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What Jackie Taught Us


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Tina Santi Flaherty, a lifelong admirer of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was the first woman elected a vice president at three of America's largest companies: Colgate-Palmolive, GTE, and Grey Advertising. Described by Business Week as one of America's top corporate women, she is a much sought-after motivational speaker and the author of Talk Your Way to the Top and The Savvy Woman's Success Bible. She coaches politicians, educators, and Fortune 500 executives in the art of communicating with creativity.


The very interesting life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994), married to the 35th president of the U.S., continues to fascinate, which should insure readership for this laudatory life lesson. The author, a corporate executive, once lived in the same New York City apartment building as her subject and, though she never actually met her, describes herself as an admirer. Flaherty contends that Onassis was never given credit for her leadership abilities and focuses on episodes of her life that illuminate the positive influence she had on others. Drawing on secondary sources and secondary interviews that one imagines would have appalled the famously reclusive Mrs. Onassis, Flaherty takes us over the familiar territory of her subject's childhood with a distant, critical mother and adoring but womanizing alcoholic father. She faithfully details Onassis's splendid education, which honed a passion for knowledge that sustained her through John Kennedy's extramarital affairs and his tragic assassination. Although the writing is competent, it too frequently tends to be repetitive and cloying. The areas that Flaherty believes Onassis taught by example include dealing with men (play hard to get), motherhood (loving but strict) and courage (the ability to withstand pain without crumbling). Photos. (Apr. 6) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Shallowness reigns in these two titles, one by a marginally famous woman, the other about a bona fide icon. Former supermodel Ferrare (Okay, So I Don't Have a Headache: What I Learned (and What All Women Need To Know) About PMS, Hormones, Stress, Diet, Menopause-and Sex) fails to demonstrate any personal growth in documenting her silver-spoon failures. She bemoans not landing the cohosting job that went to Kelly Rippa and overeating; she also crows about her proudest achievement-creating jewelry sold on cable TV. Libraries should instead consider Jackie Kallen's Hit Me with Your Best Shot: A Fight Plan for Dealing with All of Life's Hard Knocks (now in paperback) instead of this insipid read. Libraries should be aware, however, that Ferrare launched a new furniture line in April on the Home Shopping Network, so there could be demand. Meanwhile, former Colgate-Palmolive VP Flaherty (Talk Your Way to the Top) fairly idolizes Camelot's First Lady. In chapters padded with cursory biographical snippets, she purports to explore what Jackie "taught" the world. Take, for instance, the chapter "Men and Marriage," wherein readers learn that Jackie made herself attractive and "followed her heart." Much is made of the "beautiful, cultured, and intelligent" icon of our collective (and idealized) cultural memory. Instead of wasting money on this hardcover trifle, commemorate the tenth anniversary of Jackie's death by dusting off some respectable biographies, e.g., Sarah Bradford's America's Queen: A Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or even Pamela Clarke Keogh's photographic Jackie Style. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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