers, the Wposts' and the nations') from her point of view. It tells of the need to keep on moving forward, even when in doubt of the path to take, of making a tough call and sticking to it- perserverance with elegance. Not only a fascinating history of the Washington Post from the inside but also an incredible odessey of personal growth and empowerment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2005

    A Compelling Novel

    Katharine Graham not only tells a complete story of her life but also of the Washington that she lived in.She doesnt shy away from any of her struggles or painful moments.I liked the way she shared her life from the time she was a child, to her marriage, to old age. This creates a good read but it can get a little lengthy. Other than that it is a powerful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2001

    Resiliency and Emotional Toughness of the Self-Taught CEO

    Ms. Katharine Graham¿s autobiography explores many dimensions of life that will appeal to readers: lifestyles of the rich and famous with her celebrity and society friends; an inside look at one of America¿s most powerful and famous families in the 20th century; overcoming the personal tragedy of being married to a brilliant, manic-depressive cheater who was nasty to her; a history of the rise of the Washington Post from a minor D.C. paper to the top ranks of international journalism; becoming the head of a family that had been dominated by strong personalities who had put her in a supporting role; seeing the interactions of the press with presidents up close; and learning to be a female publisher and CEO on the job with almost no prior experience. If you are like me, you will find the sections of the book about her growing up as Andre Meyer¿s daughter, Watergate, the strike with the pressman¿s union at the Post, and her relationship with Warren Buffett to be the most interesting parts of the book. If, like me, you decide that you find Ms. Graham appealing, it will probably be because of her willingness to do the right thing, even when very painful and dangerous to her, and her loyalty to others . . . even when that loyalty may not have been earned. Even to her enemies, she held out olive branches to keep lines of communication open . . . which were often rejected. Although the book is candid about her own failings (having been too sheltered as a child and wife, making lots of mistakes in picking and working with people at the Washington Post Company, and being too accepting of male chauvinism) and family members who are deceased (especially her father, mother, and husband), she pulls back from any significant observations about many of her friends and acquaintances who are still living. You will see these people primarily from the perspective of having been lunch and dinner companions and guests. A curtain of privacy is also pulled over long sections of her life. For example, you will find out the names of the people and the yacht that she disappeared on for several weeks, but nothing about what occurred. On the other hand, CEO autobiographies usually toot the horn of the CEO. The closest this one comes to tooting is quoting Warren Buffett in pointing out that Washington Post Company stock grew more than double the rate of any other similar company during the time when she was CEO. Actually, even that observation is modest. As measured by stock-price performance, Ms. Graham is one of the great CEOs of the 20th century. She has also left behind a legacy of commitment to a free press from the Pentagon Papers publication and the Watergate exposures that will stand as a beacon for future publishers. In either case, she could have lost the bulk of her wealth and influence had things turned out differently. Most CEOs would be reluctant to take those kinds of risks in the public interest. Certainly, there was no financial windfall to taking these courses. It was simply the right thing to do. Thank you, Ms. Graham! Have you ever been in a situation where you were supposed to know how to do something, but had no clue? Throughout her business career, Ms. Graham was placed in that awkward situation. Towards the end of the book, she reveals that she wished that she had attended Harvard Business School. Throughout her business career, Ms. Graham reveals here feeling like a fraud and not knowing what questions to ask. But in business, it¿s usually more important what you do than what you know. And she kept moving forward until she found a method that worked. That kind of perseverance takes great moral courage, and I was impressed to realize just how much more difficult her accomplishments were to achieve than they seemed to outsiders. Where should you be taking a more active role in choosing your life¿s direction? Where should you be more understanding of friends and family members? Whe

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2001

    Really incredible book!

    I just finished Personal History and really enjoyed it. Katharine Graham must have been an incredible woman. She led a fascinating life. In her book, she reflects on her life in an incredibly personal way that is both insightful and inspiring. I rarely find people who I feel I can truly look up to - esp. women in the business world. This book gave me someone I can truly hope to emulate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

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