Tag Archives: #businessbookoftheyear

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez – Here are my six lessons and takeaways

2019 Business Book of the Year

2019 Business Book of the Year

The stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future. They are all marked–disfigured–by a female-shaped ‘absent presence’. This is the gender data gap. …These silences, these gaps, have consequences.
Invisible Women is a story about absence–and that sometimes makes it hard to write about.
The point of this book is not psychoanalysis. This book cannot provide ultimate proof for why the gender data gap exists. I can only present you with the data…
Private motivations are, to a certain extent, irrelevant. What matters is the pattern.
I will argue that the gender data gap is both a cause and a consequence of the type of unthinking that conceives of humanity as almost exclusively male.
Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposè of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more or less as normal. In urban planning, politics, the workplace. …It’s when women are able to step out from the shadows with their voices and their bodies that things start to shift. The gaps close. And so, at heart, Invisible Women is also a call for change.
In such a framing, women are set up to be forgettable. Ignorable. Dispensable–from culture, from history, from data. And so, women become invisible.
The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences, in every page; the men so good for nothing and hardly any women at all – it is very tiresome. Jane Austen
Caroline Criado Perez; Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men 

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There are times when I read a book, and I almost want to…if not give up, at least wonder if these authors have put in all this effort, and it makes no difference at all.

I struggle with these feelings when I read books on racial issues.  And, also, when I read books dealing with women in modern life – in business life, and in society in general.

I certainly struggled with this when I presented Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men last Friday at the November First Friday Book Synopsis.

Invisible Women was the Business Book of the Year for 2019; it is an acclaimed, and valuable book. And, yet, after I presented my synopsis of this book, one woman said that it was just so depressing.  Because, she said, she knew it was true; and that nothing had ever really changed.  She spoke from painful experience.

Caroline Criado Perez, the author, among other efforts, led the campaign to keep an image of a woman (other than the Queen) on British Currency.  Jane Austen is now on the back of the £10 note, thanks to the effort she led.  This book was the Business Book of the Year of 2019, selected by McKinsey and The Financial Times.

And, note:  this book is truly international in its stories and illustrations.

In my synopses, I always ask What is the point?  Here is my answer for this book:
Because the default is male, in every arena, in every region, then women are ignored, not taken into account, invisible…  There is a serious, very, very long-term, data shortage about women. 

And I always ask Why is this book worth our time?  Here are my three answers for this book:

#1 – This book is a sweeping history and international overview of the “invisibility” of women. You will learn much.
#2 – This book is filled with “I never thought of that” insights.  You will stop and think much.
#3 – This book provides plenty of “call to action” examples.  You might think about actions you can take.

I always include a few pages of Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” Randy’s highlighted Passages.  Here are the best of the best that I selected from my highlights from this book:

