Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: The Male Factor

The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhahn contains the results of extensive research through surveys and interviews meant to help working women understand and, therefore, work more effectively with the men in their workplaces.

While Feldhahn does present some interesting and useful information in the book, most of it focuses on the research. The first two chapters, for example, are devoted to how she conducted her research and why. After that, each chapter starts with a rule, perception, or belief held by men about how people should conduct themselves in the workplace. Feldhahn spends a lot of time explaining how her research led her to believe that this is what men are thinking and gives many examples from her survey and interviews to make her point, but she spends very little time explaining how women can use the information productively in order to be more effective in their jobs. In other words, the book tells women what Feldhahn discovered, but leaves them almost entirely on their own to figure out what to do about it.

She does explain how and why men and women perceive things differently and how this can lead to a woman inadvertently doing something in the workplace that can hurt her career. She also gives hope that in some places, men's perceptions are changing, so they recognize the value women bring to the job just by being who they are.

The book focuses almost exclusively on the high-powered, white collar, competitive, fast-track work environment, however. If a woman is in a position where she is competing for promotions, raises, bonuses, and partnerships, Feldhahn's conclusions may be useful to her. Other women may glean some insight from the book, but would probably find a book that covers a broader application range more useful.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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