Tag Archives: #businessbookreviews

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 


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.


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.

Creativity by John Cleese, and Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David – for the December 4 First Friday Book Synopsis on Zoom

For Dec., 2020 FFBS meetingFirst Friday Book Synopsis December 4, 2020 — on Zoom
Time: 7:30 am (Central Time)
Two Books: 
Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David — Delivered by Karl Krayer
Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide by John Cleese – Delivered by Randy Mayeux
(Zoom link below)
Please invite one and all to participate in this session.

You are invited to learn the key content of two good books, in a fast-paced presentation, complete with comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handouts.

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

On December 4, we have again selected two important books.

Karl Krayer will present his synopsis of Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David. This will be Karl’s first presentation after his stroke a few years back.  We are glad to have Karl participate in our December session.

I will present my synopsis of the new John Cleese book:  Creativity:  A Short and Cheerful Guide. To say that he is one of the creative geniuses of the era is an understatement.  This book will provide much thought, and plenty of transferable principles.

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, our synopses are comprehensive, thorough, and they will give you plenty of the key content and principles found in the books.  You will learn, and be able to ponder the ideas in a useful way.  And, if you have read the book, our synopses will help you remember more of what you read.

Come join us.


Here is the Zoom info for the December session:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Dec. 4 First Friday Book Synopsis
Time: Dec 4, 2020 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting:


Meeting ID: 864 2553 8410
Passcode: 480416


Here is the November, 2020 New York Times list of Best Selling Business Books – Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria is at #1

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic WorldThe New York Times has published its list of Best Selling Business Books for November, 2020.  For the first time in many months, Atomic Habits is not at the top spot (it is at #2).  Now at #1 is the new book by Fareed Zakaria, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World. For obvious reasons, this is a timely book.

Of the ten books on this month’s list, we have presented synopses of seven of them at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas (although, since April, on Zoom).  We have met monthly, presenting synopses of two books each month, for over 22 years.

I presented my synopses of Atomic Habits, Dare to Lead, Extreme Ownership, Doesn’t Hurt to Ask, and Outliers.  My former colleague Karl Krayer presented synopses of Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Grit.

I am certain that I will present Zakaria’s new book early next year.

Here is this month’s list from the New York TimesClick over to their site for links to reviews of a few of these books.

#1 – Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria
#2 – Atomic Habits by James Clear
#3 – Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
#4 – Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
#5 – Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
#6 – Make Life Beautiful by Shea McGee and Syd McGee
#7 – Doesn’t Hurt to Ask by Trey Gowdy
#8 – Grit by Angela Duckworth
#9 – Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
#10 — How I Built This by Guy Raz


Perennial best seller

Perennial best seller

You can purchase our synopses.  Go to the ‘Buy Synopses” tab at the top of this page to search by title.  Click here for our newest additions.  Each synopsis comes with the audio recording of our presentation, plus the comprehensive, multipage synopsis handout for the book.


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


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}.


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
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:
Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623


Click on image to download handouts.


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


Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623

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Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/ku8f3qBam


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.

With Such Poverty of Attention, how do you read books with focus?

FocusEconomics is the study of how scarce resources are allocated; whether that is housing, food, or money. However, in an era of endless amounts of information at the hands of our fingertips, what is the scarcity? Unlike the first three examples that can be empirically quantified and measured, our intangible yet extremely valuable attention is the limiting factor: we are in the age of the attention economy.
The term “attention economy” was coined by psychologist, economist, and Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon, who posited that attention was the “bottleneck of human thought” that limits both what we can perceive in stimulating environments and what we can do. He also noted that “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention,” suggesting that multitasking is a myth.
Paying Attention: The Attention Economy


We live in an era of a specific challenge that is only getting worse: a serious shortage of serious attention; a shortage of serious focus, of undivided concentration. And with such a shortage, there is a shortage of genuine learning.

We all know of the value of being a life-long learner.  But if you can’t be a life-long focuser, a life-long concentrator, then you won’t be a very good life-long learner, will you?

Time for a reality check…

How many books do you read, with enough attention and focus, that you actually learn from the books? I mean, with enough focus that you learn the information in the book, that you can remember it well enough that you can think about the book, ponder the teachings of the book, over the days following your reading?  Well enough that you can put the wisdom of the book into practice in your work-life and in the other parts of your life?

distracted-reading-mainMy hunch is that your attention is pretty divided.  We are so bombarded by information – newspapers, magazines, articles, podcasts, broadcasts, books — that shutting everything out except for the one object of focus at this moment is practically a lost skill.

I think about this as I present my book synopses.  People who attend my events tell me that they did not quite understand the value until they experienced the session.

What do I provide?  I help people pay attention!

I choose good books; important books.  And I have developed a synopsis approach – both verbally, and in my synopsis handouts – that helps people hone in on the useful and essential wisdom found in the books I present.

These days, my synopses are delivered over Zoom or Webex.  And, these days, participants have to print out the handouts that I prepare and provide.  But the experience of learning is rich.  And, I think, my synopses help people focus, in order to capture thoughts that stick long after the presentation is completed.

You have to fight to focus. You might need some help to help you do that.  I can help.

If nothing else, attending my events will help you put everything down and away except the one thing of the moment; this particular book synopsis. And you might focus your attention long enough to learn; and remember; and change.


My synopses handouts are 8-11 pages of content.  They provide a pretty deep dive into the book.  What do I include in my handouts?

  • the point of the book
  • reasons why the book is worth your time
  • the best highlighted passages from the book
  • the stories, principles, and lessons, that make the book so valuable
  • my lessons and takeaways from the book


Note: the First Friday Book Synopsis always meets on the first Friday of the month.  Our Zoom sessions begin at 7:30am.  And the details, and book selections, of next month’s gathering are always on this blog.   We are in our 22nd year of our monthly gatherings.


My synopses are available for purchase. Click on the buy synopses tab at the top of the page to search by title. Or, click here for our newest additions.