• One of the most important things to say about the gender data gap is that it is not generally malicious, or even deliberate. Quite the opposite. It is simply the product of a way of thinking that has been around for millennia and is therefore a kind of not thinking. A double not thinking, even: men go without saying, and women don’t get said at all. Because when we say human, on the whole, we mean man.
• The female-specific concerns that men fail to factor in cover a wide variety of areas, but as you read you will notice that three themes crop up again and again: the female body, women’s unpaid care burden, and male violence against women.  
• “What were the females doing while the males were out hunting?” Answer: gathering, weaning, caring for children during ‘longer periods of infant dependency’, all of which would similarly have required cooperation.  This knowledge, the ‘conclusion that the basic human adaptation was the desire of males to hunt and kill,’ objects Slocum, ‘gives too much importance to aggression, which is after all only one factor of human life.’   
• When in 2017 the first female head of London’s Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, suggested that we should replace ‘fireman’ with the now standard (and let’s face it, much cooler) ‘firefighter’, she received a deluge of hate mail.   
• Former doctor Peter Davison expressed ‘doubts’ about the wisdom of casting a woman in the role of Doctor Who. Colin Baker, the body into whom the Peter Davison doctor had morphed, disagreed with his predecessor. Boys have ‘had fifty years of having a role model’, he argued.   
• The history of humanity. The history of art, literature and music. The history of evolution itself. These facts have been lying to us. …and if the past few years have shown us anything it is that how we see ourselves is not a minor concern. Identity is a potent force that we ignore and misread at our peril. 
• The truth is that white and male is just as much an identity as black and female. 
• The reporting rate is even lower in New York City, with an estimated 96% of sexual harassment and 86% of sexual assaults in the subway system going unreported, while in London, where a fifth of women have reportedly been physically assaulted while using public transport, a 2017 study found that ‘around 90% of people who experience unwanted sexual behaviour would not report it’.  
• I am invariably faced with the comment, ‘But, surely, it’s getting better? 
• In other words, they held workshops to encourage women to be more like men. 
• Recent research has emerged showing that while women tend to assess their intelligence accurately, men of average intelligence think they are more intelligent than two-thirds of people. This being the case, perhaps it wasn’t that women’s rates of putting themselves up for promotion were too low. Perhaps it was that men’s were too high.   
• Article 8 of the legally binding Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union reads, ‘In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women.’ Clearly, women being 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash is one hell of an inequality to be overlooking. 
• For millennia, medicine has functioned on the assumption that male bodies can represent humanity as a whole. As a result, we have a huge historical data gap when it comes to female bodies, and this is a data gap that is continuing to grow as researchers carry on ignoring the pressing ethical need to include female cells, animals and humans, in their research. … Women are dying, and the medical world is complicit. It needs to wake up. 
• (When) a woman speaks loudly in parliament she is “shushed” with a finger to the lips, as one does with children. That never happens when a man speaks loudly’.
• Analysis of 182 peace agreements signed between 1989 and 2011 demonstrated that when women are included in peace processes there is a 20% increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least two years, and a 35% increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least fifteen years. 

Here are a few of the key points I included from this book in my synopsis:  

  • Because women are invisible, women are not “valuable…” (they have little to no “worth”)
  • None of this means that the Bank of England deliberately set out to exclude women. It just means that what may seem objective can actually be highly male-biased… …The fact is that worth is a matter of opinion, and opinion is informed by culture.
  • So much missing data…
  • But when your big data is corrupted by big silences, the truths you get are half-truths, at best.
  • The male-unless-otherwise-indicated approach to research seems to have infected all sorts of ethnographic fields.
  • So much missing data, because…women are not in the room.
  • in the conference rooms
  • in the political committee rooms
  • in the leadership seats
  • in the disaster planning rooms
  • in the technology company planning rooms
  • When women are in the room, they are:
  • not listened to; sometimes not even seen (they are …invisible)
  • interrupted; talked over
  • not called upon
  • and…harassed (in word and action)
  • when women “act male” (forceful; assertive; confident; ambitious)
  • they are ridiculed; rejected…
  • interrupting simply isn’t viewed the same way when women do it….So telling women to behave more like men – as if male behaviour is a gender-neutral human default – is unhelpful, and in fact potentially damaging.
  • Yes, we do need more women in public office
  • As little as a single percentage point rise in female legislators was found to increase the ratio of educational expenditure. The presence of women in politics makes a tangible difference to the laws that get passed.
  • The first is that when you exclude half the population from a role in governing itself, you create a gender data gap at the very top. 
  • What do women need to do about this?
  • Sheryl Sandberg’s approach for navigating hostile work environments, outlined in her book Lean In, is for women to buckle up and push through. And of course that is part of the solution. I am not a female politician, but as a woman with a public profile I get my own share of threats and abuse. And, unpopular as this opinion may be, I believe that the onus is on those of us who feel able to weather the storm, to do so. …So, to a certain extent, it is an ordeal that our generation of women needs to go through in order that the women who come after us don’t.
  • The better way…
  • There is a better way. And it’s a pretty simple one: we must increase female representation in all spheres of life.
  • The solution to the sex and gender data gap is clear: we have to close the female representation gap. When women are involved in decision-making, in research, in knowledge production, women do not get forgotten. …All ‘people’ needed to do was to ask women. 

And, here are my six lessons and takeaways

#1 – Don’t have meetings; don’t build teams; without full participation by women.
#2 – If you are male – quit interrupting! Especially, quit interrupting women.
#3 – Read more books; study more about gender ignorance, and gender bias…
#4 – Recognize that if (since) this is true about women, ask: which other groups do we leave out of our “default” understandings?
#5 – Intentionally read more about the accomplishments of women.
#6 – Maybe, make your work decisions — about which products to buy, and which companies to interact and do business with — based on how they value and treat women.

