Thank you to Trish Collins at TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour for Kicking Ass in a Corset by Andrea Kayne! I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Published September 15, 2021
What can organizational leaders in business, education, government, and most any enterprise learn from an unemployed, unmarried woman who lived in patriarchal, misogynistic rural England more than 200 years ago? As it turns out, a great deal. In identifying the core virtues of Austen’s heroines—confidence, pragmatism, diligence, integrity, playfulness, and humility—Andrea Kayne uncovers the six principles of internally referenced leadership that, taken together, instruct women how to tap into a deep well-spring of personal agency and an internal locus of control no matter what is going on around them. Utilizing practical exercises, real-life case studies, and literary and leadership scholarship, Kicking Ass in a Corset maps out effective leadership that teaches readers how to tune out the external noise and listen to themselves so that they can truly live and lead from the inside out. - from Goodreads
I'm not generally one for books about leadership, but I was really interested in finding out how author and professor Andrea Kayne could apply the writings of Jane Austen to a modern leadership style. Using Austen's heroines, Kayne has identified six core personal characteristics that women can use to become better leaders.
It might seem a little unorthodox to look at books written 200 years ago by an unmarried woman and build a leadership style around them, but the values Kayne has pulled from the books are timeless. Confidence, logic/practicality, diligence, integrity, playfulness, and humility - these are the traits Kayne has identified in Austen's heroines that became the tenets of her internally referenced leadership style, which focuses on using your inner strength and values, instead of outside forces, to inform how you act as a leader.
Each chapter is devoted to a different character and uses quotes from the texts and various analyses of Austen's writings to describe how the trait exemplified by the character can contribute to being a better leader. Although sometimes the jargon got a little overwhelming, for the most part the writing is succinct and accessible. Kayne also incorporates the stories of real women who either embody these traits or were able to learn them, showing the real-world applications of her theories.
Even if you're not necessarily interested in becoming a better leader, I think this book would still be interesting. For Jane Austen fans, it's intriguing to see how her books are still relevant today and how her characters can inspire women from all walks of life. The six traits identified by Kayne can also be a starting point for people looking to make personal growth and help them better react to situations in their own lives.