Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)


New York Times Bestseller ... #1 BusinessWeek Bestseller ... Wall Street Journal Bestseller
• Pursue Your Passions
• Take Risks That Are Calculated, Not Crazy
• Achieve “The 360° Life”
• Make Your Life a Grudge-Free Zone
• Orchestrate Your Own Success

The bestselling ...

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Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)

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New York Times Bestseller ... #1 BusinessWeek Bestseller ... Wall Street Journal Bestseller
• Pursue Your Passions
• Take Risks That Are Calculated, Not Crazy
• Achieve “The 360° Life”
• Make Your Life a Grudge-Free Zone
• Orchestrate Your Own Success

The bestselling guide to seizing opportunity in the workplace, from the woman at the pinnacle of the Hearst magazine empire

Every woman dreams of having a wise, funny mentor who understands the challenges she faces. Now, Cathie Black—one of Forbes’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”—offers invaluable lessons that will help you land the job, promotion, or project you’re vying for. You’ll find out how to handle interviews, which rules to break, and why you should make your life a grudge-free zone. Filled with surprisingly candid, personal stories and advice, this is the only career guide you’ll ever need.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Cathie Black doesn't consider herself a workaholic, but you'd never guess that from her accomplishments. As the president of Hearst Magazines, the world's largest publisher of monthly periodicals, she oversees 133 international editions in more than 100 countries. It's no wonder that this happily married mother of two has been dubbed the First Lady of American Magazines and makes perennial appearances on Forbes's "World's 100 Most Powerful Women" list. How does she do it? Basic Black explains how she choreographs what she calls "the 360 degree life," an optimal blend of workplace achievement and personal tranquility. Black draws on personal stories and back-to-basics tips about workplace situations and opportunities. To add insights and brighten the mix, she shares first-person stories from well-connected friends, including Rupert Murdoch, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Francis Ford Coppola, and Harvey Weinstein.
From the Publisher
Basic Black does a great job of telling the story of how Cathie deftly navigated the challenges of the workplace and the media business, while also trying to balance the demands of a busy life. Her practical tips on handling typical workplace situations make this an important read for any woman who wants to become a better colleague, a better leader ... and a better person.”
Meg Whitman, President & CEO, eBay Inc.

"Bravo for Basic Black! After reading this book, I understand more than ever why Cathie Black is the huge success she is today. She’s totally fearless! She shares her triumphs, but perhaps best of all, she shares her mistakes so that we can learn from them. I love her candor. Whether you're starting your career or going full throttle, you will benefit from Cathie's insights into business--and life. Basic Black is a true must-read.
Gayle King, editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine

"I’m a big Cathie Black fan–in part because we both believe that where you come from in no way determines where you can get to. If you think it, you can create it.Cathie’s career is living proof of that and her experiences, both professional and personal, make for fascinating reading. The life lessons in these pages are smart, true, and reassuring, no matter where you are in your career."
Suze Orman, author of Women and Money and The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom

"Cathie Black is exactly the kind of mentor every woman needs: a talented executive at the top of her game willing to tell it like it really is. Imagine having a private lunch with one of the most powerful women in business, and then feast on her wonderful book. Basic Black is among the very best insider accounts of how to succeed as a leader."
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and author of Confidence and America the Principled

"Cathie Black demystifies the workplace with her typical brand of pragmatic insight and engaging humor. Basic Black provides a practical guide to the traits we see demonstrated by our greatest leaders at GE---passion, drive, attitude, risk taking, and the ability to nurture and develop great talent. I had fun reading Basic Black, and thought to myself...This is someone I would like to work for."
Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE

"As every woman needs basic black in her wardrobe, she also needs Basic Black on her bookshelf. This is the perfect handbook on getting ahead while staying true to yourself."
Donna Karan, Designer

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly

Media mogul Black, president of Hearst Magazines (Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper's Bazaarand O), delivers a memoir masquerading as a guide to career and life. Enthusiastic and hard-working, Black was one of the first women to take a major role in American magazine and newspaper publishing. She came to Hearst by way of New York magazine, where she was the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, and USA Today, which she helped build from a small upstart into one of the country's most widely read daily papers. Though she positions herself as a role model for professional women, her advice is slim and scattershot. The book mainly consists of anecdotes from her working life and fawning praise for Al Neuharth, retired chairman and CEO of newspaper publisher Gannett Co. and her unofficial mentor. It's an interesting portrait of a groundbreaking career, but Black backs up her own story with only a note or two of advice, waiting until nearly the end of the book to tackle what she originally claims is her main point: the "360 Life," or the difficulty of balancing work with personal life. While the author's life is an interesting one, readers looking for tips will do better with a more pointed book. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307351135
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 641,302
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

CATHIE BLACK heads Hearst Magazines, a division of Hearst Corporation. She manages the financial performance and development of some of the industry’s best-known magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Black made publishing history in 1979 as the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York, and she is widely credited for the success of USA Today, where for eight years, starting in 1983, she was first president, then publisher. Before joining Hearst, she also served five years as president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America. She lives in New York with her husband, son, and daughter.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Black on Black     1
Drive     11
Case Study: Don't Take No for an Answer: Al Neuharth     33
Risk     43
Black & White: First Impressions     65
People     73
Case Study: Make Your Moment Count: O, the Oprah Magazine     93
Fear     103
Black & White: Landing Your Dream Job     123
Power     133
Case Study: Talk Magazine     157
Black & White: The Devil Is in the Details     167
Passion     181
Case Study: The 360[degree] Life     197
Attitude     209
Case Study: Cosmopolitan     229
Leadership     237
Black & White: Advice from All Over     263
The Future Is Now     271
Epilogue: In the Black     281
Acknowledgments     285
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Great Career advice

    Must read for someone who is interesting in getting to the next level in their career.

