Zerbanoo Gifford is an India-born British author, human rights campaigner, and philanthropist. She was born in a Parsi family in 1950.

Gifford was a founding director of the ASHA Foundation and now serves as its honorary director. She has also served as the director of the Anti-Slavery International and the Charities Aid Foundation.

An active figure in British politics, Gifford has stood for the Parliament thrice.

Gifford has authored several books, which include The Golden Thread, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Celebrating India.

Her book, Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women, was also published under the alternate name Confessions to a Serial Womaniser: Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women.

She was honored with the Nehru Centenary Award in 1989 and was nominated for the Women of Europe Award in 1991.


Gifford conceptualized the idea of Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women when she was awarded a fellowship by NESTA.

The book is basically a collection of the numerous interviews that Gifford took of women around the globe. These women have used their intelligence, captivating beauty, strong personality and leadership qualities to not just make it big in life, but also influence so many people.

Gifford has beautifully explored their relationships with their parents, extended families and partners. The book is rather exhaustive in that it has taken into account both good and bad relationships and experiences. She has also mentioned how religion, faith, educational background, family structures and adversities shaped the lives of these women.


Ms. Zerbanoo Gifford authored Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women with the singular mission of informing people across continents about some of the most remarkable women around the world.

An excerpt from Secrets Of The World's Inspirational Women by Zebranoo Gifford

She interviewed many women who were pretty well-known in their own country or field, but were still an unknown commodity elsewhere. She cleverly introduces these women by mentioning their names and writing a couple of lines about their professional achievements. This effectively piques the readers’ curiosity to know more about these wonderful women. As one reads about the lives and struggles of these strong, independent women, one cannot help learning many a valuable life lesson.

However, the best thing about Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women is that it doesn’t vilify the opposite sex to extol the virtues of the other. The author chose her set of extraordinary women for this book based on who she found inspiring, irrespective of their profession, race or economic background.

The last segment is rather helpful, for it shares the secret to success based on the cumulative knowledge presented throughout the book.

The narration in the book is more in the form of quotes and anecdotes, giving the book an almost poetic feel.


Unfortunately, the book falls way short in its avowed goal of inspiring women all over the world. The contents are far from engaging and, more often than not, the book feels more like a collection of excerpts from the interviews taken by the author than some meaningful stories.

That said, the author makes it clear at the outset that the readers are free to choose how they wish to read the book or what they want to make of it. Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women is more like a coffee table book with photos and quotes.


The main difference between my life and my mother’s life is that whereas her life was dominated by circumstances, I dominate the circumstances.

Kusoom Vadgama

I could never understand why what seemed to be equally intelligent people in the same community had such different life chances, I’m not sure when this thinking about real class differences turned into an international outlook, but by the time I was sixteen I really wanted to make a difference in the wider world.

Barbara Stocking


Ameya Score:

All in all, Secrets of the World’s Inspirational Women is a feel-good book meant for light reading. Readers who like to explore the success stories of people who made it to the top of their respective fields will enjoy reading this. Others will not exactly regret skipping this.

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