Whitaker, Leslie 1940-
WHITAKER, Leslie 1940-
Born 1940, in Detroit, MI; married: husband's name, Michael. Education: Bryn Mawr College, 1979.
Home—Oak Park, IL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Little, Brown & Co., 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
Writer. Time, New York, NY, business reporter.
(With The Beardstown Ladies Investment Club) The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide: How We Beat the Stock Market—and How You Can Too, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1994.
(With Maye Smith and Faye Hudson) Maye and Faye's Building & Loan: the Story of a Remarkable Sisterhood, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Ginger Applegarth) Wake Up and Smell the Money: Fresh Starts at Any Age—and Any Season of Your Life, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Elizabeth Austin) The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating: How to Get What You Want at the Bargaining Table, Little Brown (Boston, MA), 2001.
Contributor to Self, Redbook, McCall's, and Modern Maturity.
Leslie Whitaker has written four books on money management and investing. In 1994, Whitaker, a former business reporter, struck gold thanks to The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide. It wasn't the book's stock-market tips that moved Whitaker's career forward, but rather she got a leg up from coauthoring the book with the Illinois investment club.
The sixteen members of the Beardstown Ladies Investment Club range in age from forty-one to eighty-two and include a hog farmer and school principal; with Whitaker, they unfold their secret to being a successful investment club. Eventually the club had to recant on some of their claims of financial success (instead of the impressive 23.4% the book stated, it turned out the Ladies' annual return rate was a more normal 10-15%). But at its publication the book was a media sensation, due in no small part to the folksy charm of its subjects. Whitaker was praised by Booklist's Barbara Jacobs for capturing the voices of the Ladies, making "good choices in not disturbing natural phrases and language structures." Joseph Barth from Library Journal wrote, "Since many clubs fail, their practical advice might be useful to others considering such a venue." A Publishers Weekly critic remarked that the guide is "well-organized" and "down-to-earth."
Whitaker's follow-up, Maye and Faye's Building & Loan, stuck with, according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the "folksy and charming" angle in telling the success story of two seventy-something twin sisters. Coauthors Maye Smith and Faye Hudson rose from bank tellers in the 1950s and 1960s to bank president and vice-president in the 1980s. From there they managed to lead their West Virginia savings and loan to financial strength at a time when most S&Ls were failing. The Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that "Women who despair of breaking the glass ceiling will find this account particularly heartening." Joseph Barth at Library Journal agreed that the tale "provides an intimate window" on the sisters' wisdom, "and highlights the rewards of a steadfast dedication to one's work."
In 1999, Whitaker shifted from sharing heartening profiles of individuals' achievements to coauthoring "how-to" guide books. The first, Wake Up and Smell the Money, presents financial planner Ginger Applegarth's tips for managing jobs, paychecks, and retirement funds at different stages of life. The guide's advice was praised by David Rouse of Booklist as "solid and sensible," and a Publishers Weekly critic declared Wake Up and Smell the Money "an appealing and practical primer" for readers of any age.
In 2001, rather than helping others tell their story or share their advice, Whitaker and fellow journalist Elizabeth Austin wrote their own self-help book, The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating. Emphasizing three keys to negotiating—empathizing, listening, and interpreting—Whitaker and Austin offer tips on dealing with everyone from baby-sitters to CEOs. A Publishers Weekly reviewer enjoyed the book's "upbeat style" and use of "morale-boosting examples," but was left cold by the "familiarity of much of the advice."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1995, Barbara Jacobs, review of The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide, p. 786; March 15, 1999, David Rouse, review of Wake Up and Smell the Money, p. 1264; March 1, 2001, Barbara Jacobs, review of The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating, p. 1213.
Library Journal, January, 1995, Joseph Barth, review of The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide, p. 114; March 15, 1997, Joseph Barth, review of Maye and Faye's Building and Loan, p. 71.
Publishers Weekly, November 21, 1994, review of The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide, p. 64; December 16, 1996, review of Maye and Faye's Building and Loan, p. 49-50; February 22, 1999, review of Wake Up and Smell the Money, p. 73; February 26, 2001, review of The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating, p. 72.
Book Browser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (June 12, 2001), Harriet Klausner, review of The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating.
Time Warner Bookmark,http://www.liveworld.com/TimeWarnerBookmark/ (Septermber 7, 2003), online chat transcript.*