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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    It's more than just magazines

    I loved reading Cathie Black's "Basic Black." I bought this book the day after I accepted an offer for my first professional job after college and it couldn't have prepared me more for the workplace, being a woman in the workplace, learning how to be a leader, and much, much more.

    Some people may find this book to be too much about the media bizz, but her anecdotes and stories really do cross many professional careers and can be applicable to almost anyone, especially women. I wouldn't recommend this for guys, but for you ladies out there it is really an inspiring read.

    At the end of the book Cathie mentions how giving back is so important and fulfilling in a career, and I couldn't agree more. Being philanthropic not only fulfills you in "a way that your job may not be able to" but it really sets the tone for how other people perceive you, in a few ways. It doesn't matter how much you give, or what you give (wheter it's your time, talent, or treasure) but giving back in any way you can to an organization or institution that you care about is so, so important.

    Pick up Cathie's book if you are a newbie to the professional world, a seasoned vet, or someone on the job hunt. There are so many valuable lessons! Plus, Cathie is so warm, funny, and is a great book to read on days that you feel like just giving up.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good referance material

    Cathie Black has provided a management review of what it is like in a position that is in constant change and growth. She touches on the subjects that a lot of supposed leaders forget or fail to do, and that is listen. Numerous oppertunities have been successful due to this one trait, and then she provides many others as well. This is a great book for new business students to use and for others that are in the trenches and need to revisit the reason they are doing their jobs to begin with.<BR/>I had to catch myself from nodding my head in recognition of many of the stories that Cathie presents in how the relevance of doing ---- can bring. This is an excellent read, nothing earth shattering yet is something that should be read by anyone in business management.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    A Life Lesson

    Basic black was a self guided life lesson book. Many suggestions consisted of ¿how to follow and how to lead?¿ Totally amazing how Catherine writes about basic information which details general points that society encounters everyday but expressed through basic life skills. Corporations will host business conferences which will last five days just to convey one basic lesson. Catherine does it chapter by chapter from how to hire someone or how to prepare for an interview, how to construct a business meeting and how and when to value your staff. It¿s quite informative and inspiring hearing her voice come off the pages. Catherine is truly an inspiration for all women. The book comes highly recommended from an avid reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2008

    A good read for someone in their 20s.

    I'm fascinated by the magazine business and read excerpts of Cathie Black's book in a few Hearst magazines. It was interesting to read her career history and it was helpful to be refreshed on some of the tips, like never starting out a sentence with 'I think'. Despite her choice to put career before family for a good part of her life, she did not come off as judgmental to others who find the opposite a priority. The book would have been much more helpful to me back in the early days of my career, however I'm not sure how receptive I would have been to the advice at the time. Nothing beats experience and making your own mistakes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2008

    Best Book ever Read

    I thought this book was the best thing I've ever read. I could totally relate to every advice Cathie offered and I hope she comes out with another book in the near future. Loved It!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    sound advice and mentoring from one who knows

    Cathie Black's name is well known in business and publishing circles as she is currently the CEO of Hearst Magazines (19 in all), as well as the go-getter who convinced Oprah to do a magazine, and to do it with Hearst. She's also the one most credited for the wildly successful USA Today, and greatly admired for shattering any glass ceilings that hampered her career. Black's dossier is an enviable one but more to the point here is her book, Basic Black, a combination of sound practical advice, self-help, mentoring, and snapshots of media greats. Whether you're young and starting out or in the middle of a career, you'll undoubtedly find much good advice as well as many smiles in this savvy tome. Further, even if you're not on a career path much of what she has to say is applicable and helpful in everyday living, such as getting rid of the grudges that harm only you. Black, is an advocate of risk taking, but wise risk taking - calculate what you may gain and what you may lose by undertaking a specific action. She reminds us: '. As ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said, 'You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.' Along with risk taking she urges us not to focus on something that failed but rather to examine what we may have learned from that experience and use this knowledge to our advantage. As an example of this she describes the decision she once made to leave New York and take a job with a new magazine in San Francisco - a publication that quickly folded. Quite obviously, Black does not describe her success to date as a skip down the yellow brick road but rather a path of trying, learning, and giving it all she's got. Black reads as she leads, confidently, firmly, clearly, yet with a smile in her voice. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Simply Outstanding

    Of course as one of Americas most powerful women she is worth listening to, what's more this book contains invaluable lessons you can use to succeed in your career and life. Black explains how she achieved 'the 360° life,' a blend of professional accomplishment and personal contentment, and how any woman can seize opportunity in the workplace. Sharing her candid, personal stories, Black offers a close-up look at the keen judgment, perseverance, and optimism that propelled her to the top of her game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    I don't live under a rock by any means. But I am very tired of all the self proclaimed 'experts' on anything and everything out there selling their life stories and then Oprah 'whom I greatly admire' touting them for it. How about a book by a nobody like me for example who is struggling with Bipolar Disorder - had a step child murdered at age 21 'mistaken identity was the excuse' before that have been married 3 times and divorced 'in verbally and physically abusive relations' with three small children made it on my own working 2 jobs - then one job that seemed like 4 jobs - my children were always at a sitter or my mom's - married for the 4th time to a kind man with two small boys, but poor financially - both struggling to make ends meet - son gets murdered - we leave Miami - by this time I am in the throws of depression and anxiety - living in Georgia now comfortably - but can't enjoy life because of my disease and this Cathie Black thinks she is WONDER WOMAN and can make everyone into WONDER WOMAN - well Wonder Woman is when you can put up a Happy Face in front of others - especially family - even though you feel weird and dying inside and at the end of the day you fooled them all into thinking you are okay for one more day. Then you have to get up the next day and do it all over again.......

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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