Darling You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise to Ignore on Your Way Up

Posted November 30, 2017 in Latest News & Insights

By: Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk

Reviewed By: Shelby Gobbo

The Premise: Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk talk about all things ‘blocking’ the road to the top for the modern woman in Darling You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise to Ignore on Your Way Up. Kestin and Vonk share personal accounts of their journey and climb to the ‘top’ as women in advertising. Their unconventional story of how they shaped their success makes their story unique, but relatable to not only women, but all individuals hungry for success and eager to change stereotypes and challenges in the workplace.

Darling You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise to Ignore on Your Way Up is designed to help women step out and speak up. It’s a candid and catchy read that highlights the journey two women were on as they shared the leadership role of Chief Creative Officers at Ogilvy Toronto.

Kestin and Vonk begin by illustrating their success with their client Dove and how they challenged traditional advertising and used science to sell.  By using the litmus test on the Dove soaps to demonstrate its gentleness, they were able to hang on to and own a key differentiator for the brand, at a time when the Dove soap patent was expiring. From there, Kestin and Vonk lean in to explain their accolades and awards in the advertising industry and how they became big names in the industry.  They launch into an array of different chapters, or as they call it, ‘rules to be broken’ like: Mentoring is an Act of Charity, Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, Networking is for Men, and To Win You Have to Play the Game to name a few.  

As we reach the end of the book, Kestin and Vonk take us to what I think, are some of the juiciest topics circulating in the workplace today. One of my favourite chapters, Networking is for Men, Kestin and Vonk do a great job of illustrating some of the burdens of networking, but bring it into a new light – a necessity in this day and age. This chapter is so relatable for those who don’t get energized from ‘making small talk with strangers’, but forces the reader to view networking and the ‘how’ of networking in a different light. They highlight the hidden behaviours that allow you to network – even though you may have not realized you were doing so.

The Bottom-line: Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk give a no ‘bull$h!t’ guide to breaking the rules to get to the top. The book highlights their candid journey, along with the mistakes they’ve made, the successes they’ve had, and how most of their success was due to their unconsciously breaking the rules. Kestin and Vonk illustrate how they have had success, and by the books, were indeed successful, but still struggled with the all too ‘traditional’ issues of women in the workplace. So what’s the bottom-line? It’s ok to break the rules; in fact, breaking the rules may get you to the top. Listening to the ‘can’ts’ won’t move the needle, you have to speak up.

Recommendation: Although Darling You Can’t Do Both is aimed at the modern working woman seeking her way to the top through the battles of gender biases, stereotypes and work-life balance, the book shares lessons for all and focuses on issues that everyone can relate to. Give it a read!


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