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  • Bob Burg

“Bob Burg is the greatest teacher of networking in the world ”

~ John Milton Fogg, author, The Greatest Networker in the World

Tina Fey’s Bossypants – Hysterical… and More!

July 9th, 2013 by Bob Burg

Bossypants Tina FeyI’ve never seen her show 30 Rock only because I don’t watch a whole lot of television. Other than assuming it had something to do with being about a TV show on NBC (hence the name 30 Rock…and I get to say “hence”) I knew little about it.

I enjoyed her work immensely both as head writer and Weekend Update news anchor on Saturday Night Live but mainly have had a long-time crush on her because she has two traits I find to be incredibly attractive in women who have beauty and brilliance.

Those traits would be…beauty and brilliance.

Tina Fey has been called, “The Thinking Man’s Sex Symbol.” I thought I made that term up but — like my other original thoughts — I didn’t.

I finally read her bestselling book, Bossypants. My timing is not always good. It’s been out for three years.

Ostensibly (which, like “hence” I write whenever the opportunity presents itself) it’s her biography with a lot of self-effacing, Fey-ish, hysterical comedy from one of the most talented and funny human beings on this planet, along with just a bit of how to succeed in a very sexist world and workplace without succumbing to the many landmines teaching.

Then again, not so fast. Indeed, it is a biography. And, it is really, really, really funny. (LOL-funny. No, make that ROTFL-funny. Wait, let’s go with ROTFLMAO-funny. However, to not upset anyone who believes the worst thing I ever say is “darn to heck” we’ll make believe the “A” doesn’t mean “ass.”)

But it’s definitely a book that is — in my opinion — very instructive. While it effectively makes the case that sexism still runs far more rampant than most of us men would like to think it does, it also provides a lot of wonderful mentorship for women to succeed in spite of it. And, like the author, it comes from a place of empowerment, not victimhood.

Early in the book, the author relates that from the time she became Executive Producer of 30 Rock she’s been asked “intelligent” questions such as, “Is it hard for you, being the boss? And, is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?” In typical Fey-style she continues, “You know, in that same way they say, ‘Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?’” After assuring us that it’s neither hard nor uncomfortable, she then provides a one-paragraph summation of how to be a great leader that would make for a wonderful premise of any really terrific book on leadership.

The language is somewhat coarse so parents should decide when their daughters are mature enough to read it. However, I believe that if enough young women were to learn these lessons they’d be more equipped to conquer their worlds and understand the intrinsic value they possess regardless of whether they look like the women on the cover of — ironically enough — most women’s magazines (that part is my commentary, not Fey’s).

Apparently, I’m one of the relatively few men who has read Bossypants because on page 179 she actually personally thanks me for buying it. Not by name, mind you, but by saying, “if you are a male…thank you for buying this book.” Yes, this is personal in the same way the magazine renewal notice addresses me as “Dear Subscriber” but I’ll take it.

I think all men should read it. First, we need to read about how dense we can be from time-to-time. More than that, we can laugh hysterically while realizing how dense we can be from time-to-time.

However, please don’t misconstrue (refer back to “hence” and “ostensibly”) this as a book that bashes men. Not one bit. She believes that — among other things — a strong father/father figure like her Dad, Don Fey, is a key ingredient to a young girl growing up to become a happy, confident and achievement-oriented woman.

This book is about Tina’s life, her struggles, her failures and successes, and about sexism that is bought into by men and women alike. I mean, she did write the movie, “Mean Girls.” I haven’t seen that one, either. Then again, I still haven’t seen E.T. As I said, my timing isn’t always the best.

Grabbing the book from one of the O’Hare Airport bookstores, I simply expected a fun read. I mean, the title is Bossypants — how profound could it be? Yet, it was extremely profound. And, it was so, SO FUNNY.

I tried not to laugh too much or too loudly. You see, when I laugh uncontrollably there comes with it a really strange wheezing sound which must be somewhat infectious because it causes other people to laugh, as well. Unfortunately, they are laughing at me, not with me. I also begin to panic a bit because I can’t stop and I can’t breathe. This happened before boarding and pretty much throughout the flight. Perhaps the book should come with a warning. It doesn’t. You’ll have to take your chances.

