The House, and How to Run It

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Common Reader: A Journal of the Essay


Ball’s portrait of Pelosi’s life in politics is a detailed and exhaustive exploration of Pelosi’s life in politics–an important project that fills a needed gap. But the very nature of the book reveals, first, that the role of gender in negotiation is complex, and Ball’s handling of the issue represents a meta-commentary on the challenge of understanding it. Second, the book helps illuminate that Pelosi’s consistent negotiation success has been achieved not through magic and charisma but through hard work and preparation, an ethos of brass tacks politics that she learned growing up in a political household. And this version of political prowess is not always an exciting or compelling story to the casual eye. Finally, perceptions about hard work, preparation, magic, charisma, and success can itself carry gendered implications for how we understand the work of excellent negotiators and successful leaders.


Nancy Pelosi, Gender, Negotiation

Publication Citation

Rebecca E. Hollander-Blumoff, The House, and How to Run It, Common Reader (2021),