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

Updated on March 8, 2018
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MsDora, seven-year online writer, shares poetry, creative writing, quotes and reflections on how writing and writers influence our lives.

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 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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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Manatita. Good writers write what they feel. They don't have to change our minds, just let us into theirs.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 months ago from london

      Yes, it reads like a business book and perhaps the title itself is designed with selling in mind. It reminds me of 'Assertiveness' which, as opposed to empathy or compassion, can be a negative thing.

      'Cut throat business models rarely use the Heart and yet Stephen Covey and others have spent their lives talking about Leadership and the qualities of Leadership. A word you used quite low down.

      When implemented, it works and that is what I was taught in business schools and I saw that all successful conglomerates, use a model whose top ten rules, reads almost like the bible.

      There is another way that takes one to the top or close to it. It feels very much like what this women is speaking about. It can be a soulless way ... one without joy. An attempt to move forward while leaving Jack behind. Just a view point.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Dianna. I agree we need both competence and confidence. The author thinks that women let go of some opportunities when they do not have enough of the later. Men are more prone to pretend that they are confident, and they move forward with that.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 months ago

      I like the idea of competence over confidence, yet we build confidence as we build our strengths. This would be a good book to give young business women seeking to build a career.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you, Laura. Hope these pointers will help those who still need it.

    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 

      5 months ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Really good points. It's a good attitude to have when maneuvering through the challenges of the work place.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Limpet, sorry I missed your query. Hero is masculine and heroine is feminine, but seemingly, no one is penalized for referring to either gender as hero.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Tamara. Wonder Woman is a symbol for women who focus on getting the job done.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image


      5 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      Wonderfully powerful article, Doris, and I adore the picture of Wonder Woman! Excellent.



    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Devika. Sure, the book is for me too. Those who know the principles need to be reminded.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Sounds a great idea to recommend this book to young women. Lots has changed and women need to do whatever they can make their lives better in this world. This is not only for themselves for others too.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      Quick querry! Is Wonder Woman regarded as Super hero or Super heroine?

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Frank. I'm delighted to review books from which I could learn something.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 months ago from Shelton

      Good choice MsDora for such a review.. very good review too...:)

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Mary. We're on the same page. I recommended this book to my daughter and will to other young women.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Linda. I agree with you. The title is exactly what the book is about.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you too, are blessed with the love of the women in your life, because you also love them. Thank you for sharing your love and your comment.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Tim. I appreciate male input on topics like these, especially when it holds such high respect for women.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Blossom. You were privileged to learn the importance of sisterly support from your mother. Such a needed virtue, these days!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I always enjoy your book reviews. I love the title of the one that you've reviewed in this article. It seems very appropriate for the theme of the book.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      5 months ago from Brazil

      This is the type of book I would enjoy. I think women feel obligated to stay in traditional roles and books like this will help them see they can choose other avenues.

      I believe as mothers we should encourage our daughters to strive for more. Having them read books which show them its okay to want more and feel confident in their quest.

      Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, this touched me. From mom to my first wife to my lovely Hang wife, I follow their lead. Men have not too nice words for me. I ain't rich and we know I could do better. And I know I should be more independent. But they make me happy by making them happy. My four kids are just fine and better, so?

      Reckon I will go trim them bushes now ;-)

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      Excellent, Ms. Dora. As I read this article, I couldn't help but realize the techniques the author suggested would benefit any number of groups trying to move up in the world or make a difference. I fondly remember my sisters loved Captain Katherine Janeway from the show, "Star Trek: Voyager" because she was a scientist first. One pursued such a career, in science and still looks at the show.

      But business is a tough club for women to join because of all of the barriers presented to them from reaching the top. There still is a "glass ceiling" which is changing very slowly.

      Yet, when we think of successful women like Oprah Winfrey who runs an empire, I feel there is hope.

      Thank you for an informative and well written article on such an important topic. As a male, I understand if humanity is to continue to thrive, everyone's efforts must be respected. This book gives women tools to establish that respect for themselves, and males a good guide to assist them when possible.



    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      I especially like Number 10: it's important for women to encourage and help each other, rather than seeing them as a threat. My mother was a great encourager for my sister and me and I have tried to be one for my children, too. We can sometimes be our own 'worst enemies'.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Bill. I appreciate your support for the empowerment of women.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Any book which helps to empower women is a good book. Thank you for this, Dora!

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Ian. I appreciate your male perspective. Your input is very affirming.

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Mary. This is a good book for every woman with an entrepreneurial spirit. Sure, you would love it.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      5 months ago from London England

      From a male perspective, i can think of many ladies who have dared to be different. The first coming to mind is Bjork a Nordic sprite who took the London club circuit by storm in the 90's (sure there is a hub page on Bjork.) Next the inimitable Zoella an elfin West country lass who made her name as a very confident 'Fashionista' whilst still in her teen years. Next - Emma Watson. More to follow.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Dora, this is a book that would interest me. Women need to create their own path, unique from that for men, to contribute as women in society.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, you have a point. It doesn't hurt to recognize what really is. The author suggests a way of life that brings success despite top-heavy male leadership.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Flourish. There are lots of everything-interviews, charts, data. Good book!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Kathy, if it catches your interest, you might be able to use it in mentoring someone. You and your mentee will like it.

    • KatWin profile image

      Kathy Burton 

      5 months ago from Florida

      Sounds like a book that would of been helpful years ago along with a mentor. All the chapters catch my interest. I think I will put on my reading list. Thanks for taking the time to review.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 months ago from USA

      This is definitely the type of book I’d like to read. I like not only data backup but also stories and interviews and this seems to be a blend.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I am sure this would be very helpful to women interested in business (or in general) and I could have used something like this years ago.

      I would expect the charts and lists to be very helpful also. It is no longer a man's world. Crazy as it may seem I saw just the end of a news clip where they want the word man removed from the vocabulary! I think that is a bit much but they sure were serious. I have no problem with men and women living in a world and would hate the day we are all just persons. I am very happy to be a woman even if it does have the word man in it! I'd hate to be just a wo!


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