'We've been doubling down since we were kids': Twins write book on becoming boss ladies

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When Antoinette M. Clarke and Tricia Clarke-Stone decided to write a book together about how to be a "badass boss lady," they decided on a title before they even had a publisher: You to the Power of Two. It's a reference to the fact that they're twins, and their philosophy on how to get ahead while still staying true to yourself. They were so sure of it, they got matching tattoos, willing this project into being the way they've done everything else in their successful careers.

They made the book happen, but their editor wanted a title that was a bit easier to decipher. That's how they landed on Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Succeed on Your Own Terms. Using this gambling metaphor, they write that doubling down means learning how to recognize opportunities “where you have a calculable advantage” and then having the confidence to bet on them.

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"We were trying to figure out what were the common denominators that got us to where we are today, and as we were going through our path, we said, 'Wait a minute, we've been doubling down since we were kids,' " Antoinette told Build Series host Brittany Jones-Cooper.

"Doubling down almost became like a muscle for us," Tricia added.

Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Succeed on Your Terms is a Build Book Club Pick. (Photo: Amazon)
Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Succeed on Your Terms is a Build Book Club Pick. (Photo: Amazon)

Shop it: Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Succeed on Your Own Terms, $16, amazon.com

That muscle has taken the daughters of a single mother from Jamaica pretty far. While their mother and grandmother had the immigrant mentality that her smart children should choose traditional careers like medicine or law, the Clarke sisters were drawn to working in media. Antoinette rose through the ranks of television, producing shows such as Tyra Banks and Rachael Ray before switching to the corporate side and becoming vice president of branded entertainment and media innovation at CBS. Tricia Clarke-Stone went from using the Yellow Pages to sell ads for New York's Hot 97 to co-founding WP Narrative, a creative and tech agency with Russell Simmons. Since selling it to a Hollywood producer, she then became its CEO.

The sisters took a careful look at how they got where they are and came up with principles that others can follow.

"One of the reasons we wrote the book was to help democratize success for people that look like us, to create a new operating system," Tricia said.

That system encourages people to find the "white space," which is any place where you see an opportunity to solve a problem in a new way, using your unique skills. As far back as middle school, the sisters were finding this space, at one point buying discounted Guess sweatshirts, modeling them at school, and then selling them to their classmates at a profit.

Another core value they promote is making sure you surround yourself with supportive, inspiring people who will lift you up and whom you can help in return. We can't all have a twin that finishes our sentences the way Tricia and Antoinette do (this makes their interviews doubly entertaining, by the way), but we can create our own "tribe," as they describe in the book.

"Because we came into the world with someone, we think it's very important to surround yourself with amazing people," Tricia said on Build. "We say we're each other's elevation and gravity. And that's what we look for in our friendships and with our tribe."

Shop it: Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Succeed on Your Own Terms, $16, amazon.com

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