The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young
Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

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It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.
If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she’s only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she’s in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it—impostors in their own lives and careers.
While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled ’em again.
An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women’s most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt.
In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life. With her empowering, step-by-step plan, you will learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are.

About Valerie Young

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VALERIE YOUNG is an internationally known workshop leader and public speaker and the former marketing manager at a Fortune 200 company. Her work has been cited in such publications as Women's Day, Redbook, Fitness, Self, Cosmopolitan, Inc., and the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Globe and Mail. She lives in Montague, Massachusetts. Visit the au­thor online at
Published October 25, 2011 by Crown Business. 304 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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While the focus of the book is women and self-esteem, too often Young makes unnecessary and unsubstantiated statements—e.g., “Despite all the gains women have made, the essential truth remains: if you are pale or male, you are presumed competent until proven otherwise.” The author’s generalizatio...

Jan 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Secret Thoughts of Succes...

The Wall Street Journal

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Afflicted by the 'imposter syndrome,' women in the workplace supposedly feel that their accomplishments are undeserved.

Nov 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret Thoughts of Succes...

New York Journal of Books

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“The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women examines a common affliction and offers tools, insight, scientific evidence, and numerous examples that aim to banish the impostor for good.

Oct 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret Thoughts of Succes...

City Book Review

In the dozen chapters aimed to correct female and male fears, scenarios are presented to illustrate sensitives situations, questionnaires are presented to expose reactions, exercises are listed to encourage more positive approaches.

Feb 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Secret Thoughts of Succes...

Bookmarks Magazine

All the more so if they are a man of color, have working-class roots, or identify with any of the other “at-risk.” Similarly, if they know, teach, manage, mentor, parent, or coach a male or groups of males who are susceptible to the impostor syndrome, they will gain greatly from this book as well...

Nov 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret Thoughts of Succes...

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