Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her

Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her

by Robin Gerber
3.5 11


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Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her by Robin Gerber

The tragic and redeeming story of how one visionary woman built the biggest toy company in the world and created a global icon.

Barbie and Ruth is the entwined story of two exceptional women. There's Barbie: the diminutive yet arrestingly voluptuous doll unveiled at the 1959 Toy Fair who became the treasure of 90 percent of American girls and their counterparts in 150 countries. She went on to compete as an Olympic athlete, serve as an air force pilot, work as a boutique owner, run as a presidential candidate, and ignite a cultural firestorm.

And then there's Ruth Handler, Barbie's creator: the tenth child of Polish Jewish immigrants, a passionately competitive and creative business pioneer, and a mother and wife who wanted it all. After a business scandal that forced Ruth out of Mattel, the company she founded, she drew on her experience as a breast cancer survivor to start a business that changed women's lives. She was ultimately honored as a pioneer, humanitarian, and masterful entrepreneur.

Based on original research, extensive interviews, and previously unavailable material, Barbie and Ruth tells the fascinating story of how two women forever changed American business and culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061341311
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/03/2009
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Robin Gerber is the author of several books, including Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way, Katharine Graham, and the novel Eleanor vs. Ike. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
KrisBarry More than 1 year ago
Barbie and Ruth is book with a story of a woman filled with ambition. She begins her journey into her business of America's most popular doll wasn't an easy one. Because of the male dominant business society during the 50's and 60's, it made Ruth's situation a little more difficult. I would say that a major theme throughout this book is to keep your mind set on the goal you are striving for. Ruth could have easily given up and become a normal housewife like any other woman during that time period, but because she refused to let society define who she was to become, she accomplished all of her goals plus some. I definitely enjoyed how Robin Gerber not only told the story of Ruth's business hardships, but also her childhood and other family hardships that occurred. This aspect of the book allowed the reader to be inside Ruth's life and understand her struggles because she was raised by a sister rather than a mother, the intimate relationship that began long ago with her husband Elliot, and also the history with her children Barbara and Ken. This biography was not one that dragged on for what seemed like forever, it was an enjoyable read. Although, if there was one characteristic I would change would be the lack of pictures. Mental pictures could be made without a doubt, but physical pictures that allowed the reader into Ruth's life and what her environment looked like would have been nice. If you're an individual who enjoys the history of the world's most popular doll, Barbie, or women that succeed in the business world, then this is definitely the book for you. I wouldn't suggest it if you don't take interest in small details of how the product became world known.
suzieq27 More than 1 year ago
Robin Gerber has unearthed an appealing story about Ruth and the evolution of Barbie and Ruth throughout the years. It is a quick read putting forth aspects of Ruth's life, the effect of her drive and aspirations on the people around her, and the success she achieved and lost. Ruth is a hard driving, insightful entrepreneur unafraid to take risks in a time when people thought she had no place in business. Barbie was Ruth's vision for all little girls to come - you can have beauty, power, and a life full of expriences beyond the home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Barbie & Ruth was more about the inception of Mattel than the creation of Barbie. It was somewhat biographical about Ruth Handler and her rise to glory, fall from grace and quiet exit from the toy world. However don't be discouraged because I thought the author covered the Barbie story quite well. I especially enjoyed the many different views on Ruth's personality and business acumen. I'm not sure Ruth would have enjoyed the author's portrayal of her but for me it made it that much more believable. The book did not endear me to Ruth. Starting out the book with her court sentencing made me have an instant dislike for her in ways that are reinforced throughout the book. However by the end I felt I had a better understanding of who she was as a person. I really enjoyed every page of this book; it was well written and engaging. I would highly recommend it!
Cynthia-ann More than 1 year ago
This book captured my interest from the first words written. It gave the reader insight into Ruth Handler and her incredible entreprenurial and industrious spirit. How Barbie was created and marketed was a great story, as was the building and development of Mattel. Although Ruth is accused of fraud, it's impossible not to admire, respect, and revere her. Gerber's writing style is engaging and holds one's interest throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That there is a point in every business that you either settle down to selling what you have or trying to add businesses you know nothing about. In other words you can get too big. All the other stuff had nothing to do with selling inventing and marketing toys that sold year in and year out. marketing may sell a new product but certain generic products keep on and on like crayons teddy bears cars with wheels and bikes sturdy and affordable and certain board games
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rachelsweet More than 1 year ago
The title is all wrong for this book. If you are looking for a book about Barbie this is not it. This book is the story of the Handlers and Mattel. Barbie is hardly mentioned. To me it reads like an 8th graders essay. There is information about a fascinating story but is not presented in a very interesting format. A good story but could and should have been a lot better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book, i just git the sample though. Shoul i buY it?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You look like another word for poo.... DAT RYHMED