Book Review: Wander Woman – How High Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction

Travel Books & Movies — By on April 27, 2010 at 9:33 am

In Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction, Marcia Reynolds, PhD. demystifies women who can’t find contentment in the workplace. This may seem a tad inappropriate for a travel blog. However, Reynolds works with an entirely new genre of women–one that is confident, passionate, successful, disillusioned, exhausted and confused, one for whom “the urge to move, mentally if not physically is lodged in their souls.”

If that doesn’t describe a lost girl, then I don’t know what does. And though we would all like to tube down rivers in Laos and eat curry on the streets of Kerala for the rest of our lives, at some point we must ask ourselves: “What about after the trip?”

That’s where this book comes in. It’s a self-help tome, dedicated to helping wander women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it. Part I is devoted to the history, evolution and definition of the Wander Woman, so it’s quite easy to determine whether or not the book is for you:

“Too often, you are pigeonholed, underutilized, micromanaged, and told to slow down. You spend more time planning exit strategies than you do envisioning your career. Somewhere along the way, the excitement turns into cynicism. The more you wander, the more likely you are to lose your sense of purpose and possibly your sense of self.”

From page one, I was shouting “Yes! Yes! That’s me!” And it felt quite nice, because I’ve always simply thought myself to be weird. By defining the wander woman, Reynolds lets me know I’m not alone in my idiosyncratic madness; I feel most lost girls will have a similar response, and this is reason enough to read the book.

A bevy of practical tools, tips and exercises to help you reach your goals provide reasons to keep reading. Reynolds is a renowned life coach, corporate trainer and owner of three advanced degrees, so I trust her advice on self-discovery, effective communication and conscientious living. Some tips may work, some may not. I have a feeling this book’s meaning will change as you enter different stages of your life. But bottom line–fluffy mind games don’t exist in this book. Simply raw, real suggestions about how to become the best version of yourself.

A word of caution: this book is written with a slant towards the corporate world. Reynolds’ 100 survey participants had spent 10 years or more in the corporate world, and much of the advice is geared towards climbing the corporate ladder. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may find it difficult to relate to some parts of the book.

Also, it will take serious dedication to implement the advice in these pages. She recommends recruiting a “dialogue partner” to you accountable, or perhaps even hiring a life coach to guide you through the exercises, and I must agree with her with another resounding “Yes.” I didn’t do that, and I’ll  be honest: I’m already slipping.

However, for those two days that I focused on this book, I learned a lot about myself, the way I work and discovered a new perspective for professional situations. Its communication techniques and self-discovery exercises will help whether you’re an entrepreneur, a student or a VP at a Fortune 500. And if it’s true that the “unexamined life is not worth living,” then this book should have a place on your shelf.

You can read more about Wander Woman here. And more about Marcia’s prolific career here.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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