Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposè of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more or less as normal. In urban planning, politics, the workplace.
Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
The future is uncharted because we aren’t there yet.
Margaret Heffernan, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future
Let me start with a reminder. This is a very good time to be reading books. We are inside more; at home more. And there are so many good, and important, books to read. What books do you have on your reading stack right now?
I’m in the midst of reading my two books for the November 6 First Friday Book Synopsis, our monthly gathering that focuses on two books each month. (Currently on Zoom). These two books are quite different, and both worth our time.
For the books I present, I read every book in full; every page of every chapter. And, I read these books slowly. I highlight passages – literally hundreds of passages. And I do my best to create synopsis handouts that are thorough, and capture the key elements of the books I present.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez won the 2019 Business Book of the Year award from McKinsey and The Financial Times. It is a deserving selection.
Though it is a good and comprehensive, thought-provoking book, it is mainly…correct. Women are invisible in too many ways, in too many arenas: in their daily life, in their work life, in the architecture and structures that they navigate. So many of the decisions of the world have been made by men, and only men, while only thinking about men, for too long. That is the finding of this very good book, and it explains why this was a worthy recipient of the Business Book of the Year award.
(Note: this is the third such book I have presented. An earlier Business Book of the Year was Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford; a significant book. I presented my synopsis of this book at the February, 2016 First Friday Book Synopsis. And, I have also presented my synopsis of Capital by Thomas Pikkety, another recipient of this award, at another book gathering that I speak at: the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare).
Here’s the problem with books such as Invisible Women. First, not enough people read the books, in spite of their popularity. Second, even though the problem it highlights and addresses is so pervasive, people still cannot quite grasp the breadth of the problem with only an occasional book to remind them of it. This book needs a very, very big megaphone.
Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future by Margaret Heffernan is my second book selection for November. Ms. Heffernan is also the author of Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril, which I presented at the August, 2014 First Friday Book Synopsis. This book states, clearly, that there is so very much about the future that we do not know; cannot really ever know. And in this Global Pandemic time, this is a good and needed reminder.
I love reading good books. These are both good books to read. I think my synopses will be useful.
What will you be reading this month?
Here are my earlier blog posts on a couple of the books that I mentioned: