It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
(paraphrased from Charles Darwin)
Do you remember the TV show All In The Family? In the episode Gloria and the Riddle, Gloria stumps Archie with a classic riddle:
A man and a son were in a car accident. The son was rushed into the emergency room. The doctor announced “I can’t operate on him. He’s my son.” The doctor was not the boy’s father. Why couldn’t the doctor operate?
Archie Bunker never could figure it out – but Edith did, and Archie did not like the answer! It aired on October 7, 1972 (the year I graduated from college), and it seems utterly amazing that an entire show could be built around a riddle that stumped everyone then, and would stump no one today.
Our oldest son is a first year medical school student. At his opening (very impressive) White Coat Ceremony, one of the speakers commented on how he remembered, years earlier, when women made up fewer than 8% of the class. They did not announce this year’s percentage, but my brother and I began our unofficial tally when it became obvious – this year’s class was clearly more than 50% female.
I thought of all this as I read about this upcoming debate. If I could be in New York next Tuesday (September 20, 2011), I would definitely want to attend the debate: Men Are Finished: the live Slate/Intelligence Squared debate on Sept. 20 at NYU. (Details here).
One of the two speakers for the motion is Hanna Rosin, author of the recent article The End of Men for The Atlantic. Here are some paragraphs from an interview in Slate with Ms. Rosin. I bolded some portions for emphasis:
Why are men finished, exactly? Rosin says they’ve failed to adapt to a modern, postindustrial economy that demands a more traditionally—and stereotypically—feminine skill set (read: communication skills, social intelligence, empathy, consensus-building, and flexibility). Statistics show they’re rapidly falling behind their female counterparts at school, work, and home. For every two men who receive a college degree, three women will. Of the 15 fastest-growing professions during the next decade, women dominate all but two. Meanwhile, men are even languishing in movies and on television: They’re portrayed as deadbeats and morons alongside their sardonic and successful female co-stars.
The question I always have to respond to (after her The Atlantic article) is, ‘[if women are taking over] why are there so many more men in power?’ If you look at Hollywood, or you look at the Fortune 500 list, or you look at politics, there’s a disproportionate number of men in the higher positions of power.
(Slate: Why is that, then?)
Men have been at this for 40,000 years. Women have been rising for something like 30 or 40 years. So of course women haven’t occupied every single [high-powered] position. How would that be possible? The rise of women is barely a generation old. But if you look at everything else, like the median, the big bulge in the middle, it’s just unbelievable what has happened: Women are more than 50 percent of the workforce, and they’re more than 50 percent of managers. It’s just extraordinary that that’s happened in basically one generation. It seems like whatever it is that this economy is demanding, whatever special ingredients, women just have them more than men do.
The overall message of the last 25 to 30 years of the economy is the manufacturing era is coming to an end, and men need to retool themselves, get a different education than the one they’ve been getting, and they’re not doing it.
One of the young guys I interviewed put it to me: “I just feel like my team is losing.” They feel like women have clocked them, and it came as a surprise to this young generation of men, so I don’t know that they can’t catch up. They might.
I wrote a piece in the Atlantic last week about the new TV season in which six different fall sitcoms are about men being surpassed by women.
I have presented synopses of a number of books on some of the difficulties/challenges women face in the workplace:
Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay.
Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth by Mika Brzezinski
(and my colleague Karl Krayer presented another Babcok and Leschever book:
Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever.
It is true that women are still underpaid, in comparison with men doing the same job/work. And it is true that men are so very dominant at the very top of the ladder(s). The glass ceiling is still quite real. Consider this quote from the Brzezinski book:
“At the top of the capitalist pyramid, there are almost no women. The areas where the real money and power reside are still occupied almost exclusively by men… How many would picture a Wall Street titan in a skirt? Most of the gain in income and productivity for the whole economy over the past decade, even the past couple of decades, is in the top one percent, and that’s where the women aren’t penetrating.” (Chrystia Freeland, Financial Times).
But, as Ms. Rosin asserts, the tide is turning in so many ways. This may be good (I’m genuinely all for equality) for women, and for society overall, but the men have some serious soul-searching to do, in my opinion. Men, according to Ms. Rosin, have been too slow to adapt (see Darwin paraphrase above), while women have adapted with breathtaking speed to the new realities.
I think this will be quite a debate on September 20.
You can purchase our synopses of three of the books listed above (Women Don’t Ask is not available), with audio + handout, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.
