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Book Review: That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (and Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman
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Book Review: That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (and Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman - Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (and Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman

Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (and Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman

“First things first: There will be no man shaming in That’s What She Said. No male bashing. No finger-pointing.”

Joanne Lipman speaks her purpose at the beginning of her book, letting men and women know that men shouldn’t feel threatened by this book and that they are included in this conversation because they need to be included. A reading audience of women already knows most of what she has to share.

In That’s What She Said; What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together (William Morrow, 2018), Lipman offers her experience from the top. She was the first woman to be deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, and until recently the Chief Content Officer of Gannett and editor-in-chief of USA Today. As a woman executive in a field that’s traditionally overwhelmingly male, she has surely seen the corporate world at its best and worst when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.

Her initial caveat is explained throughout the opening chapter. Men feel locked out of the conversation, overly cautious about voicing support for fear they will say the wrong thing, defensive about being the villain in a long history of unfair practices, and resentful about a perceived loss of status. She cites many of our favorites, Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg among them.

“So where does that leave us?” she asks. “With a conundrum: since neither side is talking openly to the other, lots of men are still clueless about the women they work with every day. Not intentionally. But wow. They unwittingly belittle us, or ignore us, or do something they think is nice that just infuriates us instead.”

If hearing the phrase “gender equality” gets you nervous, you’ve got to read this book. It’s a safe space where Lipman voices many of the things we fear and offers some practical help for understanding what’s going on and changing the way we interact with one another. “We’re All a Little Bit Sexist” is the title of chapter 3, and it addresses unconscious bias, one of the things even the most forward-thinking among us has to worry about.

Chapter 5 is titled “She’s Pretty Sure You Don’t Respect Her,” and is heavy with research pretty much proving that biases favoring men exist deep within all of us, resulting in the “respect gap.” The research in this chapter is nicely supplemented by real-world (and very recent) narratives, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Harvey Weinstein allegations, and other big-news stories related to sexual harassment. Of course you already know there’s a respect gap, but you’ll be appalled at some of the specific examples Lipman provides.

If none of this convinces you to pick this book up, stop at your neighborhood bookstore (if your neighborhood is one of those rarities that still has a bookstore) and flip to the back, to a section called “Cheat Sheet: Tips and Takeaways for men—and women.” There you’ll find very short, bite-sized pieces to help level the playing field, with advice men and women can both adopt. “Interrupt the interrupters,” says one. “Interrupt a no interruptions rule for everyone,” Lipman writes. “Alternatively, if a woman is cut off in conversation, cut off the interrupter: ‘Olivia was speaking. Let’s let her finish her though first.’”

We shouldn’t have to be told this stuff, but evidence seems to indicate we need to be told, and here is a successful, sympathetic leader in her field to help us learn to talk about it, and to understand why we should talk about it. Please read this!

 

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Book Review: That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (and Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman - Executive Leadership Articles

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