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BEYOND DIVERSITY

12 NON-OBVIOUS WAYS TO BUILD A MORE INCLUSIVE WORLD

A useful, forcefully written, and wide-ranging study of inequities—and how to fix them.

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A comprehensive guide focuses on how to increase diversity and inclusion in society.

In these pages, Bhargava and Brown assemble facts and personal stories from many walks of life —entrepreneurship, the business world, academia, the entertainment industry, the creative arts realm, even home and family—in order to paint a detailed picture of how deep-rooted cultural practices often forge systemic barriers to inclusion, equity, and diversity. Throughout the book, they cite studies and statistics to shore up their claims (often surprising data, as in the World Health Organization’s estimate that 15% of the world’s population—well over a billion people—has some form of disability). Many of these informative tidbits are separated from the main text with eye-catching graphics. In all cases, the authors first assess how things currently stand in the area they’re exploring and then outline what needs to change and sometimes give descriptions of how things are in fact shifting. They finish with “What You Can Do,” a series of calls for actions both big and small that readers can accomplish themselves, everything from publicly noting an instance of inequity in the workplace or classroom to getting involved in organizations dedicated to increasing diversity. The authors repeatedly point out that merely noticing diversity problems is not sufficient. They urge their readers to take action and lay out several strategies for how to institute changes on the grassroots level, including how those in majority groups can be better allies for their colleagues.

The authors skillfully emphasize the importance of narratives in their discussions. “The stories we choose to consume—and believe—shift our worldviews,” they contend. “Beyond the stories we read, our worldviews commonly come from the movies we watch, the news we follow, or the events we attend (either virtually or in-person).” It’s for this reason that their primary goal is for society to change the tales it tells about itself so that those stories more accurately reflect the diversity and demographics of the real world. Occasionally, the authors’ efforts to avoid the typical pitfalls of identity politics falter. They argue, for instance, that “our identities are a spectrum that cannot be reduced to labels” (such as teenager, gay, Hispanic, creative, etc.). But they spend much of the volume seeming to equate these labels with identities, writing that “identity is race, gender, abilities, and sexuality. It is ethnicity and religion.” Likewise, they assert that people “must be guaranteed the freedom to explore, express, and bring their full selves to work without fear of reprisal or discrimination” while advocating that workplace diversity be mandated by law. But the book’s calls for fair treatment and equity in pay scales are very effective, buttressed by extensive research showing that, for instance, men are paid more than women for the same work and that minorities are underrepresented in most fields of study. Managers, CEOs, and hiring directors—as well as ordinary people—will find a great deal of valuable insights in these pages.

A useful, forcefully written, and wide-ranging study of inequities—and how to fix them.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64687-051-6

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Ideapress Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2021

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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