Book Review: Darling, You Can’t Do Both by Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk

Title: Darling, You Can’t Do Both
Authors: Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
ISBN: 9781554685813

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk have built their careers on unconventional creative thinking. As two of the leaders behind Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, they famously championed stripping away photoshopping, lighting and makeup to sell real beauty. After years of rethinking brands, they decided that they wanted to focus on rethinking the way we work or, in many cases and places, the way our work doesn’t work for us-especially for women. They’ve tackled the problem in their hallmark style: by turning expectations upside down and shaking them. Soundly.

Darling, You Can’t Do Both is an interesting look at women and mothers in the workplace–how they are perceived, promoted, and put down because of their gender and/or their status as a mother. Facing much discrimination over the course of their careers, Vonk and Kestin embraced their natural traits of empathy, understanding, and creativity, infusing them into their workplace and ultimately rising to the top through their unique ability to see the world through a distinct and very different lens. Their ultimate message to other female go-getters out there: embrace all that which makes you a woman and use it to your advantage. Others may see it as your weakness, but if you harness it, it can be your greatest strength.

Be warned, the book does take a very advertising industry-centric POV which may alienate some readers. As someone who works in marketing and eCommerce, I did find it quite applicable to my own life. I think there is some great advice to be extracted from Kestin and Vonk, but it’s definitely advice that you see all over the place these days. The book was released in 2014, and I think it would have been an excellent addition to the conversation surrounding strong and ambitious women in the workplace at that time. Its stories and advice still hold true today. Women still face ongoing sexism in the workplace, whether overt or underlying. More woman are breaching into top level positions at big name companies, but it is by no means equal yet. There cannot be too many books about this, even in 2021. We as women need to be talking about and sharing our own experiences, especially in male-dominated industries and workplaces. So, even if this is something you’ve seen before, it’s still worth a read.

Kestin and Vonk are so encouraging to their readers throughout. They draw on their personal anecdotes to push their female readers forward. Learn from us, they say. These are the triumphs and pitfalls of their careers, and although they faced an uphill battle, they both came out on top. To any woman who seeks to be successful in her career, this book will be a strong encourager of your goals. I found it both thoughtful and up-lifting. As a Canadian-specific book, I found that it really spoke to my own experience as a woman in the workforce.

Happy reading!

Published by wornpagesandink

Hi! I'm Jaaron. I'm a book-obsessed blogger, writer, reader, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover. I have a B.A.H. in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Book and Magazine publishing. I've been fortunate to have worked in both trade and educational publishing. If you have any recommendations for excellent reads, let me know!

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