Bookworm Friday: 5 Books Recommendations on Diversity & Inclusion
Today we present a special edition of previous recommendations grouped under one theme: Diversity & Inclusion. Enjoy reading!
Two journalists on a venture to discover where self-assurance comes from, how it is influenced and how it impacts our lives. They focus on women and the roots of the confidence gap between genders but also look for ways to boost your confidence. They included lots of recent research in genetics, neuroscience and gender and mixed these with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in business, politics and media. They come to the realization that even though confidence is strongly influenced by genetics, it is not a fixed psychological state. One can discover and develop it but this would not effectively happen through just thinking positively or trying to convince ourselves we’re perfect (ensuring your kids they are perfect won’t help them either). The authors refer to some popular advice such as practising powerful body postures or the idea of “faking it till you make it” which can bring a short term boost in self-assurance. But what can really make the difference is making a radical choice: less pleasing other people and perfectionism, and more risk-taking, action and allowing yourself to fail fast and learn from every mistake.
This book is the time travel to years when initiatives like “You code, Girl!” were not yet needed because the gender gap in IT industry was much smaller than nowadays. Great stories of ladies, who were responsible for designing first Polish computers (Yup! We used to produce computers and they were pretty good!) and developing first programming languages. If names such as “Elwro”, “Odra 1305" or “Mera 400” ring a bell, this book is for you. And if not, this is a great opportunity to get to know a piece of Polish IT industry history.
This book was a huge revelation to me. In “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman, explains that there are two systems that drive the way we think as human beings. The first system is fast, intuitive, and emotional. The second one is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. We tend to use the first system more often which may lead to overconfidence and false judgement. Kahneman covers several experiments which prove the differences. One of them is the “framing effect” where people decide on options based on whether the options are presented with positive or negative connotations. Kahneman’s experiment was to ask subjects whether they would opt for surgery if the “survival” rate is 90 percent, while others were told that the mortality rate is 10 percent. The first framing increased acceptance, even though the situation was no different. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” provides very useful knowledge about cognitive biases which may cause some limitations in our perception. Knowing them is highly beneficial in both - private and professional life.
Sheryl Sandberg, leader, COO of Facebook, mother, wife gives some great insights on her career, challenges she faced on her way and also how women perceive themselves and their roles (although it’s worth to mention that the book is written from the perspective of a white female from the middle class). I guess the key message I got from this book is that we need to accept differences between men and women in terms of their perspectives, needs and the way we operate so we can build an environment that supports these difference. Sheryl suggests visualising your career as a jungle gym (instead of a ladder) where you jump from one to another area (employment, motherhood, leadership position) and that „having it all” is impossible but that shouldn’t be the source of guilt.
5. "Culture Map - Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business" Erin Meyer (Justyna Sroka's recommendation)
Diversity is such a broad subject! My recommendation goes to Erin Meyer and her bestseller ‘Culture Map’. As subtitle describes it’s a book about ‘Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business’ and I can definitely recommend to anyone who - just like us at William Hill - is working in a multinational business employing different nationalities.
‘Culture Map’ presents how to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. But no worries - it's not another 'culture theory' publication! The book blends Erin’s stories and anecdotes with insights and cultural observations accompanied by historical backgrounds. The book helps us to understand how we all differ in who we are by presenting a practical and actionable framework of eight scales: communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, declining, trusting, disagreeing, scheduling. Understanding where you and your international colleagues fall on each of these scales helps understand better differences in how you both approach various aspects of business relations components - and simply perceive the world around you. It's essential reading for everyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of people factors and motivations - plenty of eye-opening moments guaranteed!