You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread
by Kirsten Poe Hill & Renée E. Warren
published March 31, 2009 (paperback) by Penguin
The title is adorable – You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread. But the paperback is thin.
The book is written in alternating voices by two best friends who started a media PR company in New York – managing events for stars, jetting around the world doing media relations, and running a production company for many notable corporate, non-profit and celebrity clients.
Kirsten Poe Hill and Renee Warren learned on the job in New York. You know the Sinatra tune “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere…” They nearly didn’t. One of the biggest lessons in the book is to check on your accountant, because he may just be robbing you blind.
There’s a one-line Chapter Eleven saying they didn’t have to declare it. Barely.
The rest of the book is written like a fleshed-out resume, starting in junior high. The women were dealt a pretty good hand – solid, loving, dependable families; resilient, determined characters; and a solid friendship. They were blessed with an intuitive sense, connecting with friends and contacts who led them to business – or to people who could bail them out, if need be. This is the stuff I wanted to hear about – the deeper truths, not the common sense lessons, like you can’t make everyone happy, and create a great team with people you trust and respect.
I finished the whole book, and would have bailed after the first chapter, had it not been my vow here to read every book. As I read, I yearned for the colorful details that I know are in media events – and in small agencies like these.
My first job after college was at a fashion and beauty PR agency on NY’s east side. It was all women, just like in this book. I remember the texture of the women’s words as they spoke of their boyfriends and exes and parties – the divorcée who railed about her ex’s tan toes while he was saying he hadn’t enough money for child support, the woman who was swept away by her fiancé’s financial wizardry, the owner who unleashed her newest hires to dash through NY streets carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry that she had worn the night before. I had to get that jewelry back to the jeweler from whom she borrowed it. There’s a bit of tension in hiding a tiara somewhere on your person and pretending it’s not there.
The lesson I learned? To be fearless. Kirsten and Renee? They’ve got fearless down – and that brings me to one interesting take-away. They say that the women they knew whose fathers were gone, struggled and were fearful, and those whose fathers were strong and in their lives were optimistic. Women like me just have to work harder to make up for that loss.
The biggest take-away from You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread – find yourself a wonderful best friend! Life is then golden.