If you are in the DFW area tomorrow, come join us for the September 2, 2011 First Friday Book Synopsis.
Karl Krayer will present his synopsis of:
Those guys have all the fun: Inside the world of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
Randy Mayeux will present his synopsis of:
Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth by Mika Brzezinski.
Great networking, great food, two useful and entertaining presentations. Come join us!
Click here to reserve and prepay – or you can pay at the door.
7:00 am, September 2, 2011
Park City Club
5956 Sherry Lane
Dallas, TX 75225
So, here’s the thing.
You will fail.
You will be left behind, forgotten.
You cannot rely on yesterday’s successes. People will forget them far too quickly.
What are you doing this week – this day – now? That’s how you will be judged.
But… the good news is a second (or third, or fourth) act is possible. But such an act is possible only if you act.
And when you decide to act, you have to make decisions quickly. Will it work, or not? If not, then forget it. And move on. If it might work, give it a shot. If you sense that that is something that will work, go for it – fully – all of it!
You can tell quickly if something works or not.
Both Joe and I had been beaten up in our respective careers, and that experience – plus the fact that we were both bored by the traditional television news format – made us fearless.
We had big plans and even more determination.
You can tell quickly. So, decide quickly. Act on it. Be fearless.
Before you leave town for the Labor Day Weekend, come join us for the September First Friday Book Synopsis.
Karl Krayer will present a synopsis of Those Guys Have all the Fun, about the wildly successful business launch of ESPN. I will present a synopsis of Knowing Your Value, which starts with the remarkable personal story of Mika Brzezinski and her “discovery” of just how unequally she was treated at Morning Joe. Then, as the journalist she is, she pursues this question with interviews/insights from many other accomplished women.
We always have great “back to school – beginning of the fall” attendance at the September First Friday Book Synopsis. If you are in the DFW area, come join us – 7:00 am, September 2, at the Park City Club. Click here to reserve your place.
Here is the New York Times Hardcover Business Books Best Sellers List for August, 2011. The surprise is Tomatoland arriving at #5. I have read the sample download on iBooks, and it is terrific. It is: the story of tomatoes and the story of the tomato business. It is s a business book, and a social justice book. I like is (though it is something of a sad tale).
As I have often pointed out, at the First Friday Book Synopsis we generally do not present books on finance, though I am eyeing Reckless Endangerment for a possible future choice.
We have presented #3, #6, #7, # 9, #13, #14, and #15 from the list. And I will present Knowing Your Value, #11, in September.
Karl Krayer and I (Randy Mayeux) present all of the synopses at the First Friday Book Synopsis. Many of these presentations, with audio + handout, are available for purchase on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. Most of these are approximately 15-17 minutes in length. It is truly a fast way to get the key content of these books, thus helping you deiced whether or not to purchase the book and take a deeper dive.
Here’s the August, 2011 New York Times list.
Book Title and Author
|RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT, by Gretchen Morgenson.|
|CAR GUYS VS. BEAN COUNTERS, by Bob Lutz.|
|4-HOUR WORKWEEK, by Timothy Ferriss.|
|TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, by Dave Ramsey.|
|TOMATOLAND, by Barry Estabrook.|
|SWITCH, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.|
|STRENGTHS-BASED LEADERSHIP, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie.|
|MOST IMPORTANT THING, by Howard Marks.|
|DELIVERING HAPPINESS, by Tony Hsieh.|
|GET RICH CLICK!, by Marc Ostrofsky.|
|KNOWING YOUR VALUE, by Mika Brzezinski.|
|MONEY CLASS, by Suze Orman.|
|ENCHANTMENT, by Guy Kawasaki.|
|REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.|
|THANK YOU ECONOMY, by Gary Vaynerchuk.|
For our First Friday Book Synopsis in September, we have selected two terrific books. The first will be the well-discussed book on ESPN. (Karl really wants to present this book – he is as big a sports fan as anyone I know). There are few businesses that can match the rise, and staying power, of ESPN.
I will present a synopsis of a book that deals with a key question – a person’s vale. Especially the value of a woman in the workplace. Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of Morning Joe, and this book includes her story of her struggle to be paid what she is worth in that job. It is worth a careful look.
If you are in the DFW area, come join us on September 2. You’ll be able to register soon from the home page of this web site.
Synopsis by Karl Krayer
Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.
Synopsis by Randy Mayeux
Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth
by Mika Brzezinski.