Dear Ivanka-


You are the busiest First Daughter in the history of the United States of America and can wear that badge of honor prominently on your designer clothes. You know, the clothes that you sell that bare your name and are probably NOT made in the U.S.A.

I decided to write to you because of all the press surrounding your latest book, WOMEN WHO WORK: REDEFINING THE RULES FOR SUCCESS. So, let me start out by letting you know that I’m NOT a woman who works, and I’m not the child of a billionaire. I know… Sad! But that’s OK. I’m happily married, and a dad of the stay-at-home variety, who also works from  home. #blessed

Not only have I read The New York Times, Slate, and The New Yorker reviews on your book, but I also watched the episode of ABC’s The View where Whoopi Goldberg discussed your book: “…(Ivanka) uses a Toni Morrison quote about the devastating impacts of Black slavery to start a chapter called ‘working smarter’ that asks, ‘are you a slave to time or the master of it?’” The studio audience groans as Whoopi lowers and shakes her head while her co-hosts try to decipher the undecipherable. Ivanka, I know you didn’t mean to be mean and heartless. You’re just sort of out of touch with reality, so let’s just chalk it up to a bad quote choice on your part and bad editing on your publisher’s. I forgive you.

But what I can’t forgive is that you wrote the book in the first place. Your agenda is very transparent. You’re just using your “success” and the potential success of this book as a tool to help enhance your “lifestyle” brand and bank account. Enough!

You’re just so busy in the White House lending an ear and a brain to your daddy. I get it. I do. He needs you, bigly. So, I think you need  to just focus on your First Daughter duties in conjunction with being the best mom and wife you can be. I know you wrote the book BEFORE you became the First Daughter but you’ve got way too much on your plate to promote a book where you supply women who work with personal stories of your success mish-mashed with inspirational quotes from Oprah, Gandhi and Maya Angelou. As you have said: “Balance implies a scale which never stays in balance for very long. So rather, I try to make sure that my life is generally architected around the priorities that I set for myself.” Readjust those priorities, Ivanka and stop using ‘architect’ as a verb (Thank you, Samantha Bee, for pointing that out).

Since I know a great many moms who work, and I have an amazingly smart wife who works, how about I dole out the advice? No, this isn’t an attempt to mansplain… Rather, I want to give advice to families who work in the real world (not the world where Anna Wintour calls you directly to offer you a job out of college). While I’m at it, I’ll save some trees and break down my advice into 10 easy to follow points (in no particular order). Deal? OK. Thanks!

  1. Be a good communicator by being honest and direct.
  2. Be willing to re-invent yourself. It keeps everything fresh.
  3. There’s NO such thing as PERFECT, and that’s perfectly fine.
  4. Feel free to lean in and just know, it’s OK to lean back… But, balance is key.
  5. Be generous… with your time, with your wallet, and with your heart.
  6. Less screen time and more face time (as in face-to-face time in reality)
  7. Listen. Really listen.
  8. You can learn just as much, if not more, from your mistakes than from your successes.
  9. Recognize your weaknesses and hone your strengths.
  10. Smile often and laugh (at yourself more than at others) because life is short.

Sure, some might view this advice as overly simplistic, but by reading this letter and not buying your book, I have already saved many working women (and hopefully a few men) money and time. And by doing so, these people who work are ALREADY “redefining their own success.”


Paul Greenstone


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