While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Review: The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhahn

Let me thank Staci with WaterBrook Press for sending me a review copy of this one.

About the book

This expanded edition includes faith-based insights throughout, plus an added chapter with supportive application and wisdom from senior Christian women in the workplace.

Millions of women gained eye-opening insights about the inner lives of men through Shaunti Feldhahn’s best-selling book For Women Only. Now with The Male Factor, Feldhahn brings her innovative research approach to the workplace to help women understand their male colleagues. Based on a nationwide survey and confidential interviews with thousands of men whose anonymity was guaranteed, her book reveals the private thoughts and attitudes that men rarely disclose but every woman needs to know.

Never before has an author gotten inside the hearts and minds of men in the workplace—from CEOs to nonprofit managers, from lawyers to factory workers—to discover what they commonly think about women on the job, what their expected “rules” of the workplace are, what “managing emotion” means, and what factors improve or harm a man’s respect for a female co-worker.

Among the little-known but critical insights The Male Factor reveals are:

o how men, with rare exception, view almost any emotional display as a sign that the person can no longer think clearly (as well as what men perceive as emotion in the first place)
o why certain types of trendy attire may actually sabotage a woman’s career
o which little-known signals ensure that a man’s perception of a strong female colleague is positive (“assertive and competent”) instead of negative (“difficult”)

Even women who have navigated male-dominated work environments for years have expressed surprise at these and other revelations in the book. Some readers may find them challenging. Yet The Male Factor delivers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for women to understand how male bosses, colleagues, subordinates, and customers privately think, and why they react the way they do. These vital insights enable each woman to make informed decisions in her unique workplace situation.

In this expanded Christian edition, Feldhahn builds on the same research and information as in the general-market edition, but speaks directly to the interests and questions of women of faith, whether their workplace is a part-time ministry or a Fortune 500 corporation. This edition of The Male Factor also delivers invaluable advice from senior Christian women who have broad experience in dealing with these questions, understand and share the reader’s values, and want to help other women achieve the best possible work relationships.

My Review

Shaunti Feldhahn spent many years collecting data about how men think, that led her to start collecting information about how men perceive women in the workplace. At first I thought that this would be a bunch of statistics and charts. There were some statistics and charts but that was not the meat of the book. Most of the book explains what men are thinking about working women, why they think that way, and what changes a woman could make to be better accepted by the men she works with.

There were so many things that I didn't really think would actually hinder a woman's ability to move up in the corporate world. But most of these things were things that all (or most) women do instinctively that men think are unprofessional. Then there were the things that I've learned in my own experiences that I thought were fairly common knowledge amongst women (but apparently they are not). One of the things that was most shocking to me is the way women dress, even when we think we look professional, can be very distracting to men. I won't go into specifics, but I think it's interesting, especially when you go to her website and see some examples...

I liked how she looked at the inherent differences between how men and women think and how the brain is wired for each gender to have these differences of thought. Even though I've recognized these differences on my own I never even realized that they would affect how a woman is perceived at work. I also liked how each fact was followed up with a quote from a man that she had interviewed. The quotes were very pertinent and really made me think about the point the man was trying to make.

I really liked this book. Not only was it interesting but I think that it was enlightening. Just as Feldhahn says, you may not agree with everything she discovered about men, but if you can at least understand it then you could be doing yourself a huge favor.

To get more information about The Male Factor, or to find where to purchase a copy please visit Random House's website.

For more insight into The Male Factor please visit the website for the book.

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