Athena Rising was named one of the 25 books that everyone should read according to and TED Speakers

Also mentioned on:

- Commander US Central Command Reading List

- Commander US Pacific Command Reading List

Athena Rising – 2018 List of 10 Recommended Inspirational Books for Work and Life


First-time authors Johnson and Smith, both professors at the U.S. Naval Academy, hit a home run with this no-nonsense, timely guide that will benefit any man who wants to more effectively mentor or manage women in the workforce. Boldly stating that “traditionally masculine ‘command and control’ structures of hierarchical management are yesterday’s news,” and starting with a tutorial on self-awareness, the authors help the reader understand factors that harm women’s careers and interfere with productive mentoring or management relationships. Seeking to illustrate “pervasive and pernicious attitudes” in the workplace, they tackle the stereotypes of women being too nice or not assertive enough, the “double jeopardy” of racial and gender bias, and the role of maternity. Then, drawing on academic research as well as real-life stories from senior-level women in organizations such as Coca-Cola, Sodexo, KPMG, NASA, and various branches of the military, the authors offer practical ways for mentors to lead, interact with, and champion women so they can succeed. Filled with useful advice and backed up by academic research, this handbook should be on every male business leader’s reading list. 

- Publishers Weekly  Read it here. 



Some of the 46 dos and don’ts listed in the book really resonated with me as important in truly empowering women through mentoring.  So if you are a man who is mentoring a woman and you don’t have time to read the whole book, here are my top eight from the list...

- Art of Mentoring  Read it here.




“This book represents a well-articulated approach to the principles of mentoring that is sure to be a landmark work. Jam-packed with exciting ideas, it highlights precisely why and how mentoring is undertaken in various workplace settings. The authors respond to the rapidly changing world of work by delivering an extraordinary range of tools and options for professionals who wish to be ethical, thoughtful teachers and coaches to their protégés. Well written and highly readable, it offers practical applications using exemplary case studies. This gem of a resource will aid the reader in understanding how to apply the mentoring microskills presented throughout. This is a must read for anyone who aspires to excellence as a leader and mentor.”

Mary H. Guindon, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, Johns Hopkins University

“Johnson and Ridley carefully explain the skills, attitudes and values that make for effective mentoring. In this useful guide, they point out what helps and what could hurt these developmental relationships. A must read for mentors and protégés alike. I recommend it highly”

Winston E. Gooden, Ph.D., Dean, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology

“Johnson and Ridley have distilled the essence of how to be a successful mentor in a well written succinct compendium they accurately describe as the "nuts and bolts" of effectively advancing the careers of junior colleagues in a caring, yet rigorous manner. The advice contained here holds significant value across work sites and professions, and can benefit both potential mentors and those wishing to find a mentor. I recommend this book to anyone hoping to guide the next generation in their field or hoping to find such a guide.”

Gerald P. Koocher, Professor and Dean, School for Health Studies, Simmons College

“The Elements of Mentoring is destined to become a classic due to its concise approach and timeless value in helping to create win-win situations for individuals committed to helping others achieve more. ...This excellent book has the potential to bring out your best: read it!”

Leadership & Organization Development Journal



Print | 978-1-62956-151-6
eBook | 978-1-62956-152-3
Enhanced eBook | 978-1-62956-153-0


W. Brad Johnson, PhD & David Smith PhD

Increasingly, new employees and junior members of any profession are encouraged—sometimes stridently—to “find a mentor!” Four decades of research reveals that the effects of mentorship can be profound and enduring; strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations. Organizations that retain and promote top talent—both female and male—are more likely to thrive.

But the mentoring landscape is unequal. Evidence consistently shows that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrower range of both career and psychological benefits. Athena Rising is a book for men about how to mentor women deliberately and effectively. It is a straightforward, no-nonsense manual for helping men of all institutions, organizations, and businesses to become excellent mentors to women.

Co-authors W. Brad Johnson, PhD, and David Smith, PhD, draw from extensive research and years of experience as experts in mentoring relationships and gender workplace issues. When a man mentors a woman, they explain, the relationship is often complicated by conventional gender roles and at times hostile external perceptions. Traditional notions of mentoring are often modeled on male-to-male relationships—the sort that begin on the golf course, involve a nearly exclusive focus on career achievement, and include more than a few slaps on the back over drinks after work. But women often report a desire for mentoring that integrates career and family aspects of life. Women want a mentor who not only “gets” this, but truly honors it.

Men need to fully appreciate just how crucial their support of promising junior women can be in helping them to persist, promote, and thrive in their vocations and organizations. As women succeed, lean in, and assume leading roles in any organization or work context, that culture will become more egalitarian, effective, and prone to retaining top talent.




"Athena Rising reminds us that when men lean in for equality, we all benefit. Brad Johnson and David Smith have written a powerful and practical guide for men on the steps that will make a big difference for organizations and for women."

- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.Org


David Smith and Brad Johnson’s book captures precisely what Catalyst research has revealed for years: It’s a win-win solution when men take intentional action to serve as mentors and sponsors, helping to accelerate progress for women in the workplace. Leaders can no longer focus only on those who look like them; mentoring and developing all talent must become a core part of any organization’s leadership style. Through engaging insights from global leaders and practical tips for men, Smith and Johnson echo Catalyst’s long-standing point that when men are part of the solution—recognizing privilege and proactively championing gender equality within their organizations—that’s when real change can occur.

- Deborah Gillis, President & Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst


“A definitive, practical guide for every man who wants to work more effectively with women. This is a book guys didn’t know we were waiting for, and it’s finally here!”

- Chuck Shelton, Chief Executive Officer, Greatheart Consulting

“Brad Johnson and David Smith have served up an exceptional treatise and handbook for male executives to learn how to become mentors to rising women of promise in all our organizations. Athena Rising is written in a captivating style while providing a practical, step by step mentoring implementation plan to advance female stars in the workplace.  It should be a must read for male executive training.”

- Louis Freeh, Former Director, FBI

"Finally someone has tackled the central issue to women's advancement at work: why don't men champion female talent like they do for other men?Athena Rising answers that question and -- through story-telling and research -- inspires men to rethink reluctance and mentor for the good of their female colleagues, their companies, and, ultimately, themselves." 

- Kat Gordon, Founder, The 3% Movement

“Women who have mentors are more likely to get promoted, and male mentors are key to advancement since men remain in the majority of leadership positions. Johnson’s and Smith’s manual for men on how to mentor women is especially relevant in light of a study that finds one in six men are uncomfortable mentoring women after #MeToo.”

- Shelley Zalis, Forbes Women (Review)




Other Books By Brad

The Elements of Mentoring
Becoming A Leader
Elements of Ethics
Ethical Conundrums