I have presented synopses of many books focusing on issues of women in the workplace. I could recommend a number of them. But my new recommendation would be this:  start with this book.  It provides the data about the missing data.  This is a foundational book; a foundation worth knowing, and grasping, and then acting upon.

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You will be able to purchase my synopsis soon from the “buy synopses” tab at the top of the page.  Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, plus the audio recording of my presentation. Click here for our newest additions.

We have many, many synopses available. You can search by title on the “buy synopses” tab.

Here is the video of my synopsis presentations of Invisible Women and Uncharted from the November First Friday Book Synopsis

Nov. 6 FFBSHere is the video of my synopsis presentations of Invisible Women and Uncharted from the November First Friday Book Synopsis

(Scroll through this blog for videos from other months, with other book synopsis presentations).

Before you watch, click here to download the synopsis handouts.

 

 

 


You will also be able to purchase my synopses of these two books, along with many other books for over the years, from the “buy synopses” tab at the top of this page.  Each synopsis comes with the comprehensive, multi-page handout, plus the audio recording of the presentation.  Click here for our newest additions.

Download the two Synopses Handouts for tomorrow’s First Friday Book Synopsis, November 6, 2020 – Invisible Women and Uncharted

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT OUR ZOOM EXPERIENCE:

In our October session, we had some “Zoom bombers.” It was not polite, and we have had to come up with a plan. You can help!

First, we have implemented the Zoom “waiting room” feature. Someone will let you in when you arrive. This should be quick and easy.

Now, please follow these steps:
#1 — Please make sure you have updated your Zoom software.
#2 — Please use your real, full name in your Zoom profile, and not “iPhone,” “Sam’s iPad,” “abcxyz,” “Zoom Security,” or something else that’s non-descriptive.

  • If you do not wish to be on video, please have a Zoom photo and your full name in your profile.
  • please avoid using pictures of objects or animals as your Zoom photo
  • you will automatically be on mute — (You will be able to unmute yourself).

#3 — BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT YOUR CAMERA. We’ve even had some “regular participants” have their camera follow them unwisely. Please be careful

  • BUT — still invite others to attend. We do not want to exclude anyone who wants to learn with us.

{Note: Special thanks to Leticia Ferrer, Jim Jameson, Peter Sorenson, and Taylor L. Cole Longacre for helping with very good suggestions, and forming our “Zoom Team.” Be sure to thank them tomorrow in the chat}.

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Click on image to download handouts.

Click on image to download handouts.

Well over 100 people have been joining us on our “Remote” First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings. We have had participants from all over the country. Please share this word far and wide — all are welcome!

Friday, November 6, 2020 – Zoom, 7:30 am (Central Time)

Two Book Synopses:
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
by Caroline Criado Perez
and
Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future by Margaret Heffernan.
Where: on ZOOM
When: This Friday, November 6, 7:30 am (Central Time)
The presentation will conclude shortly after 8:30 am
Speaker: Randy Mayeux
Click here to join in on Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85612817839?pwd=RzBwbzBmRWJpNkdlL2srNkltRW9pZz09
Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623

https://app.box.com/s/xatvx337l2ti9g98nh8fcjufliymcmnm

Click on image to download handouts.

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We are all set for Friday’s Remote First Friday Book Synopsis.

#1 — Download, and print both synopses handouts by clicking here.

If you have ever attended our event, you know that I am handout intensive. You really will be able to follow along better with physical copies of the handouts in front of you. So, if you have a printer, please print the handouts.

#2 — Come on in for conversation whenever you can. I have enabled the “enable join before host” button. You will arrive in the waiting room, and be let in quickly. So, you can come in, and talk to folks. I will plan to join the meeting around 7:00, and we will begin the program at 7:30. And, I will not “end the meeting” for a while after, if you want to continue conversations with others after we officially conclude.

#3 — Here is the info, with the link to join the gathering:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Nov. 6, 2020 First Friday Book Synopsis
Time: Nov 6, 2020 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85612817839?pwd=RzBwbzBmRWJpNkdlL2srNkltRW9pZz09

Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623

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—–

Reminder: The cost of this remote meeting is “free.”

