01 Dec 2016

Inside the Bestseller List with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

by April White


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
(photo by Robb Dickehut)

“I had no idea how to write a book. Who does?” says author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (MBA 2006). “But the only way to do it is to do it.” Lemmon, a former political reporter, started reporting her first book while at HBS, sparked by a case she coauthored with Professor Geoffrey Jones on female entrepreneurship in Afghanistan. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the true story of an entrepreneurial young woman succeeding in Taliban-ruled Kabul. It became a bestseller.

“Business is the force that is changing the world, both for the better and for the more challenging,” says Lemmon, who wrote The Dressmaker while working at global investment management firm PIMCO. “I want to tell stories that have implications for the broader community, and take people into worlds they think they know but don’t. I want to make these issues, these conflicts, these development discussions deeply personal.”

Lemmon’s latest book, Ashley’s War, is a very different tale, but it addresses some of the same issues of resilience, courage, and leadership she explored in The Dressmaker. The true story of the female soldiers who served alongside male-only US Special Operations teams in Afghanistan became a bestseller and is being turned into a movie by Reese Witherspoon. But Lemmon, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is proudest of the book’s place on another list: Ashley’s War has been added to the US Special Operations Command commander’s reading list.

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Gayle Tzemach Lemmon takes you behind the scenes of her books on the Skydeck podcast

Return to The Year in Books 2016
Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2006, Section D
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