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“Bossypants” by Tina Fey

By Judy Dedmon Coyle

This week’s guest contributor is a founder and editor of www.GoodNewsGirlz.com, an online lifestyle magazine.

Judy Dedmon Coyle

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey comes off as an average woman to whom stunningly above average things have happened. Whether it’s being slashed across the face in the alley behind her house when she was five or winning seven Emmy awards for her TV show 30 Rock, Ms. Fey describes herself as ordinary and the events as extraordinary.

The first part of the book, with its riffs on menstruation and growing up with gay friends, staggers around, funny but unanchored—a stand up routine when I expected a memoir. The pace picks up when she gets to the Second City and Saturday Night Live sections. Ms. Fey pulls clever and insightful life strategies from her encounters with everyone from YMCA personnel to NBC executives. Background information on life at SNL and the real story of the Sarah Palin/Hilary Clinton skits with Amy Poehler run alongside stories of breastfeeding and Peter Pan themed birthday parties.


It’s a quick read with some lines that cracked me up, but Bossypants is more than just entertainment, more than just her take on management: This is Ms. Fey’s call for equality. Her examples are funny, of course, but she’s serious when she takes on the boy’s club attitudes of improv troupes or ramblings of misguided high school teachers.

If you’re a Tina Fey fan who wants to know more about the star, an aspiring actor who wants tips on getting ahead in the biz, or a manager who wants to learn to laugh about the crazies you supervise, this book is for you. If you’re someone with an extra hour or two and want a good laugh, this book is for you too. I read the book, but understand that the audio book read by Ms. Fey is a special treat.

Three Lessons from one of China’s Religious Leaders

On my recent trip to China with a group of CEOs we attended the 2010 Global Entrepreneurs Summit of the Far East.  This highly esteemed Buddhist Monk shared these three tenants. Short and simple to relay, hard and complicated to play out.

  1. Never forget your initial resolution – of marriage, of parenting, in your business. Remember your initial vows.
  2. Patience.
  3. Never hold grudges – it becomes your burden.

A Lesson on Calligraphy and Life

2010 Global Entrepreneurs Summit of Far East

On my recent trip to China with a group of CEOs we attended the 2010 Global Entrepreneurs Summit of the Far East. One of the speakers – to a simulcast audience of 8 million – shared lessons learned when she studied calligraphy many years ago. Her instructor suggested the following:

  • Be flexible in practicing your calligraphy.
  • Don’t be too rigid – if bound by techniques alone one can get dogmatic.
  • Learn calligraphy by studying the flow of water. Water does not stick to a particular shape. When water is quiet it’s transparent, peaceful, almost like a mirror.

To maximize your absorption of calligraphy and your ability to become wise – she suggested flexibility, accommodation, and calmness in your heart.

Your Ethics Business Card – a Gift from Rose

Rose was full of surprises. At first glance you wouldn’t expect this woman in a wheelchair to travel where she traveled or say what she said.

So began Rose’s eulogy – eloquently written and told by her business partner.

Rose was a close friend of my family. She’d been a victim of polio in her youth and she navigated her world and our globe for over six decades in this wheelchair. I never noticed this chair; it was just part of her appearance and who she was.

Here’s one lesson I gleaned from that eulogy at her recent funeral. As co-owner of an ad agency one of her Fortune 500 clients wanted her to communicate the importance of ethics to all levels of employees, from factory workers to management. Rose conducted extensive research and out of volumes of information created a simple ethics quick test that would fit on a business card.

Her six points, read at her funeral, can help guide all of us – as we handle our work and play.

1. Is the action legal?
2. Does it comply with our values?
3. If you do it, will you feel bad?
4. How would it look in the newspaper?
5. If you know it’s wrong, don’t do it.
6. If you’re not sure, ask.

Feel free to make this into your Ethics Business Card. From Rose’s legacy to your every day life.

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