Whether just for some continuous, Fey-induced laughs or to learn some really important lessons on life, leadership and success; whether for you or for the women in your life, this is a book to buy and read.

Especially if you admire women who combine beauty and brilliance.

44 Responses to “Tina Fey’s Bossypants – Hysterical… and More!”
  1. Jean Kuhn said at 8:45 am on

    Thanks for the book report Bob, I will add that to my list, mostly though because you said “ass”, AND that made me laugh.

  2. Bob Burg said at 8:52 am on

    Jean: You must have misread something. I would never publicly say “ass.” D’oh!

  3. Bill Ellis said at 8:59 am on

    A funny and insightful review of a funny and insightful book. I think it’s incredible that Ms. Fey personally thanked you for your purchase…now THAT’s an impressive way to stroke a person’s ego :)

  4. Bob Burg said at 9:04 am on

    Bill: That WAS very kind and thoughtful of her, wasn’t it? But, it really drives me wild to be called “subscriber.” :-)

  5. Stacy Shelton said at 9:59 am on

    Bob, thanks so much for recommending this book.It is on my bookshelf now as my husband is a huge fan of Tina’s (like you he has a thing for her) and he has read it. It has now moved up to one of my must reads. Anything that can help us succeed in this male driven culture is good. And hopefully it will provide some lessons I can pass on to my daughter who has recently been getting an education on what being a woman can mean when buying a car lol.

  6. Bob Burg said at 10:04 am on

    Stacy: It makes sense that Doug would have a thing for Tina. He married YOU, didn’t he? And, knowing you for more than 30 years, I can say that – like Tina – “you are beautiful and brilliant. What’s not to have a thing for?” :-) Meanwhile, sorry to hear Brea is dealing with that age old issue. Do things like that still exist? Apparently, yes.

  7. Christy Sacco said at 10:04 am on

    Our timing is right in lock step. I also bought and read this for a very recent flight. It was so much more than I expected. All I really expected was a fun read, not some solid life lessons.

    Christy

  8. Bob Burg said at 10:07 am on

    Christy: Indeed, wasn’t that a GREAT surprise?!

  9. Stacy Shelton said at 10:11 am on

    Bob, you are too kind. Thank you so much for your vote of confidence in me. Yes, unfortunately it still exists. We are trying to get her a different car and they offered us $2000 below KBB on her car and asked us to pay sticker on theirs lol. I told her we must have “Dumb blond) stamped on our foreheads. Unfortunately for them, we do our homework. Needless to say, no deal lol.

  10. Bob Burg said at 10:14 am on

    Stacy: No, I know both the Mom and the daughter and neither of you have that stamped on your forehead. His actions are about him, not about either of you. Glad that there was ‘no deal.’ In a free-market based economy, those actions should not be rewarded with a sale.

  11. Shelly Rice said at 11:31 am on

    Did Bob Burg just say ass? Gotta love that!

    Last year I heard a statistic that the top 1% of the U.S. CEO’s read on average, 60 business books a year. This lead to me setting a goal to read at least one business book every week in 2013. I’ll be adding Ms. Fey’s book to my list, thank you.

  12. Bob Burg said at 11:34 am on

    Shelly: Believe it or not…I did say that ;-). And, yes, her book is – in my opinion – a book on leadership and success. Good choice, Shelly!

  13. Doug Wagner said at 4:21 pm on

    Hello, has anyone seen the real Bob Burg? :)

    So enjoyed your foray into comedy. Needed the ROFL and LMAO. In reality though I never laugh down there; more an upper body experience but I guess everyone is different.

    Excellent post and will have to read it for the laughs and lessons.

  14. Bob Burg said at 4:28 pm on

    Doug: LOL Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. And, yes…keep off those floors! :-)

  15. Nice review! This one’s on my list now. Sounds like a fun read with plenty of lessons. Everything one could possibly want from a read.

  16. Bob Burg said at 7:22 pm on

    Matt: Thank you for your kind feedback. I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it greatly!

