Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: What I Told My Daughter by Nina Tassler, with Cynthia Littleton

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from Simon and Schuster, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

As moms, we now understand what our mothers were trying to tell us as we were growing up.

Be it understanding ourselves, how to let go of grief or stress, or how to achieve success,
we listened to what our motehrs said, and interalized it, even if we didn't show it.

Call it the mother-daughter relationship status quo, but we've all been there when suddenly we said to ourselves "Mom was right!"

This book asks moms from different areas, to speak their words of wisdom to the next generation. 

what i told my daughter cover


In What I Told My Daughter, entertainment executive Nina Tassler has brought together a powerful, diverse group of women—from Madeleine Albright to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Dr. Susan Love to Whoopi Goldberg—to reflect on the best advice and counsel they have given their daughters either by example, throughout their lives, or in character-building, teachable moments between parent and child.

A college president teaches her daughter, by example, the importance of being a leader who connects with everyone—from the ground up, literally—in an organization. A popular entertainer and former child star urges her daughter to walk in her own truth, to not break glass ceilings if she yearns to nurture a family as a stay-at-home mother or to abandon a career if that’s her calling. One of the country’s only female police chiefs teaches her daughter the meaning of courage, how to respond to danger but more importantly how not to let fear stop her from experiencing all that life has to offer. A bestselling writer who has deliberated for years on empowering girls, wonders if we’re unintentionally leading them to believe they can never make mistakes, when “resiliency is more important than perfection.”

“Working on this book has been nothing less than a revelation for me,” Tassler writes. “I never fully appreciated the strength of the emotional and intellectual foundation provided by my mother’s teachings until the essays collected here gave me insights into the challenges that others have faced. The order of presentation in this book seeks to both accentuate that diversity and reinforce the universality of motherhood. Underneath the divisive labels that are often affixed to our jobs—working mom, tiger mom, helicopter mom, soccer mom, et. al.—we are all simply women trying to do our best to raise the next generation of empowered leaders….The common thread in all of these tales is the extra layer of responsibility that mothers have to guide their daughters to be empowered, to be confident and to make the right choices for them regardless of societal pressures,” says Nina.

Contributors include
 Geena Davis, Cecile Richards, Dolores Huerta, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Peggy Orenstein, Debora Black, Ayelet Waldman, Pat Benatar, Whoopi Goldberg, Dr. Susan Love, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandra Pelosi, Marie Osmond, Dr. Juliet Garcia, Jehan Sadat, Ph.D, Joanna Kerns, Madeleine Albright, Gloria Estefan, Nannerl O. Keohane, Jennifer Dulski, Dr. Marcia McNutt, Pamela Fryman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Brooke Shields, Laura Bush, Mona Sinha, Gloria Allred, Joy Marcus, Judy Vredenburgh, Sharon Osbourne, Beverly Johnson, Michelle King, Dr. Karen Antman, MD, Dr. Amy Antman Gelfand, MD, Mary Steenburgen, Kimberley Hatchett, Cheryl Saban, C. Noel Bairey Merz, Alex Guarneschelli, Dana Walden, Mia Hamm, Margaret Abe-Koga, Roma Downey, Chirlane McCray, Blythe Danner, Sheila Bair, Ruth W. Messinger, Norah O’Donnell, Donna de Varona, Nancy Josephson, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Jeanne Newman, and Christine Baranski.


Some of my favorite artists are in this book, like Pat Benatar and Gloria Estefan, so I was interested to see what they would tell their daughters compared to say Madeline Albright or Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But what I found was all fifty of the mothers had the same running thread in their thoughts: wanting the best for our daughters. It doesn't matter how achieved the author is, she wants her daughter to be happy and fulfilled. While some of the essays are very 'liberal' in tone, many are surprising. Like Marie Osmond's mother telling her to break off her engagement, or Brooke Shields trying to becoming known as the best 'gift wrapper' of all the moms at her daughters school, not as a famous actress. It's the little things in these essays that strike you- no matter how famous or reknowned the author is, they struggle at managing career and motherhood, and trying to give their daughters the best life they can. Which just proves how universal motherhood is.

This would be a lovely book to give as a baby shower present to a new mother to be, to offer her hope and guidance, for the very hard job a head of her! It would also be a great graduation gift idea, to offer wisdom to the coed heading off on her own! We highly recommend it.

A portion of the proceeds from WHAT I TOLD MY DAUGHTER will be donated to two organizations devoted to nurturing leadership skills in young women: Girls Inc. and the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign.

About the Author

Nina Tassler  recently stepped down as the chairman of CBS Entertainment. She has nurtured some of the most popular shows in television, including The Big Bang Theory, How I Met YourMother, ER, and the critically acclaimed The Good Wife. She also helped shepherd the global phenomena CSI and NCIS to the screen. Tassler serves on the board for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Boston University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Jerry Levine, and two children, Matthew and Alice.

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