Her new book is intended for “any woman who can read.”
This article originally appeared on 10.29.18
Launch slideshow to view 'Chapter 2: How To Talk Like a Man But Still Be Seen As a Woman,' from the upcoming How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings.
Sarah Cooper is a writer, comedian, and creator of TheCooperReview.com. Her new book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, is a satirical take on what it's like to be a woman in the workplace. Drawn from her experience working in the world of tech (she's a former Googler and Yahooer), Cooper's decision to pursue comedy writing came after finding something she'd scribbled in an old work notebook.
“During a meeting, a product manager who was on his laptop the whole time and hadn't been paying attention suddenly went to the whiteboard and drew this ridiculous Venn diagram. It was irrelevant to the discussion and made no sense and I figured everyone was going to tell him to sit down. But instead, everyone started helping him draw the Venn diagram. I was amazed as he handed the whiteboard marker to someone else, and went back to playing on his laptop. I thought it was amazing. So I wrote it down in my notebook: how to look smart in a meeting: draw a Venn diagram."
This is what she drew:
Seven years and many meetings later, she wrote a blog post about these 'tricks to appear smart' that quickly went viral, getting over 5 million hits and hundreds of thousands of shares. She quit her job and published her first book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings, to acclaim. While quitting one's day job to pursue comedy isn't all that unusual (who hasn't considered doing that?), leaving what many people consider their dream job at a place like Google certainly is.
Pursuing such a bold path took some guts.
“When my passion for writing outgrew my passion for what I was doing at my job, I knew I wanted to give comedy a full-time try. I didn't know if I was making a huge mistake, but then I when I quit, my manager let me know I could always come back to Google if I wanted to. That's when I realized that not giving it a shot was actually the bigger risk because then I'd never know."
With her new book (out this Tuesday!), How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, Cooper continues to point out the ridiculous rituals taking place in the modern workplace, but this time focused on the female perspective.
“The point of the book is not to offend guys, but I guess that's going to happen," Cooper said. “It's about pointing out the ridiculous double standards women face. And I'm hoping that by pointing them out, we can stop reinforcing them."
And how have men reacted to it?
“I think the weirdest part about writing a book about what it's like to be a woman in business is all the men telling me what they think it's really like to be a woman in business. It's so funny, because it's like, by telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, and ignoring all the women who agree with me, they are pretty much proving my point."
While a lot of dudes are big fans, the hostility from men on the internet, while not surprising, is still a bummer. But who cares, the book isn't for those guys, “it's for any woman who can read."
What hopes does she have for the impact of the book, as well as her personal story?
“I hope this book causes women to be more powerful at work. And also for people to see how I believed in myself and went after those dreams, too!"
To hear more about her fascinating journey from business exec to comic, check out this inspiring speech she gave last year at INBOUND Bold.
— Adam Albright-Hanna