The subject of bias in society and the workplace is one that has been gaining traction of late, especially in corporate America. There are classes being taught on “unconscious bias”, diversity and inclusion. It is a topic that we hear about on the nightly news, and it is being placed front and center in our minds. “Biased”, by Jennifer Eberhardt, is not a book that I would normally be attracted to, but I was curious how this PhD would handle the topic. The fact that I would not necessarily be attracted to the book is what attracted me! I love books that challenge me to think differently, to make me see things that I am used to seeing in a different way. It is an uncomfortable read because I could identify how I might react or think about certain situations.
Bias is neither a good thing or a bad thing. It is the way we have learned to think about things. We have biases about food, the way we dress, about our relationships and who we like as our friends. We are biased by our upbringing and biased by the things we are exposed to in our daily life. Sometimes bias works for us, and sometimes it doesn’t. Jennifer talks about some of the ways that our biases work against us in the way we encounter other people. The book is well researched and well written. I listened to the audiobook, and I believe the book is read by the author. Her voice is unpleasant—you may say that is one way that bias can get in the way of the message. I recognized the bias and listened anyway. The book helped me understand the transaction.
A friend of mine, Ajay Bendolph, constantly reminds me to look at the way I think about things and see them differently. He has helped me to consider things through a different filter. Without him, I would probably not have picked up the book. I hope I have made a compelling enough case for you to pick up the book and consider things differently.