Reading List: Finerman’s Rules

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: June 22, 2013

In this all-purpose primer for achieving professional and personal success, hedge fund executive Karen Finerman tackles everything from fashion to finance to fertility treatments. The president of New York-based Metropolitan Capital Advisors—a fund with nearly $400 million in assets—and a mother of four (clearly the treatments worked), Finerman shares her experiences and observations as a woman working in a male-dominated environment. She relates how she and female colleagues suffered professional setbacks because of their insecurities, discomfort with claiming credit for achievements and tendency to take criticism too personally, and she suggests strategies to avoid those pitfalls. Some advice in the book is, Finerman admits, “profoundly obvious.” Her travel cheat sheet for “everyone aspiring to succeed,” suggests “never have anyone else carry your luggage. Pack only what you need.” And then there’s advice that some will find unsettling. She suggests that women gravitate to areas of business not traditionally female-friendly. Her reasoning: “If you’re a stock analyst covering Revlon or Polo, you’ll be one of many women in the room but if you’re covering John Deere or United Technologies, you get more CEO face time…. In real life, if you are a 7 out of 10 on the hotness scale, you’re probably an 11 at a ball-bearing convention.” She also confesses to indulging in low-key flirting but not with people who report to her. Agree or disagree, she gets credit for putting it out there. Finerman's Rules will inevitably be compared to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandbergs’s best-seller, Lean In. And there are similarities. Both are influential and powerful. Both had the financial means to “outsource” tasks they didn’t have time or desire to do (cooking, in Finerman’s case) and to hire the support they needed. But clearly there are major differences in the two books in substance and approach. As the subtitle of Finerman’s book telegraphs, her tone and style are chattier and less academic than Sandberg’s. It’s the kind of advice your mother might give you.

by Karen Finerman


Grand Central Publishing, $27