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About the Book

Straightforward and prescriptive advice from three high-powered black female executives who have been there, done that, and now want to help you tap into your leadership potential, featuring such chapters as:
  • The “N” Word: Networking
  • Racism Is No Excuse, But It Can Be a Motivator
  • Acknowledge There Is a Game and Accept That You Must Play

Foreword by Angela Burt-Murray, Editor-in-Chief, Essence magazine.

Little Black Book featured in USA Today. Click here to view.

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Publisher Info

To request a review copy or arrange an interview, please contact:

Lisa Barnes
Random House Publishing Group

Alison Masciovecchio
Random House Publishing Group


"Elaine Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda McLean have compiled a dynamite, relevant, wisdom-filled book that offers real time, relevant "mama-isms," and tools for learning and exercising leadership in competitive corporate environments. This tool is a keeper!"
-Carla A. Harris, author of
Expect to Win

"Finally: a small but extremely powerful book full of successful business and lifestyle rules written by women of color."
-B. Smith

"Life lessons to stay in the game of life."
-Terrie M. Williams, author of
The Personal Touch:
What You Really Need To Succeed
in Today's Fast-Paced Business World

"Good counsel comes to us in myriad ways. The Little Black Book of Success clearly qualifies as one. It’s chock full of sound and thoughtful advice on how to build a successful business career. I commend it not just to black women, but to anyone seeking wisdom on leadership and success."
-Richard Parsons, Chairman, Citigroup


Rhonda’s radio interview on Coco Mode - March 4, 2010

USA Today - March 1, 2010

Essence - March 2010

Heart and Soul - February/March 2010

Fan Feedback

I just bought The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women and I want to personally say thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with those of us who are "up and coming" in our careers. Unfortunately many of us, including myself, lack true mentors when it comes to career and personal development so this is a great opportunity for us to get such great insight from powerful Black women leaders.

I just started reading the book today and I am going to purchase my PLN tomorrow! Once again, thank you for reminding me that I am a VIP and to not let anything hinder my inner spirit. I am looking forward to finishing this book and I'm sure it's going to be something that I value for the rest of my life.
-Maria Melendez

I have been anxiously awaiting the book release and finally, March 2nd is here! I have been reading for a couple hours and have completed the ninth chapter and decided to do two things:

1- Pause. Reflect upon what I have learned before I digest too much, too quickly and forget critical pearls of wisdom.

2-Write you to say "Thank you!" So far, so excellent! There are many young women, like myself, who are in need of a professional mentor in the purse or just a good "talking to" as you three have done for me.

I am ecstatic about finishing, re-read to gage progress, and paying it forward to others.

If the three of you would ever venture to Norfolk, VA for a book signing, appearance, or the like, WE WELCOME YOU.
-Blair Presley

Thank You for this book. I have been waiting for a leadership book tailored towards Black Women.
-Pamela Nelson

I am already inspired by this book by only reading an excerpt. I have been an employee at a company for 13 years and a supervisor for almost 2 years. I thought I was playing it safe by remaining in my position for over 10 years because the lay offs almost never happened and the money was good. Now I have stepped out of my comfort zone into a leadership role and things are beginning to become a little uncomfortable for me because of all the politics I never knew existed. I am ready for position. I just want to know how to play the game before the game plays me.
-J. Davis-Williams


From the Introduction

Given how much progress women of African descent have made since the civil rights and women's rights movements—especially in the past decade, as companies have grown more diverse—it would be easy to think challenges in the workplace don't exist. Wrong! Nearly 40 percent of Black women report that they don't have other Black women who can serve as role models. Studies show that during the past decade Black women have made the smallest gains with regard to employment and high-level positions. For the few who have achieved success in the workplace, their greatest obstacle has been making their organizations acknowledge the value of their skills and contributions. Today's Black women have jobs and careers, yet many don't realize the inherent leadership potential they possess that can help them grow professionally. Much has been written about leadership, but there are no books specifically for Black women on this topic, one that identifies and addresses issues unique to Black women, the work place obstacles they encounter, and challenges they can overcome.

As women of color, we live in a culture that is part of a larger society—a dominant culture. Each culture has its own set of mores, traditions, and values. These values, attitudes, and ideologies that are inherent in our communities have been passed down through generations and make our culture unique, particularly given our people's historical experiences in this country. This book identifies some things we tend to do that may differ from the dominant culture as we operate in the corporate workplace. Rather than focusing on assimilation, we think it is more important that you understand your own behaviors and how they may work for or against you, so that you can maximize your leadership potential. Let's face it. We're all bicultural—having our own culture within a dominant culture. This handbook provides insights into understanding how you can become more self- aware and achieve your leadership goals. Beginning with the premise that we're all VIPs with differing degrees of awareness, The Little Black Book of Success shares insights into workplace issues, pitfalls, and impediments, and offers applicable solutions for women, no matter at what stage of their career. Each chapter builds on the VIP lessons by elucidating leadership truths coupled with prescriptive examples. We talk about the behaviors we have observed in the workplace that work to our advantage and those that keep us from advancing. The Cultural Code sections include the kinds of things we tend to do from a cultural perspective to sabotage ourselves and then prescribe methods to help us be successful.

Each chapter concludes with "MAMAisms," which bring the lessons home by giving entirely new relevance to aphorisms readers have heard all of their lives from their mother, grandmother, or other family members, presenting them in the context of leadership development. The premise here is that even if Mama was not in the corporate world, she gave us life lessons we can draw upon. MAMAisms are those familiar terms, both practical and spiritual, that we grew up with and can draw upon as we travel the road to leadership success.

We hope that this isn't a book you read once and store on your bookshelf, leaving it to collect dust, but one that you keep on hand and review regularly to help you reach your leadership goals or serve as a reminder of what to do when things get tough. We have been working a long time in many different jobs and industries and have tried to learn from our mistakes as well as our achievements as we advanced in our careers. Our combined experience can help you avoid making some of the mistakes we made as you build a strong foundation of professionalism in your work and develop the tools you will need for leadership success. So, whether you are just starting out in the workplace or already have a leadership role, get ready to change your life!

Buy the Book

You can order THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF SUCCESS at these online retailers: You can also find it at your local bookstore. (On Sale March 2nd)

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