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The Mona Lisa Stratagem: The Art of Women, Age, and Power    by Harriet Rubin order for
Mona Lisa Stratagem
by Harriet Rubin
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD

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*   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Harriet Rubin, the founder of Doubleday's business imprint, Currency, has written The Mona Lisa Strategem, promoting the idea that women become more powerful as they age, not less. This book follows the same format as the author's previous book published ten years ago, The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women. Using real and invented famous women as her examples, she presents ten tactics that illustrate how a woman over the age of forty-five can achieve strength and power.

The book is presented as a series of tactics in the form of chapters. Each describes a specific characteristic that a truly powerful older woman will use to increase her position or maturity. Unfortunately, the advice and definitions for each tactic are vague in the extreme, and difficult to follow logically as read in each chapter. We are told things like: 'With an older woman, all admirers become young again' or 'Maturity is a healing by creating a sense for others that they may be mothered again.' These types of statements are simplistic opinions, and as such, don't offer anything that can be put into practical use.

The Mona Lisa Stratagem is more of a cheerleading book for women - designed to make them feel better about aging - than a self-help book with concrete strategies to put into use. It would be best for women looking for a light, positive overview of aging and power, rather than a serious presentation of feminine maturity.

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