Ivanka Trump during a roundtable discussion on women entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Ivanka Trump releases her new book “Women Who Work,” on May 2, 2017, seeking to fend off ethics concerns by declining to attend promotional events and promising to donate profits to charity. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB
US First Daughter Ivanka Trump revived ethics concerns Tuesday by publishing a self-help book for working women, albeit peppered with anecdotes likely to jar on those outside the moneyed elite.
“Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success” was released simultaneously in hardback, ebook, 497-minute audio download and CD, Donald Trump’s favorite child sitting on the cover in a dark frock.
The millionaire mother of three, assistant to the president and wife of White House advisor Jared Kushner, says she wrote the tome, published by Penguin business imprint Portfolio, before her father’s shock election.
She took leave from the family real estate business and her eponymous clothing line in January. She is now an unpaid federal employee, with an office in the West Wing, who fulfills duties traditionally carried out by a first lady.
The purpose of the book, she writes, is to empower others with skills she has learned in matters as diverse as starting companies, negotiating, maximizing your influence at work and “helping change the system to make it better for women.”
The text is peppered with quotations from the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, business leaders Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg and Richard Branson, even former secretary of state Colin Powell and her venture capitalist brother-in-law.
Among other women she cites as inspirations are Umber Ahmad, an entrepreneur from a Pakistani family who spent a decade on Wall Street before setting up a bakery.
The volume offers a glimpse into the gilded world of a 35-year-old woman thought — with her husband — to still hold investments worth up to $740 million, beyond the daily struggles facing millions of middle- or working-class working women.
Despite several acknowledgements recognizing her privilege, she makes only fleeting reference to a nanny.
For many an aspiring fashionista, there is the galling revelation that Anna Wintour, the legendary editor of Vogue, telephoned her in person to offer her a job while she was still at university — a job she turned down.
– ‘Ethics rules’ –
At extremely busy times, such as her father’s presidential campaign, she admits: “I wasn’t treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care,” writing there was time only for work and family.
She references her joy at spending weekends “at our country home in New Jersey,” her love of transcendental meditation and shares tips on treating your children to a “spa bath:” run the shower for steam, play rain forest music and lower the lights.
Trump, whose glossy family photographs on social media showcase a carefully curated image, reveals that she shared the first picture of her daughter only after being snapped by paparazzi because she did not want the first one “to be sold to the press.”
She justified sharing a photograph of herself digging in the garden, “hair in a messy ponytail, dirt on my cheek” thinking it “might be helpful” to “debunk the superwoman myth.”
Trump was pre-paid an advance for the book, but has tried to fend off concerns that she is profiting from public office by promising to donate further profits to charity and announcing that she would not go on a promotional tour.
“In light of government ethics rules, I want to be clear that this book is a personal project. I wrote it at a different time in my life,” she wrote on Facebook.
She did nevertheless reference the book and her charitable grants in a post to her 3.7 million Twitter followers on Tuesday, as well as on her Facebook page.
The book closes with her often-stated desire for the United States to enshrine paid leave and affordable high-quality childcare, but without any concrete blueprint on how that might be introduced.
It remains unclear how the book will sell. Her clothing line was dumped by some department stores under pressure from political opponents of her father demanding a boycott of Trump products.
Her first book “The Trump Card,” published in 2009, was a bestseller.