Unapologetically Ambitious Book Summary - Unapologetically Ambitious Book explained in key points
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Unapologetically Ambitious summary

Shellye Archambeau

Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms

4 (120 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau is a business book that showcases how one can successfully navigate the corporate world as a woman of color. It offers practical advice and personal anecdotes to help empower women to achieve their career goals.

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    Unapologetically Ambitious
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    Don’t let impostor syndrome hold you back.

    Picture an African American girl entering school in 1969, in a white neighborhood. Racial tensions are particularly high in the US, and her city, Los Angeles, has seen race riots and Ku Klux Klan parades in recent years.

    That girl was Shellye Archambeau, and the issues gripping the country impacted her personally, too. 

    Adults called her the N-word on the way to school, other children harassed her, and, in one instance, two classmates physically assaulted her. Even the school administration singled Shellye out. When she got into the Gifted and Talented program, they decided something had gone wrong and asked everyone to retake the entrance test. This second time around, only Shellye failed.

    Such experiences can lead to impostor syndrome – the feeling of not belonging, or of not deserving success. And this often stops people from chasing their goals and living the life they want.

    The key message here is: Don’t let impostor syndrome hold you back.

    Anyone, no matter how smart or ambitious, can fall victim to impostor syndrome. Shellye felt it many times throughout her life. But, fortunately, it can be handled.

    Whenever self-doubting thoughts pop up, remember that they hold no truth and that some of the most successful people battle impostor syndrome. It also helps to act confidently, regardless of how you feel. This is a trick Shellye still uses, even after becoming a Silicon Valley CEO. When she feels intimidated, she feigns confidence and repeats the mantra, “Act like you know what you are doing, listen hard, and, eventually, you will know what you are doing.”

    Even if you have to fake confidence until it feels real, there will be people who believe in you and advocate for you. Shellye calls these your cheerleaders. And when combating impostor syndrome, it’s important to check in with your cheerleaders and believe them when they recognize your worth.

    When Shellye felt like an outsider in her neighborhood and school, she found cheerleaders who helped restore her confidence. One such person was a math teacher, Mrs. Mizrahi. Noticing that Shellye had a talent for math, and a competitive nature, Mrs. Mizrahi encouraged her to help other students with their assignments. This nudge gave Shellye the recognition she needed to boost her self-esteem.

    To identify your cheerleaders, think of those who always encourage you. Ask a good friend to highlight your worth and abilities whenever necessary. This will help you believe in yourself – even when it feels as though the world around you doesn’t.

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    What is Unapologetically Ambitious about?

    Unapologetically Ambitious (2020) follows Shellye Archambeau’s journey to becoming one of the very few African American female CEOs in Silicon Valley. These blinks outline some of the valuable lessons, attitudes, and strategies that helped her achieve her goals.

    Unapologetically Ambitious Review

    Unapologetically Ambitious (2020) is a book that encourages women to set ambitious goals and pursue them without apology. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides inspiring stories of successful women who have shattered glass ceilings, offering a roadmap for achieving professional success.
    • Practical advice and strategies are shared throughout the book, empowering women to navigate challenges and make bold career moves.
    • With its no-nonsense approach and emphasis on taking risks, this book challenges societal norms and pushes readers to embrace their ambition.

    Who should read Unapologetically Ambitious?

    • Driven professionals looking to advance their careers
    • Highly ambitious women of color seeking inspiration
    • Anyone who wants to better manage their personal and professional life

    About the Author

    Shellye Archambeau is a businesswoman with over 30 years of experience in leading technology organizations. She spent 15 years at IBM and later became CEO of a Silicon Valley company that she grew into MetricStream – a global market leader in governance, risk, and compliance software solutions. She is a Fortune 500 board member and also guest lectures at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Unapologetically Ambitious FAQs 

    What is the main message of Unapologetically Ambitious?

    The main message of Unapologetically Ambitious is that ambition should be embraced and pursued without apology.

    How long does it take to read Unapologetically Ambitious?

    The reading time for Unapologetically Ambitious varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in a matter of minutes.

    Is Unapologetically Ambitious a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Unapologetically Ambitious is worth reading for its empowering and practical insights on achieving success.

    Who is the author of Unapologetically Ambitious?

    The author of Unapologetically Ambitious is Shellye Archambeau.

    What to read after Unapologetically Ambitious?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Unapologetically Ambitious, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Own Your Greatness by Lisa Orbé-Austin & Richard Orbé-Austin
    • The Imposter Cure by Dr. Jessamy Hibberd
    • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
    • More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
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    • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim