Books on teh wimmenz

If you liked Lean In (or thought it didn’t go far enough!), here are some other books you may enjoy:

Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women by Virginia Valian (we <3 Valian’s work, referenced here)

Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman’s Guide to Surviving in the Academic World, by Paula Caplan, who is an awesome writer of things.

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth

Women Don’t Ask. (Ask For It)

Failing At Fairness (#2’s not such a big fan of this, but go ahead and read) (also there’s a sequel out, which neither of us has read yet)

Women of Academe: Outsiders in the Sacred Grove (old but still good)

Claudia Goldin’s Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office (which #1 is less a fan of — a lot of this advice is outdated and just wrong… it’s one of those advising women to be more like men books based on zero research, even though the research-based norm now is advising men to be more like women!).

I have What Works for Women  on my to-read shelf.

Who’s got more recommendations for us?  Let everyone know in the comments!

30 Responses to “Books on teh wimmenz”

  1. Mrs PoP Says:

    Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich was the 2nd personal finance book I ever read and at the time (22 years old) it was a great little kick in the ass to start learning how to value myself. Today it might read differently since I’ve changed a lot over the last 10 years, but I’m with #2 that the Nice Girls series has a place and many women can benefit from it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Nice girls don’t get the corner office gives lots of advice that will backfire if you try it. There’s no research base and we know now that the reason women don’t behave like men is because when they do,they get punished for it. Women aren’t stupid.

  2. Miser Mom Says:

    I have not (yet) read any of the following; they were recommended to me by a visiting applied mathematician who said they helped her build her own research team and mentor her students more effectively:

    Play like a man, win like a woman, Gail Evans
    How to say it for women, Phyllis Mindell
    Ask for it , Linda Babcock
    The Well Spoken Woman, ???

  3. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    This is totally off-topic BUT I really think someone needs to write a step-by-step guide for men who are not able to properly communicate with women. The guy who is here replacing my air conditioner coil just totally mansplained me for the second time (he did some work her last week too). He talks to my husband as if he is an HVAC expert, yet cannot answer a single question I ask without asking as if it is the most ridiculous question he has ever heard. My next door neighbor could also benefit from a book like this. When I tried talking to him about the fact that his sump pump is leaving a puddle in my yard, he said “I would rather talk to Greg about it.”

    Rant over, but I think more books need to be directed at men who cannot talk to women without being asses!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Men Explain Things to Me?

      Man, life would be so much easier if the effort put forward to change women’s behavior were focused on men instead. But it’s like STD prevention– male STD prevention/birth control (condoms) is way more effective (than diaphragms or sponges), but women are more likely to use it because they have better motivation.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        I just asked for clarification on our bill and he said “I already explained that part to your husband, so it’s fine.” I swear. Question – would you take this opportunity to point out to someone how sexist they are being in this situation? I am tempted to point out his behavior but don’t know if it will be a lost cause. I would also like to point out to him that my husband doesn’t know jack $hit about air conditioners…which is why he’s here in the first place!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dunno, I’m actually a bad spouse and use the patriarchy as an excuse to make my husband interface with sales people. Given my personality either I would blow up at the guy in a moment of annoyance or I would passive-aggressively not go with him and find someone who wasn’t an asshole to work with.

        In work situations when this happens to me (thankfully rare around here, but more common when I leave the department), I tend to push on things until I’m taken seriously. I also name-drop. Which won’t help with an a/c person, but does help with assholes who judge based on gender (because they also tend to care about name-dropping).

      • Debbie M Says:

        It hardly sounds like it could get any worse, so I’d try it. I’d say that I feel like he’s treating me like a four-year-old, and I’d rather he treat me like a grown man. Then whenever he gives you a stupid answer, you can say, “Excuse me, let me ask that again.” And then ask in a deep voice. The humor may help.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        I moved to the kitchen table so he is forced to communicate with me each time he opens the door from the garage =) He would have to walk past me and down the hall to talk to my husband. Hehe

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Speaking of mansplaining… One of the assistants for career services was discussing things directly related to my research and also very basic outside my office and was getting them wrong in a very, “I watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh” sort of way and I said that it sounded like he needed to take a class on Public Finance, and honest to God he told me, no, I needed to take a class on Public Finance. Seriously. I said Excuse Me, and that I teach that class and then slammed the door. I heard him saying, “Jeesh” because you know, all them women is hysterical. He’s the same guy that taunted me after I told another staff guy off for telling me to smile for 10 years in a row after I repeatedly asked him to stop.

        Right now I’m debating whether I want to make an issue of this by talking to his boss or not. On the one hand, his boss believes in respect for professors, on the other hand, his boss also doesn’t like making trouble and has been known to try to smooth things over for everyone so it’s likely he’d agree without agreeing that I’m just a hysterical woman.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        “Smile.” Isn’t that the worst? Why do random men think it’s okay to tell women to smile all the time? Men said that to me at the funeral home constantly. All I heard was, “I really want to talk to you, but am too socially awkward, so I’ll just say you should smile instead.”

        What he said to you was very condescending!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/the-bitch-face/ I think it’s more than them just being socially awkward and wanting to talk. Jessica Williams’ Daily Show piece this past year was what gave me the courage to finally chew the guy who had been doing it out about it.

        This guy was not just condescending, but disrespectful and inappropriate (also stupid). He’s the assistant to career services, I’m an economics professor. ONE of us knows about economics and it’s not the one who quotes Rush Limbaugh. But I also know he thinks poorly of me for sending my children to daycare instead of home schooling as a SAHM (like his wife) and he’s extremely inappropriate with the way he interacts with the female staff.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        I have to be honest (don’t hate me) – I have not considered myself a feminist in the past, nor have I experienced much sexism in the workplace as an adult. The boss I had for most of my adult life until now was a female, and she ruled with an iron fist. She was fearless, dominating, and left men quivering in their boots. She did treat both sexes fairly when it came to work-related issues, but I sometimes felt that she gave preference to female employees. I realize that my situation was not normal at all.

        With that being said, I have experienced more sexism in the last 12 months than I have my entire life, and it’s beginning to make me see things in a new way. It sucks to have to experience it to see that it’s real, but I’m thankful for these experiences nonetheless.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        That’s one of the joys of being in a male-dominated field– I’ve been dealing with overt (and less overt) sexism since high school. :( It’s also one of the reasons it is hard to leave my job– I know it’s worse in other departments.

        You may have to start going by Henry for some of your freelance stuff. We read a powerful article on a freelancer who did exactly that and the change in how she was treated was enormous. I wish I could remember where that was– the name of the article was something like “[male name] wears women’s underpants.”

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        … and he just walked by my office while I was with a student and *smirked* at me… Next time I see his boss I will have to say something.

      • Rosa Says:

        PLEASE go complain about that guy. I can’t imagine he’s doing any good for women coming through Career Services, if he doesn’t believe women should have careers.

  4. gwinne Says:

    I really liked Schulte’s Overwhelmed.

    And I can’t remember the title offhand, but the Demeter Press book on academic women is pretty good. Mama, PhD just depressed me.

  5. becca Says:

    Would any of them be especially recommended to produce a feeling of prepared optimism for job offer negotiation?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t know about that (maybe What works for women? I haven’t read it yet, but I have read some of the original work it’s based on). Did you get a job offer?

      • becca Says:

        Maybe (hopefully!) soon? I’ve been interviewing for an industry position that I really have no way of knowing what the salary range is for (the usual googly suspects like glassdoor are not much help). It’d be better than a postdoc, and less than a Medical Affairs manager, but beyond that I have no idea.

    • Cloud Says:

      What Works For Women At Work has a little bit on job offers. It is similar to other things that trigger the “double bind” or “tightrope” issue- there is no good answer, and you have to walk a narrow line. Basically, there is research that shows that if women negotiate hard, they might get what they want at the start but then fail to advance because they now have a reputation as being difficult. I believe there is some more recent research indicating that women can negotiate more effectively by pitching their arguments as “good for everyone,” but that is definitely an advanced negotiating move and not one I’ve ever been able to pull off.

      • CG Says:

        When I negotiated for my salary I prefaced it by saying something like, “You know, they say that women usually don’t think to negotiate, so I need to ask, can you go any higher?” I got $1000 more, which isn’t a ton but does add up over time. Much more than a one-time summer salary would have. I don’t know if that was weird or not, but it did remove the discomfort I felt about negotiating. (See? I’m just doing this to rectify decades of inequality–it’s not for me.)

  6. Jenny F. Scientist, PhD Says:

    I made my (smart but very non-aggressive, medical professional who is licensed to diagnose and prescribe) mother read Women Don’t Ask and she negotiated up $20k for her last job! And she told off a pharmacist last week too, after the pharmacist criticized her in writing for a patient’s refusal to go to the ER or spend $4 on a prescription. I was so proud.

    I’ve read most of that list and they were great. Ms. Mentor’s books are entertaining even if you’re not in academia.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Excellent! (also we love Ms. Mentor’s books.)

      • becca Says:

        I read Ms. Mentor too early in grad school and it is delightfully written, but still irked the heck out of me. Every bit of advice sounded like “get tenure, then change things”. Made me realize they don’t give tenure to anyone they think might actually change things, and also, that getting tenure TIRES you out for fighting battles.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Battles seem even more tiresome after tenure, because tenure isn’t everything. It just means you can’t get fired… you still have to work with the people potentially forever.

        I’ve been having a really bad week.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2 here, I made an unassailable tenure case from my research (and ok teaching and service) and they had to tenure me even though some of them didn’t like me. I got rowdy. Hooray for being rowdy.

  7. Cloud Says:

    I also read Deborah Tannen’s “Talking from 9 to 5” recently, as preparation for a talk on self-promotion I agreed to give. Tannen’s book is less advice and more description, but it was still useful, and the chapter on how women are always “marked” was really helpful for me. The talk was largely a summary of the info in What Works For Women at Work, Talking from 9 to 5, and this article from HBR: http://citt.hccfl.edu/Newsletters/NewsletterID1.pdf

    I threw in a little bit of Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s research at the end, to counteract the assumption that the male way is the “right” way. If you haven’t read him on the dangers of confidence, here’s an article: https://hbr.org/2014/07/the-dangers-of-confidence/

    What Works For Women at Work is the only one I’ve read that actually addresses women of color, too. I’ve had Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden, recommended as a book specific for Black women, but now that I’m not directly managing people anymore, I have less incentive to read it ASAP, so it is languishing on my “read this sometime” list.


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