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Leadership and the Sexes: Using Gender Science to Create Success in Business Hardcover – August 25, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Using a hefty helping of neurobiology, corporate moguls Gurian and Annis illustrate how brain chemistry influences gender and how gender in turn powerfully affects every aspect of workplace behavior. The authors contend that corporations attentive to gender and behavior can enhance their performance, competitive edge and bottom line. The authors discuss how men and women wield leadership, bond, regard and execute authority and approach management and conflict resolution skills—applying their findings on male/female brain differences to account for the variations in behavior. Though they tackle the big questions—for instance, do women have to become men to get ahead?—they are at their best when at their most practical, using step-by-step instructions, exercises and simply worded GenderTools to teach men and women to understand each other in meetings and on the golf course. Though a front-loaded density of neuroscience may deter the casual browser, readers with a genuine interest and a desire to improve workplace gender relations will do well with this pragmatic and well-intentioned guide. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Consultants Gurian (brain science specialist) and Annis (specialist in workplace gender issues) bring together theory and practical ideas for corporations seeking new understanding of men and women in the workplace. In part 1, we learn about the science of the brain; while equally intelligent, men and women do show differences in brains, and as a result, men and women function differently. Part 2 uses specific tools for integrating gender into the workplace, including improving negotiating, communication, and conflict-resolution skills for both men and women as they work together. Part 3 evaluates how a company balances its male and female leaders, noting that attention to gender issues positively impacts financial results and leads to human capital gains. This is not a difficult book to read, and the effective use of case studies, scientific studies, and exercises provides thoughtful insight into the ongoing challenges of gender issues in corporations. This excellent book will appeal to a wide range of library patrons. --Mary Whaley
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078799703X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787997038
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anthony I. Jack on May 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am a professor of Cognitive Science who specialized in brain imaging at a major research University. I write this review having been disgusted to recently read some quotes from this book in a paper by a student. This book makes baldly false claims. It is worthless from a scientific point of view. Gender differences in the brain are subtle, and so far it has proven hard to identify any reliable brain differences that translate through to behavioral differences. I often look for such differences in my research on social and scientific reasoning, and to date I have found them too small to be significant. This is not to say that there are no biological gender differences. There are small behavioral differences (e.g. on mental rotation), and some small biological differences (see work by Larry Cahill). However cultural effects of gender stereotype are also very strong - the current evidence would suggest they are far stronger than any genuine biological differences. Self-report measures show clear differences, because those measures assess people's self-concept, but neither objective behavior nor neural measures show such clear differences.
Books like this one play loose with scientific facts in the service of reinforcing social stereotypes. These stereotypes tend to be heavily internalized by men and women, so that they actually influence their performance on tests, causing them to perform less well than they might otherwise. This phenomenon is called stereotype threat - you can google it. Because of stereoptype threat, we can't even be sure the small differences we see between genders on objective performance tests reflect genuine differences in potential, or are merely reflections of social sterotypes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Aargh!! I just heard the numbers in this book parroted on the CBS Early Show. How can any rational person believe a book that says "Men have approximately six and a half times more gray matter related to cognition and intelligence than women have, and women have nearly ten times more white matter related to cognition and intelligence than men have.." That means 650% more gray matter, folks! (And 1000% more white matter!)

To think that this self-styled "philosopher," WITHOUT ANY MEDICAL OR SCIENTIFIC TRAINING, could go on publishing this junk!! Someone must put a stop to Michael Gurian and his absurd "brain-based" claims about gender differences. The real data on sex differences in the human brain are much more subtle and of no known behavioral signficance.

If women have trouble as leaders it is because our society still unconsciously associates the word "leader" with "male." So women need to sidestep in all these careful ways to get their point across and encourage others to follow them without appearing pushy or unfeminine.

Ah, but if we tell people it's all "hardwired," then we don't have to change our stereotypes--or our power structure!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are essentially 2 parts to this book:
1. The authors say they have a groundbreaking work that is irrefutable, because science. In actuality, they take dubious studies (tiny sample sizes, not replicated), employ faulty reasoning to draw wild inferences, and use this as evidence for gendered stereotypes (e.g., males prefer activities that involve tossing an object around and males shut down their emotions) and other wild conclusions (e.g., women "remember better" and are more intuitive than men - these are based on their "findings" that women have larger hippocampi and generally a thicker corpus callosum than do men).
2. The authors give some tips on how to use their "scientific" knowledge of male/female differences in the workplace. The authors divide this into 2 parts - tips on what you can do now, and tips on long term applications.

Researchers often conduct studies with small sample sizes and limited other resources to see if there is something worth investigating in that area. Many want to know if they can obtain grant funding, how best to approach a study (what kind of resources to commit, what kind of methods to use, etc), and if they will be published so they conduct studies like this. The media reports such research if it has some exciting finding, but until the findings are further investigated (e.g., replicated in studies with larger sample sizes to see if they generalize to large populations), the findings are only interesting and not too meaningful. The authors of this book take such potentially meaningless findings and tout them as "hard science," saying things like there are distinctly male and female brains.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. When we've used in programs to open the dialogue for partnering and tapping into the strengths of both genders, I've found it is a key resource for women working more effectively with men and men with women.
Cheryl Alexander Stearns www.cherylalexander.com
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Format: Hardcover
Gender has become such an important topic in companies and organizations that senior leaders and line executives will lose effectiveness if they don't have the latest scientific brain research straightforwardly described in this book.

Most valuable, this book also includes some practical, easy to use tools and approaches that I applied in my work (and home) -- immediately.

From Michael Gurian we finally have a serious, business-oriented, fact-based, value/politics free knowledgebase and resources for moving to the next generation of gender effectiveness and mobilizing the special skills and capabilities of women and men.

So much of the current "gender diversity" approaches and rhetoric, presentations and training programs are based on feel-good ideology and anecdotes. For example, trying to make guys more like women or women less "aggressive." I've been involved in a lot of these and everybody's eyes just glaze over now.

I've been buying this book for my friends and it has made a difference in their work right away.
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