"Dr. Martha Piper and Dr. Indira Samarasekera were the first women presidents of UBC and University of Alberta, respectively. This self-help/memoir book presents their experiences and general recommendations based on how they got to be leaders, how they behaved as leaders, and how, as past leaders, they enjoy the later stages of life. The emphasis is on their personal experiences as "two women who went first", but the book also presents information from current studies concerning leadership and especially women's roles. This book was a refreshing read, and written frankly but discretely. The book has useful lessons for leaders, or those considering a leadership track, women and men, in academia and in other fields."
January 17, 2022
"Loved this book! It was a mix of personal experiences and insights on being a woman leader. Going through a recent promotion I could relate to the fears and struggles they went through, the internal battles and it definitely inspired me to have more nerve and to be more confident in my capabilities."
November 28, 2021
"Great read for women and men interested in leading!"
Reviewed in the US
November 18, 2021
"The authors share many insights (“lessons learned”) that are relevant for those thinking about becoming a leader, in a leadership position, and after stepping down from leadership. The vast majority of the insights are equally applicable to men and women. Those that are applicable only to women are still valuable for male readers who want to better understand the unique challenges faced by women who lead. I highly recommend this book."
Verified Purchase - Reviewed in the US November 8, 2021
"A collaboration between two extraordinary women leaders, insightful and authentic. "
William A. Downe
October 2, 2021
" Nerve: Lessons on Leadership from Two Women Who Went First is a book of consolidated wisdom by Martha Piper and Indira Samarasekera. It brims with powerful messages for women at the beginning, middle, and end of their careers. It’s a book I would even suggest that we give to our sisters, daughters, nieces and granddaughters--- any woman who is, or will be, working in professions and work environments dominated by males. The authors are candid about both their challenges and their supports through flashbacks or vignettes. I can see future readers marking pages so that they can come back to a reference to see “What would Martha and Indira do?” (I received this book as an ARC.)"
Bonnie Lendrum, Author of Autumn's Grace
September 21, 2021
"It brims with powerful messages for women at the beginning, middle, and end of their careers. It’s essential advice and I would suggest that it's a book we should give to our sisters, daughters, nieces and granddaughters --- any woman who is, or will be, working in professions and work environments dominated by males. "
September 21, 2021
“These two women of vision, vigour, and intellect, are glowing examples of lives intentionally and well lived. Some principles presented in this book are well known and universal but the examples of how they each lived these principles makes the book unique. This book is well researched, and includes an extensive list of references at the end of the book."
September 20, 2021
“ Nerve shares many essential lessons regarding women in leadership that both men and women can learn from.."
"One of my personal favourite chapters is “Grit and Grace” and I believe I will apply key takeaways from that chapter into my own life. "
August 6, 2021
“Martha Piper and Indira Samarasekera rank with Canada’s most accomplished leaders of their generation, having led at the topmost levels in higher education, government policy-making and corporate boardrooms with legendary results. Now they tell us, with compelling stories and wise advice, how they did it to inspire women to answer the call to lead and follow in their footsteps. These are great lessons not just for women but for all of us who can learn to lead from their remarkable example.” — Rob Prichard, President Emeritus, University of Toronto
“A step-by-step guide on how to overcome the self-doubt and paralyzing fear of failure instilled in us from our very beginnings by a world that still doesn’t welcome women into leadership. Piper and Samarasekera draw a map for women who are determined to beat the odds and take the risks necessary to grasp the brass ring. And then, once you have it, how to use your power for good. I couldn’t put it down.” — Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia (2011–2017)
“Part memoir, part leadership book, Nerve takes us on the lifelong journeys of Martha Piper and Indira Samarasekera, culminating in their respective presidencies of two world-class institutions, University of British Columbia and University of Alberta. The compelling real-life stories of pitfalls and triumphs make Nerve definitely inspiring and empowering for future leaders.” — Sara Seager, OC, Professor of Planetary Science, Astrophysics and Aerospace Engineering at MIT, and bestselling author of The Smallest Lights in the Universe
“This book is a gem. Nerve could easily be titled Grit and Grace, two entwined values dramatically explored through its pages. It tackles the unique challenges facing women leaders with compelling practical advice and imaginative resilience of two extraordinary women. It is a valuable manual for anyone — female or male — interested in the anatomy of leadership.” — David Johnston, Governor General of Canada (2010–2017)
“Nerve is a timely contribution to our collective knowledge about women and leadership. The authors’ shared learning, moving personal stories and reflective questions offer all of us—leaders and those who aspire to be—a powerful set of lessons. And yes, a reminder that above all, it is vital to find joy and ‘gather the sweet nectar out of life.” — Barbara Grantham, President and CEO, CARE Canada