Ivanka Trump Book Review Roundup: ‘Women Who Work’ Is ‘Witlessly Derivative’

“More the aesthetic of a Pinterest board than a career guide,” NPR critic says of the first daughter’s self-help memoir

Ivanka Trump pink bathrobe
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In line with initial laymen reactions to Ivanka Trump’s new book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success,” the professional reviews of it are scathing.

An excerpt from the book, which appeared in Fortune on Tuesday, garnered some snarky replies — thanks to a passage in which she lamented the fact that she had to forgo massages when times got stressful during her father’s presidential campaign.

It was a moment that revealed that President Trump’s daughter is out of touch with the needs of regular working women — for whom the memoir was written. While Ivanka Trump seeks to reveal her secrets to success and some insights into her managerial style, many critics argued that her flawed perspective only becomes more apparent as readers delve deeper into the book.

But many critics also gave Trump a bit of a break, noting her good intentions, and considering that, because it was written before her father became U.S. president, omissions concerning politics are partially forgiven.

However, the first daughter, who has become the de facto symbol for feminism in the administration, does little to hide her privilege in “Women Who Work,” not only peppering it with anecdotes that can be jarring for middle class readers, but also borrowing quotes and pieces of advice from people like renowned primatologist Jane Goodall and — of all people — philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

“Women Who Work” is in book stores now. Check out excerpts from some of the reviews below.

Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR

“Many of the basic ideas in Trump’s book seem useful: centering your work around Your Passion does sound pretty great… Then again, one could have figured most of this out from any number of motivational speeches or career coaches. Often, the melange of quotes and how-to lists give the book more the aesthetic of a Pinterest board than a career guide.”

Jennifer Senior, New York Times

“Self-actualization is the all-consuming preoccupation of ‘Women Who Work.’ In this way, the book is not really offensive so much as witlessly derivative, endlessly recapitulating the wisdom of other, canonical self-help and business books… (Profiting handsomely off the hard work of others appears to be a signature Trumpian trait).”

Michelle Goldberg, Slate

“If anything proves that Ivanka Trump is her father’s daughter, it is that she has the audacity to present herself as a champion of women’s ambition and equality while serving in his administration. Her refusal to acknowledge any contradiction between her feminism, however superficial it is, and her father’s reactionary politics almost feels like gaslighting.”

Kate Taylor, Business Insider

“As I neared the end of “Women Who Work,” I found myself wondering — is Trump going to acknowledge, just once, the political realities that impact working women in the US?’

Beth Teitell, The Boston Globe

“The second thing I hoped to learn from Ivanka regards working smarter, not harder. I figured this would be an area of her expertise because she seems to swoop in just for the good parts. Panels with international leaders, walking off Air Force One, that kind of thing.

I guess she works a lot, but given the amount of time she must devote to eyeliner alone, you don’t get the feeling that Ivanka spends mornings stressing because the blouse she needs for a presentation is still at the dry cleaner, and if she darts out to get it she’ll be late getting the kids to day care, and then miss her bus to work.”

Fatima Goss Graves, US News and World Report

“It encourages women to work smarter, ask for what they want and draw boundaries at work and at home – suggesting that if women are ready to change themselves, success is at their fingertips. This can-do message sounds appealing and easy to accomplish.

But millions of women are in no position to follow any of this advice.”