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Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work Reprint Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0380717835
ISBN-10: 0380717832
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tannen probes the way gender roles shape the ways men and women communicate in the workplace, and how these differences lead to misunderstandings.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Tannen (You Just Don't Understand, Morrow, 1990) describes differences in men's and women's public communication as found within the business setting. These differences appear to influence actual perceptions of worker skills and abilities. For example, women say "I'm sorry" without actually apologizing and tend to use an indirect manner of speech. These styles make women appear less confident, competent, and professional. However, women who learn to speak like men are accused of being aggressive and unfeminine. Written for the general reader, Tannen's work is entertaining and filled with illustrative conversations. It raises many issues of concern to working women, from knocking against the glass ceiling to dealing with sexual harassment. Unfortunately, Tannen's research has not yet suggested any linguistic solutions. Highly recommended for general public and academic libraries.
--Kathy Shimpock-Vieweg, O'Connor Cavanagh Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380717832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380717835
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stacey M Jones on April 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
TALKING FROM 9 TO 5: WOMEN AND MEN AT WORK by Deborah Tannen is a book that everyone should read if he or she goes to work, anywhere. If you are a boss or have a boss, you should read this book (thank you Mom & Dad). If you work with other people, you should read this book. Now that I have stressed that, I will tell you more about the book's focus and the points Tannen makes very well. She is well known for her book, YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND, which I have not read, but which is about how relationship problems come about due to differing communication styles between women and men ("Report" talk by men vs. "rapport" talk by women -- women talk "troubles talk" to build community, when men hear this, they are more than likely to feel that the problems need solving and will say what to do; this creates dissonance as the woman just wants to feel understood not "bossed" around, and the man can't understand why she's telling him problems if she doesn't want solutions). This book takes those issues to work and through many examples from her own research and others in sociolinguistics, anthropology and sociology, Tannen makes the point that different communication styles are problematic only when people don't understand them, that there is no "better" way to talk than another. Tannen made a fascinating point about communication styles and conversation rituals. She writes that people think they can tell when someone is lying to them, but research shows that really, people are not good at discerning this. In a similar way, we think we can tell if someone is confident and a good leader by the way they talk, but we can't.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
One of the most frequent criticisms I have heard of this work from my colleagues is, "So what do I do about it?", "How do I fix it?" Interesting enough to me, most of these comments were from men. Most of my female colleagues seemed more content to understand, appreciate and work within the differences. Deborah Tannen is careful not to show a preference for one style over another, and careful to respect both speaking modes. This approach can be very frustrating to anyone looking for a "How to" business book. This book is not about solutions any more than a book comparing the French and Spanish cultures is about solutions. It is about understanding linguistic/cultural differences. Those who understand will appreciate the "other's" language. Those who do not understand will keep on misunderstanding, wondering what is wrong and looking for a book that will tell them how to fix it. I regularly recommend this book to every business woman in one of my seminars. And, I recommend that they also buy copies for (a) their boss and (b) all of their subordinates . . . particularly if they are men.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Tannen has written several books detailing the effect of gender upon conversational style. This book, specifically, offers insights specific to the work place. The author cites research to substantiate her claims, but she does not bore the reader with scientific paradigms -- she speaks in a language we all can understand. The biggest problem with the book is that it does not seem to flow. Her theories need to be better articulated through the book, and she needs to spend more time making sure that everything does not run together. If you have not read "You just don't understand," and you have a choice between the two books, pick that one. It will give the same information in a more organized way.
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I wish I would have read this book 20 years ago. It was an eye-opening experience. As a female executive working in a male-dominated profession, this book shed new light on interactions I've had with male colleages, bosses and employees where I felt something had been "lost in translation" but couldn't put my finger on why. Put another way, this book teaches you the other gender's "secret language."

In a dream world, this would be mandatory reading for all men in the workplace. Males who are not aware of these communication differences are likely not hiring or promoting talented female employees because they misconstrue their politeness for passiveness, or their humble remarks (or even self-degrading remarks) for lack of confidence, etc.

As a working woman, reading this book gave me an advantage. After reading it, I find myself using a different communication style now with males at work than I do with females at work. At least now I am aware of how the "female" communication style I naturally use is probably being heard by my male superiors. Likewise, as a boss I've put this book, along with "Who Moved My Cheese?", on the reading list for new hires.

Substantively, I felt the book could have used some major editing starting about half-way through where it became a bit tedious. But it's worth the read for the important lessons learned.

Lastly, others have criticized this book for not offering solutions to the problem. The solution is awareness. If both genders are aware of these communication differences, the problem is virtually eliminated.
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