Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Kicking Ass in a Corset" by Andrea Kayne

Publisher's Blurb: 

What can organizational leaders in business, education, government, and most any enterprise learn from an unemployed, unmarried woman who lived in patriarchal, misogynistic rural England more than 200 years ago? As it turns out, a great deal. In identifying the core virtues of Austen’s heroines—confidence, pragmatism, diligence, integrity, playfulness, and humility—Andrea Kayne uncovers the six principles of internally referenced leadership that, taken together, instruct women how to tap into a deep well-spring of personal agency and an internal locus of control no matter what is going on around them. Utilizing practical exercises, real-life case studies, and literary and leadership scholarship, Kicking Ass in a Corset maps out effective leadership that teaches readers how to tune out the external noise and listen to themselves so that they can truly live and lead from the inside out.

Publisher: University of Iowa Presss (September 15, 2021)
Paperback: 208 pages

My Review:

If you know me at all, you know I loves me some Jane Austen. I periodically reread my favorites, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, and this past year, I reread the six major titles with my book group on Litsy. So, a business book on leadership, using the main characters I have come to love seemed right up my alley. Kicking Ass in a Corset is also a quick and engaging read that brings together principles and qualities that when combined, make for a balanced and more effective leader. 

The six principles are 
  1. Confidence: Knowing your own self-worth  (Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Pragmatism: Responding to tumult with calm and acceptance and problem solving (Elinor Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility
  3. Diligence: Getting things through hard work and diligence (Anne Elliot, Persuasion)
  4. Integrity: Following your values and moral compass (Fanny Price, Mansfeld Park) 
  5. Playfulness: Retaining your passion and sense of wonder (Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey
  6. Humility: Be open and willing to learn from mistakes (Emma Woodhouse, Emma
Each chapter focuses on one of the principles and examples from the character who inspired it, along with present day examples of the qualities in a business setting. At the end of each chapter, Kayne outlines exercises and ways to put the principles into practice. I think Kicking Ass in a Corset is a bit of a niche business book. Although the advice can apply to anyone, it probably would hit best for young women starting out in their careers. I feel that a reader would get the most from this book by having at least a familiarity with Austen's characters which makes that segment even a little smaller. The author does do a good job of explaining the characters and their circumstances and stories though, so I think there is still good advice to take away, even if a reader is not an Austen fan. Overall, I enjoyed the book as it gives entertaining and often useful advice and also made me consider leadership and Jane Austen's work with fresh eyes. 


Author Notes: Andrea Kayne has spent her personal and professional life engaging with one basic question: How can we, as women, realize our own internal power both personally and professionally, no matter the constraints in the external world?

As Director of the Leadership Program at DePaul University College of Education, where she has spent the last twenty years. Andrea has taught, written, spoken, and consulted, all around the country and world, in the areas of empowered leadership, feminist leadership, emotionally intelligent leadership, constructive culture and conflict resolution, data-informed professional learning communities, and the area she has developed called Internally Referenced Leadership™. Andrea earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

She lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her husband and their beautiful blended family and, of course, her Pride and Prejudoodle, Addy. Find out more about Andrea on her websiteInstagram, and Twitter.
What dish could you pair this book with? How about some "excellent boiled potatoes" like this Hot New Potato and Parsley Salad from River Cottage Every Day. Mr. Collins of the Pride and Prejudice, 2005 version, would definitely approve.

Note: A review copy of Kicking Ass in a Corset was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.    

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here


  1. I always look forward to your book and food pairings! Thank you for being on this tour, this looks like something I really could have benefited from right out of college. Sara @ TLC Book Tours


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)