  17. Marianne Kipper said at 5:39 am on

    On my list now too!!! Thank you so much! I was there, trying to find my own way :) now can laugh about all those memories :)

  18. John Counsel said at 7:10 am on

    Bob, add me to the loooong list of admirers of Tina Fey, too. She’s one of those constant delights in life — the ones that grab your attention for one reason, then unexpectedly surprise and delight you for something quite different.

    I used to think it was because she reminds me so much of my wife and our four adult daughters. She’s bright, sassy, funny, witty, profound and disturbing, and the packaging is always an added bonus. But I just realised something that I hadn’t noticed before: she’s actually a lot like me!

    Like so many others throughout history, we disguise our intelligence and perceptiveness behind a distracting mask of humour and tom-foolery — much like the court jesters of feudal times — so that we’re safer from the fragile egos and mindless reactions of those in immediate power, while still having the opportunity to voice our views and opinions for the attention of those smart enough to get the real jokes.

    A revealing moment for me was in her role as the frazzled music teacher in “Mean Girls”. In the midst of seeming chaos toward the climax of the movie, Fey’s character suddenly reveals a riveting moment of clarity and humanity and, for just a fleeting moment, we’re given a glimpse into a much more complex, appealing and warm individual.

    I remember being frustrated that I didn’t have the chance to get to know the character better, but also being bewitched by the writer’s depth of insight — then realising, at the end, that the writer was Fey herself. I was instantly smitten, and the fascination hasn’t dwindled.

    Bravo, Tina Fey! :)

  19. Bob Burg said at 7:31 am on

    Marianne: Thank YOU. And, my pleasure. Enjoy the book!

  20. Bob Burg said at 7:32 am on

    John: G’day to you and to all our Aussie mates. Greatly enjoyed your comments. Thank you for sharing that with us. Terrific!!

  21. Geneva said at 7:35 am on

    Ok Bob,
    You’ve had me ROTFLOL just reading your post! The perfect way to start the day! Actually I felt I was on the plane watching you wheeze & panic!! Toooo funny! I like Tina Fey, & appreciate her sharing more than just TV media by writing this. I’ve recently started a 4 wk intro to a multi community, denominational & cultural Divorce Care Group. I’m always searching for books that can help me portray every aspect of how women/men can & must see themselves post divorce. Tina’s book sounds like a perfect reference. Success, in any of life’s categories, is always better accomplished when we stop being so stinking serious & learn to laugh!

    Thanks for the delightful review!! You ROCK!
    g

  22. Jeff said at 8:02 am on

    Hi Bob,
    Tina Fey is a hoot and a brilliant writer. And yes, I do agree with your two criteria. I look forward to reading it if nothing more than to be thanked for anything-LOL!
    Jeff

  23. Bob Burg said at 8:07 am on

    Geneva: Wow – thank you for your very kind feedback. Much appreciated (even your visions of me wheezing and panicking). :-) Enjoy Tina’s book!

  24. Bob Burg said at 8:08 am on

    Jeff: Thank you. Enjoy. If you’re like me, you’ll be an even bigger “Tina fan” after reading the book!

  25. Matilda Rapp said at 8:41 am on

    Hi Bob After reading your book review, I’m going to buy Ms. Fey’s book …Thank You for your post I truly enjoy it! Best Wishes!

    Matilda :)

  26. Bob Burg said at 8:46 am on

    Matilda: Thank YOU for your kind feedback! Enjoy the book!

  27. Linda Ryan said at 9:16 am on

    You said ASS!!! Publicly!!!
    I’ll never forget the day we had the conversation about cursing (or as you refer to it, “cussing”) from the stage. I was in complete agreement with what you were saying… until you told me you considered “crap” a curse. I remember thinking “Holy CRAP! He must think I’m a foul-mouthed hussy!”
    But seriously, I think this may be my all-time favorite Bob Burg Blog. While I have the honor of KNOWING what a (or is it an?) hilarious goofball you truly are, it’s never come through like this in a blog post, as far as I’ve read. I vote (we ARE voting, right?) you read and recommend more hysterical books on leadership, business and sales, so we can laugh and learn at the same time. :-D

  28. Bob Burg said at 9:21 am on

    Linda: You’re right. I did say A**. (Heh hehheh heh.) Tina obviously inspired me. ;-) Thank you for your kind words about the post. So glad you enjoyed it. Then again, I might not know my A** from my E****.

