Whether read cover to cover, used as a workbook, or perused for specific advice or inspiration, TAKING CHARGE is a highly useful tool for women at all stages of self-development.


When asked why she wrote THELMA AND LOUSE, the female buddy film starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, Callie Khouri said, "I just got fed up with the passive role of women. They were never driving the story because they were never driving the car."

Like Khouri, author Joan Steinau Lester is determined to put women in the driver's seat of their personal, political and professional lives. Using engaging anecdotes and practical how-to's, she has contstructed a rather quirky "owner's manual" for a woman's life, complete with maps, tool kits and strategies for maneurvering around roadblocks. Indeed, Lester, cofounder of the [former] Equity Institute, a Berkeley-based consulting agency on diversity strategies, is a virtual Ms. Goodwrench of self-realization.

Lester deals with each of the three discrete aspects of a woman's life--home, work, community, to help women "navigate the road to power" in all of them..
One aspect of TAKING CHARGE deserves special mention: On the margin of each page, Lester features a quote from a notable woman...gathered from a diverse group. Author Florida Scott Maxwell offers this: "You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality."
Review by Susan Tifft, Executive Female


"Lester's book...shines in its practical strategies for women to achieve recognition." Publisher's Weekly.

"Lester's tome of 'feminist coping strategies,' peppered with humorous, helpful anecdotes, provides a lively jump-start to goal setting and attaining." Ms.

This practical book for women of all ages offers a ten-point plan for becoming more effective. TAKING CHARGE is essential reading; a valuable addition to any woman's reading list.

"Lester treats the bread-and-butter issues of career and life-goal-setting with unusual thoroughness. The choices posed by real-life situations are dissected with a clear-eyed focus." Executive Female

The expansion of American women's role within our society is one of the lasting achievements of the 20th century. Every generation has marveled at the rapid change of its period and the extraordinary challenge that this change presents. Surely, however, no change haas been as cosmic in its implications nor as sweeping in its effects as the change associated with a revision of the role of women.

Yet modern women have not accomplished this success without experiencing an undercurrent of uncertainty, doubt and disillusion: it is not obvious HOW to live as a liberated woman. We find ourselves defining and redefining our roles as workers, mothers, lovers and friends. Unrealistic expectations run rampant and the average woman finds herself simultaneously thrilled by increased opportunity and stymied by her own success ambivalence. TAKING CHARGE: EVERY WOMAN'S ACTION GUIDE TO PERSONAL, POLITICAL AND PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS offers proven, effective tools to hlep women find their way through the conflicting and confusing kaleidoscope of their demands and ambitions.

TAKING CHARGE is an action guide for women at any stage of their career or personal development to become empowered enough to take advantage of their potential. The book's unique format--it explores the issues that plague women through narrative, develops specific strategies in Tool Kits that accompany each point, and includes topics for group discussion--makes it equally useful for individuals and groups of women.

How many times a day do you say "I'm sorry?"

Do you often boost other's egos but shy away from taking credit when you've accomplished something great?

TAKING CHARGE will show you how to become more assertive and willing to applaud your own accomplishments. Over the past twenty years, Joan Steinau Lester has approached scores of dynamic female leaders--business owners, corportate VPs, government leaders and others. Through her ten-point plan aimed at improving women's professional, political and personal lives, she successfully helped each of them learn to assert their power.

Whether you're CEO of the company or the secretary to the CEO, it's time to take charge!

Lester takes readers on an imaginary 10-mile road with markers at each mile delineating the steps that should be taken along the way.

Starting on the road to success, she advises, "Remember who we are." By the time she gets you to the 10th marker, she's creative and optimistic. "Envision a new world," she says. But don't overlook milestone No. 3--"Get over being nice."

What takes "Taking Charge" out of the realm of the commonplace is her extensive research. Joan Baez, for example, noted, "You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can decide how you're going to live now."

Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, who praised Lester as a "Terrific writer," came up with this gem: "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astair did but she did it backwards and on high heels."

Bernice Johnson Reagon, curator and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock vocal ensemble, said, "We have to do whatever we have to do in order for there to be a new day. That means dealing with practical reality in a way that keeps you very close to the ground, always knowing what you have to deal with in the everyday sense...You understand that what you have to do is make up the difference, whatever that is."

Buoyed by a book like TAKING CHARGE, women should be better prepared to make up the difference, and take their rightful place in all aspects of America's society.

Selected Works

"A powerful story brilliantly capturing the complications of the mother-daughter relationship from both sides." --Marissa Moss, author of the bestselling Amelia's Notebook series
Selected as Teen Read of the Year by "Coming Together in Skokie," 2015. ***************************************** "In a fast-paced novel-within-a-novel, Nina's great-great-grandmother runs from slavery to freedom, her courage an inspiration to Nina. This multi-layered novel--part contemporary, part historical--is impossible to put down." --Elizabeth Partridge, award winning author of Dogtag Summer
Showcases the many facets of a woman--Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton--who remains an iconic torch-bearer for the Civil Rights and Women's Movements.
Diversity Classic Reissued, July, 2016 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * "This refreshing book captures what most miss--insightful lessons from personal encounters with diversity. Lester is a talented storyteller who shares her learning in an unpretentious way." Ann M. Morrison, author of The New Leaders. ******************************************* "Lester's generous voice sheds keen insight, humor and practical advice on the polarizing dilemmas of living with diversity." Urvashi Vaid
Offers proven, effective strategies for every woman, whether secretary or CEO. Provides encouragement and goal-setting guidelines. "Lucid...poignant."-- MS.