But, if you would like to contribute to participate, Randy would welcome you to send $12.00 directly to him through PayPal. Click here for a direct link to “donate” thorugh PayPal.

(Note: you can also send money through Zelle, at Randy’s e-mail address).

(Randy’s e-mail address for PayPal , and Zelle, is ).

Please help spread the word far and wide; help make this a success.

——————–

You might want to read this post. It has a printable one-sheet reminder on how to make the most of your remote learning experience.

Remote Learning 101 – Read this before attending your learning session.

Invisible Women and Uncharted; reading in progress – What books are you reading?

Nov. 6 FFBSInvisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposè of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more or less as normal. In urban planning, politics, the workplace.
Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

The future is uncharted because we aren’t there yet.
Margaret Heffernan, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future

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Let me start with a reminder.  This is a very good time to be reading books.  We are inside more; at home more.  And there are so many good, and important, books to read.  What books do you have on your reading stack right now?

I’m in the midst of reading my two books for the November 6 First Friday Book Synopsis, our monthly gathering that focuses on two books each month.  (Currently on Zoom). These two books are quite different, and both worth our time.

For the books I present, I read every book in full; every page of every chapter.  And, I read these books slowly.  I highlight passages – literally hundreds of passages.  And I do my best to create synopsis handouts that are thorough, and capture the key elements of the books I present.

2019 Business Book of the Year

2019 Business Book of the Year

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez won the 2019 Business Book of the Year award from McKinsey and The Financial Times.  It is a deserving selection.

Though it is a good and comprehensive, thought-provoking book, it is mainly…correct.  Women are invisible in too many ways, in too many arenas:  in their daily life, in their work life, in the architecture and structures that they navigate.  So many of the decisions of the world have been made by men, and only men, while only thinking about men, for too long.  That is the finding of this very good book, and it explains why this was a worthy recipient of the Business Book of the Year award.

(Note:  this is the third such book I have presented.  An earlier Business Book of the Year was Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford; a significant book.  I presented my synopsis of this book at the February, 2016 First Friday Book Synopsis. And, I have also presented my synopsis of Capital by Thomas Pikkety, another recipient of this award, at another book gathering that I speak at: the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare).

Here’s the problem with books such as Invisible Women.  First, not enough people read the books, in spite of their popularity.  Second, even though the problem it highlights and addresses is so pervasive, people still cannot quite grasp the breadth of the problem with only an occasional book to remind them of it.  This book needs a very, very big megaphone.

Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future by Margaret Heffernan is my second book selection for November.  Ms. Heffernan is also the author of Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril, which I presented at the August, 2014 First Friday Book Synopsis. This book states, clearly, that there is so very much about the future that we do not know; cannot really ever know.  And in this Global Pandemic time, this is a good and needed reminder.

I love reading good books.  These are both good books to read.  I think my synopses will be useful.

What will you be reading this month?

——————–Rise of the Robots

Here are my earlier blog posts on a couple of the books that I mentioned:

But Where will the Demand Be? – My Lessons and Takeaways from Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

Here are My Takeaways from Margaret Heffernan’s Willful Blindness – a Remarkable Book 

 

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez (the Business Book of the Year, 2019), and Uncharted by Margaret Heffernan – Coming for the November 6 First Friday Book Synopsis (On Zoom)

 

First Friday Book Synopsis November 6, 2020 — on ZoomNov. 6 FFBS
Time: 7:30 am (Central Time)
Two Books: Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
and
Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future by Margaret Heffernan. 
Zoom link coming soon
Please invite one and all to participate in this session.

 

During Pandemic Season, we have continued to average well over 100 people gathering each month on Zoom for the First Friday Book Synopsis..

On November 6, I will present my synopses of two very good books.  One of them, Invisible Women, won the Business Book of the Year award in 2019, from McKinsey and The Financial Times.  Note:  this will be the third book I have presented that won this prestigious award.  I earlier presented Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford, the winner in 21015.  And, to another audience (not at the First Friday Book Synopsis), I presented Capital by Thomas Pinketty, the 2014 winner.

If you are like many, you do not have time to read all of the books you would like to read.  The First Friday Book Synopsis is designed for you.

Of course, it would be better if you read the books on your own. But, my synopses are comprehensive, surprisingly thorough, they will give you plenty of the key content.  You will learn, and be able to ponder the ideas in a useful way.  And, if you have read the book, my synopsis will help you remember more of what you read.