  29. Craig D Chamberlain said at 10:19 am on

    Bob, you write like I think. We are both in Soooo much trouble! :-D 8)

  30. Bob Burg said at 10:32 am on

    Craig: LOL!!

  31. LOL… Love it Bob’s true humor is out… For those who haven’t seen him turn it on and Laugh out loud, you don’t know what You are missing. I think Bob we need a Demo Reel for others to see that side of You… LM_O

    Unfortunately many people think a Wise Mouth Comedian can’t be intelligent or have great wisdom to impart. Having spend much time in the entertainment biz and on set with some “A” List folks, I can say that stereotype is like saying all _____ are…. They are just people, and some of them are just BRILLIANT, very Deep, Spiritual, and wise beyond measure and Tina Fey is one of them.

    She is a hoot, wise, and brilliant, so glad You enjoyed the ride – the book
    And as usual Bob You make reading about a book extremely intriguing so that others get why the book is such a valuable read.

  32. Bob Burg said at 12:59 pm on

    Carly: Thank you. That’s very kind. And, no…we definitely don’t need that reel. ;-)

  33. Doug Wagner said at 1:38 pm on

    Carly, my reading list is growing faster than my capacity to read. I blame people like Bob who keep recommending great books. I also refuse to take any personal responsibility for my issues like having too many books to read and not enough time. I blame the authors and the walking personal ambassadors, and the Internet and the bookstores…

  34. Bob Burg said at 1:50 pm on

    Doug: I blame the Illuminati.

  35. Doug Wagner said at 1:53 pm on

    The zombies are probably in on it as well. At least I feel like one after staying up all night reading a good book.

  36. Adelinde said at 6:22 pm on

    Read excerpts of this book specifically “My Honeymoon” ! reads like a must have !!

    This brought back memories of my never to be repeated honeymoon. My then husband couldn’t
    fly either that unforgettable night ! my mother slept in the same bed between my husband &
    myself the new bride.

    You see my mother travelled quite a distance for our wedding, my husband forgot to book her
    into a Hotel he obviously had bigger things on his mind. It was too late to book mum anywhere !

    His punishment ? he had to share our honymoon bed with his mother-in-law sleeping in the middle.
    Now there was another real “Bossy Boots” God bless her soul…..
    Needless to say my husband never ever forgot another booking…………….

  37. Bob Burg said at 7:48 pm on

    Adelinde: Thank you for sharing. Other than that, no comment. I mean, really…no comment. ;-)

  38. Lynn Sanders said at 11:45 pm on

    Hey Bob! What a great review — with the true Bob Burg crazy humor filtering through…
    Too bad I missed you in Chicago. We were coming back into O’Hare as you were leaving.
    I’m glad to know about this great book from Tina Fey. It will go on the “must read” list. I also think Tina is also both brilliant, beautiful, and to add a new twist on a vocabulary word — humorously astute. Her savvy nature has always impressed me. I bet the airline passengers had a fun ride with you…

  39. Bob Burg said at 7:41 am on

    Lynn: Thank you. I’m sorry I missed you, as well. Yes, you’ll love Tina’s book. And I agree with you and love the new term. She is that, indeed! Not sure about the other passengers, though. I tried not to make too much eye contact with them as I was leaving. ;-)

  40. Mattie said at 12:51 pm on

    Hi Bob it has been a while since I’ve seen you at an event as always you are willing to share and be a blessing to others. I will add this book to my list to read .
    Blessings on your day

  41. Bob Burg said at 12:54 pm on

    Mattie: Thank you, and great to hear from you!

  42. Kelly Fanelli said at 5:20 pm on

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for the book suggestion. I will definitely take a look at it! I want to know what your oh-so-brilliant feline roommate thinks of it?
    Hope all’s well with you!
    Kelly

  43. Bob Burg said at 5:30 pm on

    Kelly: LOL. I have a feeling you’ll love the book. As for Liberty, she never lets on what she’s thinking…unless it’s hunger.

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