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Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold (Review)

Updated on January 29, 2020
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For the past decade, Ms.Dora has been sharing poetry, creative writing, positive quotes, and reflections online. Her aim is life enrichment.

Disrupters is “not about what companies and institutions can and should do to promote gender equity,” says author Dr. Patti Fletcher in her introduction. “It’s a business book on finding success in the world by doing things your own way."

The Book and the Author

Dr. Patti Fletcher writes for Inc., Huffington Post, The Guardian, and The Digitalist, and has contributed to several other publications including Time Magazine, Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek.

Fletcher has spent the past ten years coaching and advocating for women business leaders. In her doctoral research, she studied 15 trailblazers not only to compile statistical analyses (of which there are several in Disrupters) but also to understand their common characteristics, and the key themes that define their perspectives and journeys. Disrupters aims to help readers find their personal paths to their success, and as a long term goal, to help them blaze the trail for their daughters and granddaughters to follow in their steps.


Kindle File Size: 857 KB
Print Length: 317 pages
Publisher: Entrepreneur Press (January 16, 2018)
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Women and Business, Self-Help

Book Overview By Chapters

Throughout the text, the name disrupters refers to the successful women who reached the top of the business ladder. Fletcher's self-explanatory titles make it easy to present her points by chapters.

(1) Know the Game

Business is a game. Disrupters learn the rules so they can recognize opportunities to change them, and so that they can know why they lose when they lose.

2. Define Your Own Success

Instead of accepting other people’s definition of success, disrupters determine their performance according to their purpose and set their own finish line.

3. Choose Career and Family

Disrupters do not choose between career and family. They bargain not for balance, but for integration.

Career and Family, Not Career or Family

Military couple Majors Dennis and Lesley Ortiz have a 14-month old son who stays with Lesley's mother while they are deployed. Photo Credit: Major David Olson
Military couple Majors Dennis and Lesley Ortiz have a 14-month old son who stays with Lesley's mother while they are deployed. Photo Credit: Major David Olson | Source

4. Get Out of Your Head

Despite the overwhelming evidence that they live in a man’s world, disrupters do not see themselves as victims. They quiet their fears and self-doubts and affirm that they have the skills and capabilities to meet the challenge.

5. Use What You’ve Got

Haters may tell them that they were chosen just because they were women. They know that even if that were the case, they have skills that qualified them for the position. They use the opportunity to their advantage.

6. Take the Damn Job

Women want to be sure they’re competent so they take a class. Men believe in their confidence so they take the job. Female disrupters do as good a job as men figuring out the steps as they go. They focus on competence over confidence.

7. Mentoring Works (Except When It Doesn’t)

Most mentoring programs coach employees on understanding how the organization works; but the training does not affect their access to promotions. They create diversity, but not inclusion. In this chapter Fletcher includes Diversity Inc’s 21 Best Companies for Women.

8. Thrive in the Tribe

Disrupters do not like traditional networking. They form relationships with like-minded people and become sisters in a supportive tribe.

9. Lead Like a Woman

Disrupters do not fight the physiological differences between genders; they embrace them. They recognize their need for male input, but they focus on being strong instead of sexy in their male-female interactions.

"Wonder woman wasn't there to be sexy and alluring and flirt her way to victory, and that means she has big muscular thighs.

— Dr. Patti Fletcher in "Disrupters"

10. Open the Door for Someone Else

Disrupters advocate and champion the causes of other women, in their effort to increase the field of female leadership. They want other women including their offspring to receive opportunities similar to theirs.

Pros and Cons

Fletcher includes many statistical charts and research findings which show the disproportion between male and female leadership even in companies where women are the majority. Women who claim not to be bothered, may be forced to grapple with reality, especially when they think of the future for their offspring.

The interviews at the end of each chapter are motivational. They include disrupters in prestigious companies like Procter & Gamble, Netflix and IT companies in the Silicon Valley. They include entrepreneurs who have made contributions to global business. They encourage women to become game changers in their move forward. They also prove that some prejudice is not as much against women, as toward the traditional views some have always known.

This book may not interest every woman, although all can learn from it. Some may be turned off by charts and lists with strictly-business terms, but it is a business book; and those who venture may obtain some brain exercises in memorizing her definitions.


I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley ( There was no request for a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

© 2018 Dora Weithers


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