Following the success of Lean In and Why Women Should Rule the World, the authors of the best-selling Womenomics provide an informative and practical guide to understanding the importance of confidence - and learning how to achieve it - for women of all ages and at all stages of their career.
Working women today are better educated and more well-qualified than ever before. Yet men still predominate in the corporate world. In The Confidence Code, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay argue that the key reason is confidence.
Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition - with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business - Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to "lean in". Instead, they offer the inspiration and practical advice women need to close the gap and achieve the careers they want and deserve.
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Stop Ruminating and Give it a Listen
I read the teaser article about this book in The Atlantic and was intrigued enough to read the actual book. I'm not a self-help or trendy non-fiction reader, so this book was quite the departure for me. However, the thesis presented in the article in the The Atlantic really resonated with me.
As an adult whose returned to college, I often find myself appalled at the lack of confidence and agency in the young women I take classes with. Often, in many settings from school to work I find myself as the only outspoken woman in a group, and even then, I know how much confidence I lack in comparison to my male colleagues.
I interned at a literary journal and while 70 to 80 percent of the classes, workshops and conferences for creative writing I attend are populated by women, strangely those numbers flip when it comes to who is submitting work to magazines and journals. It's strange that while the majority of writing students are female, an overwhelming majority of those who submit stories are male. It's something I've always found puzzling and concerning. But after reading this book it seems to me that a business, like writing, that involves monumental amounts of rejection, is something women in our society have not been trained to accept.
One of the main ideas in the book is that women are not given the same opportunities as men to fail and fail often enough to become well-practiced in failure, and thus when encountering failure in the real world for the first time as adults, we shrink back and learn we can't fail if we don't try. Which becomes learned helplessness. Women learn to only go for sure-bets and keep reinforcing their lack of confidence by avoiding failure. The book posits that failure, and lots of it, is a necessary building block of confidence.
I wish a lot attitudes and ideas in this book were not true. It was disheartening to realize how much we as women tend to work against ourselves and our success in order to be considered "good girls." There are three things I will take away from this book and internalize for life. Fail harder, stop ruminating, and own my success - I will never again credit luck for what I have achieved.
There are no great epiphany "ah-ha!" moments here, but rather confirmation backed up by scientific studies on why we, as women, lag behind once we leave the sheltered world of school to the business environment. But the book is quick to note, as well, that it's not as easy as Leaning In, because self-assertive women at work are labeled as aggressive bitches. And for this, the book has no solutions, save some very wide platitudes about blending male and female qualities to succeed in the workplace. And that is a very nuanced process that would probably take up another book.
Great read if you have a daughter, work with girls, or if you're doing everything right, but not getting ahead at work and can't figure out why.