mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Manager Reads - Unapologetically Ambitious

Kicking off a new year of Manager Reads we are covering Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Shellye Archambeau.

Who recommended the book? Twitch’s Leadership Book Club selected this book as our first book of 2021. We are not machines but the relevance score on this one was high given Archambeau is one of Silicon Valley’s first African American CEOs we felt this book provided great synergy with ongoing Black History Month programming and the upcoming Women’s History Month.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? It’s likely unrelated but Archambeau is on the board of directors for Verizon and this cover with strong reds, whites, and blacks feels like a Verizon-branded product. The star of the show on this cover is the word unapologetically that fades in from the top gradually and appears four times before taking its place in the title; I see no reason why unapologetically is repeated four times beyond there being some space that needed filling. The cover also features a quote from Sheryl Sandberg who unapologetically does not pay her interns. 😏 Inside its covers the paper is thick and a gentle off-white color to be easier on the eyes. The leading is a point too high and the right margin a tad too large for my tastes but that’s just me.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? Unapologetically Ambitious is a blend of an autobiography and a treatise on how to achieve your goals. Archambeau describes herself as an ambitious individual who set a goal of becoming CEO by forty and then making choices - unapologetically - to get her there. While many of the choices Archambeau made could be seen as sacrifices, she stresses that these were choices, not sacrifices. In the same vein she wrote about her disdain for work-life balance; instead she opted to wrap the complexities of managing a career, family, friendships, self-care as work-life integration.

Archambeau touches on advice you’ll find in other books and how it helped her achieve her goal such as finding a mentor, the importance of networking, identifying currents in business and hitching a ride on those, and taking risks when you find your current opportunity well is drying up. The book contains much more guidance wrapped up in Archambeau’s personal backstory. Overall, it was a very engaging and informative read. Her framework for choices not sacrifices is something I already feel myself grappling with as I manage my own career ambitions and my growing and shifting responsibilities as a dad.

Favorite quote from the book? “Success is about preparing for opportunities to appear, so you are ready to take advantage of them when they do.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? This is an easy one: read it! Unapologetically Ambitious is a page-turner chock full of actionable guidance to achieve your goals and ideas worth ruminating on.

Notes in Evernote? Check out my notes on 🐘.

Most of the world’s wisdom is written down in its best books. Manager Reads is a series covering books on management and leadership, focusing on books that can improve your own leadership with the wisdom of others. Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Check out more at Manager Reads.