Much-needed, frank talk from exceptional female leaders about how they’ve dealt with sexism in the line of duty.

Eight of the world’s most influential women talk about political double standards with Gillard, the former prime minister of Australia, and Okonjo-Iweala, the first female finance minister of Nigeria.

The authors begin this sobering look at female leaders’ progress—or lack thereof—by noting that only 57 of the 193 members of the United Nations have had a woman in their highest executive office, such as president or prime minister. Curious about gender biases, they interviewed an impressive all-star cast of power players who overcame sexism and sometimes other long odds: Michelle Bachelet was tortured by the Pinochet regime before becoming the first female president of Chile, and Joyce Banda and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf left abusive spouses en route to the presidencies of Malawi and Liberia. Drawing on academic studies as well as their interviews, the authors look beyond glass ceilings and explore hazards such as the “glass cliff,” the tendency of organizations to “embrace women’s leadership when they are in trouble,” as Britain’s Conservative Party did when it reached out after the Brexit vote to Theresa May, who looks back on the event here. Other women discuss a “glass labyrinth” of barriers, including that a woman must come across “as ‘man’ enough to do the job but feminine enough not to be viewed as unlikeable, or even held in contempt.” Hillary Clinton and Christine Lagarde, head of the European Central Bank, recall comments about their hair while prime ministers Erna Solberg of Norway and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand acknowledge the vital roles of a partner and relatives in helping with family responsibilities. In an especially strong argument, the authors encourage candidates not to reinforce the stereotype that high-ranking women will necessarily create a gentler world. Throughout, each contributor is refreshingly open and candid about their experiences. The case for female leadership, they rightly note, is a moral one: People should see in leaders “a reflection of the full diversity of society.”

Much-needed, frank talk from exceptional female leaders about how they’ve dealt with sexism in the line of duty.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-262-04574-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: MIT Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020



Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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