Here are the two books I have selected to present for the November 6 session:

  1. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. Harry N. Abrams; First Printing Edition (March 12, 2019)
  2. Uncharted: How to Navigate the Futureby Margaret Heffernan. Avid Reader Press; Simon & Schuster (September 8, 2020)

 

Come join us.

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(Note: we had a little bit of a Zoom hacker event in October.  I will post the Zoom info on this blog soon. But I am working on shoring up the security).

What are you doing for the next 13 weeks? – You could learn the key content of these books…

Book Titles copy

I can also provide “live/Remote” sessions for your team

My suggestion – try a book synopsis a week during the duration
Click on the buy synopses tab at the top, or
Click here for our newest additions

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OK – it’s time to admit the truth about this present moment.  It is not going away by this afternoon.

We are stuck.  We may be stuck until there is a vaccine.  Maybe it will take more than one vaccine.

So, in the article The reason why your brain’s so foggy right now, according to a neurologist, we read this:

There’s also something to be said about starting something new in quarantine that you may not have gotten to otherwise. There’s a “fresh start energy” in the air right now. And as psychologist Laurie Santos, PhD, host of The Happiness Lab podcast and professor of Yale’s viral happiness course, recently said a Facebook live, “Wonderful research by Katie Milken and others shows that these new situations and these new moments of fresh starts allow us to form habits better.”

Now, you can be really ambitious:
Learn Japanese, or Spanish, or Arabic.
Take some math courses.
Learn to write computer code.
Learn to paint.

But here is a simple idea that could pay rich dividends. Something practical, and “easy.”

You can learn the key content of books that you have been intending to read.  
You can do this by listening to my synopses of some of the very best business books.

here is the cover sheet for the Lean In synopsis handout

here is the cover sheet for the Lean In synopsis handout

My synopses are just over 20 minutes.  You can listen to the audio, while following along with my comprehensive, multi-page handout.  Print out the handout, get your pen in hand, turn on the audio, and listen as you underline key thoughts and write notes to yourself in the margin.

Now:  why is Randy Mayeux qualified to present these synopses?  He has presented synopses of business books every month to a live audience in Dallas since April, 1998; 22+ years.  (The last two months have been live over Zoom).  One guy, reading and sharing.

Twenty minutes a week.  After ten weeks, you’ve learned the key content of ten books.

Is it better for you to fully read the books for yourself?  Of course.  But, you haven’t by now.  And this is more than enough to get your thoughts brewing. You will learn transferable principles, you will learn lessons to put to work, and you will become more literate.

This is the last page of the Steve Jobs handout, with my takeaways ("lessons") - click on image for full view

This is the last page of the Steve Jobs handout, with my takeaways (“lessons”) – click on image for full view

These are much more than book reviews.  These are quick, deeper dives into the key content of these books than you might imagine.

Here are thirteen titles to get you stated (Three months worth; one book a week for thirteen weeks).  This is just a recommendation.  I have many other titles to choose from.  But this list includes four books on the current New York Times list of best-selling business books, one book that was the Financial Times Business Book of the Year, two selections that were my own choices for the business book of the year, and one book that is the most important book I have ever read (Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning).

All of these are available in the buy synopses tab above — go to the search-by-title feature:Rise of the Robots

Getting Things Done by David Allen.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
Drive by Daniel Pink.
The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford.
Digital Transformation by Thomas Siebel.*
Radical Candor by Kim Scott.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Great by Choice by Jim Collins.
Range by David Epsein.
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown.

These thirteen would provide a pretty good thirteen week “crash course” on business books.  And, there are many, many more to choose from.

Each synopsis is $4.99.  Or, you can purchase a subscription, and get all synopses available

Give it a try.  If nothing else, it might help you be better prepared for when things return to some other kind of normal,


* Note the full title of Digital Transformation by Siebel — Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction. Pretty graphic descriptive; maybe especially pertinent to this moment.

(Note: in the first many years, Randy was joined by his colleague Karl Krayer; each of them presenting one book a month.  Due to health difficulties, Karl had to drop out of the collaboration a few years ago.  So, some of the synopses from earlier years available on the web site were presented by Karl).