Date of Award


Degree Name

Communication Studies


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Susan Gilpin

Second Advisor

Joshua Averbeck

Third Advisor

Barbara Tarter


An emergence of top successful women has developed within the workforce, and more are expected to join that group as time continues (Eagly and Carli, 2003; Sklaroff, 2007). This push to the top has encouraged women to turn to self-help books to gain knowledge and insight on moving up and becoming a leader. Dozens of these books claim to provide the help women need to advance in their workplaces. How can potential readers choose the book most appropriate for their needs? This thesis examines two types of self-help books (Bergsma, 2008) -- problem-focused and growth-oriented -- and how these books are influencing women to be leaders. It analyzes two female workplace self-help books through the method of discourse analysis. The problem-focused text is represented through Gail Evans’ (2000) Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know About Success that Women Need to Learn. The second type, growth-oriented, is represented through Kelly Cutrone’s (2010) If You Have to Cry, Go Outside and Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. The analysis reveals self-confidence and a strong sense of identity are at the core of the messages of both books.


Women executives.

Leadership in women.