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Preview — The Likeability Trap by Alicia Menendez

Women are perceived as either strong and cold or weak and warm. An award-winning journalist and cohost of PBS's Amanpour and Company examines likability and empowers readers to reject an outdated image of leadership instead of reinventing themselves.
Research shows that the more women succeed, the less likable they become. The minefield is doubly loaded when likability inte
First Edition (advanced reader's edtion), 240 pages
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Rating details

Sep 04, 2019Emily rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by a valued work colleague but I found it difficult to get through because I feel like I'm living it every day. Reading it felt a bit like poking myself with a fork after a long day at the office. The author spends too much time explaining the dynamic considering that most readers could tell the tale themselves. I suppose I should be happy she went to the effort, on the off chance a man will read this. Men who want to be allies--please do!
I soldiered on hoping to get to
Well, it is later and I circled back but didn't get very far. I feel like this book spends too much time whining.
I am trying and failing to get into this one so maybe I will circle back later.
Dec 28, 2019Annie rated it really liked it · review of another edition
It's a collection of stories of discrimination against women, both overt and subtle. I suggest starting with Chapter 10, actions that can be taken by organizations and individuals to reduce discrimination. It helps reveal the bias we all have against women because of expectations that women be helpful and supportive (not driven and successful). A good advice from the book is instead of saying 'the person is not a good fit' (which really means the person is not like me), focus on the results that...more
I really wanted to like this book more.
There are plenty of substantial references but the entire first half of the book was spent stating all the ways females in the general sense (as well as other marginalized females) are up against it. Definitely more of a drag than empowering.
The second half did have some actionable suggestions however went back to the first half’s style of reminding the reader how they’ve historically been played by the system due to the unwillingness to change.
The part
Jan 27, 2020Chris Roberts rated it did not like it
Electra Complex
She prays to the God of Writhing Desire for fatherly relief
To no good effect or cause
Daughter salivates pinnacle sexual intercourse
Rebuffed, patricide is love, no?
Chris Roberts, God of Electric Blue Mirrors
May 06, 2020Mimi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business, 2020-reads, working-on-yourself, diversity-and-inclusion, women-in-business
This book doesn’t teach you how to be likeable, rather it explores the idea of “likability” and how “being likeable” has translated into a tenet of our corporate culture. This book explores likability as a proxy for unconscious bias and gender discrimination. It also offers constructive ways for women to reframe so-called feedback from others that focuses solely on style or presentation, and ways to change your mindset from one of likability to that of relatability. The bottom line: It calls for...more
It’s a solid book of anecdotal evidence around gender and other discrimination in the workplace, with a few bits of research.
For men, I recommend this after you’ve been through a couple other books like Invisible Women and The Moment of Lift. It gave me a lot of ways to start having conversations with colleagues and she definitely nailed the reality of professional life for most women. Every time I bring it up, women finish her thoughts and statements almost verbatim, despite not knowing the bo
It was a pleasant read, I would recommend to women in my workplace. But there is a catch - it spends too much time on stating the problem. Although it has very good point and does cature attention, maybe it would have been better to start to talk about ideas on possible solutions a bit sooner.
Nevertless it was a good read and worth the time.
The beginning of the book does an excellent job setting up the hurdles women in leadership face. However, the steps to moving forward did not leave me as motivated or encouraged as I had hoped. That may be more of an indication of the gravity of the problem than Ms. Menendez’s writing though.
Dec 14, 2019Samantha Hines rated it it was amazing
A must read. It’s less self-helpy than it sounds. A lot of good info on structural inequality and some reasons why individual fixes won’t help.
Jun 04, 2021Maeve rated it liked it
Shelves: strong-female-characters, topic-feminism, nonfiction, age-adult, format-textbook, librarian-professional-development
An expose on the experiences women face in the workplace/public eye: choosing between being perceived as likeable (warm and, therefore, weak) or ambitious (strong, and therefore, cold and calculating). Menendez uses psychological studies, stories from women, and her own experiences to show the delicate balance that women must face as leaders. She does include advice for individuals and organizations to challenge these unconscious biases against women and champion women in leadership roles.
The to
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Dec 20, 2020Rita Arens rated it liked it · review of another edition
Apr 17, 2021Kat Riethmuller rated it really liked it
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Feb 03, 2020Christian rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Preface: I don’t think as a Filipino Canadian man, this book was written for me. Preface 2: I absolutely believe in and wholeheartedly advocate for intersectional feminism. I picked up this book because I try to have my work speak for itself and because I am not conventionally likeable at work. I read about the troubles many women have to navigate and I greatly sympathize. If I’m ever in a position to change things I will.
A bit too simple, wish the author dup deeper into some of the concepts she explored. Explores the biases within ourself and organizations we work for, and includes a few good snippets of advice.
Feb 09, 2020Ignacio Torres rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Should be required reading for every manager.
I was looking for a book to help me feel sane and seen. This was the book. As the only female in the production division at a manufacturing company and currently a mid level manager, I felt like things that were said and done were biased but never so outrightly so that I could do anything about it. I wondered if I was reading into things or making up situations/confrontation that didn't happen. This book made me feel seen. Like... really seen. This book felt like a punch to the gut because I liv...more
“The Likability Trap” helped me realize I wasn’t going crazy. As a partner, a director of design and an Affiliate Assistant Professor, I couldn’t figure out why leading by example *as me* - someone who makes decisive decisions, with intensity and strength was valued in some ways but so scrutinized and judged in others? I thought if I did more of what was being asked of me as a leader it would fix things. It didn’t fix anything. I struggle (still struggle) with staff morale and finding ways for h...more
Overall, I thought it was good-- it identified key interactions defining when 'likeability,' rather than skills or productivity are being judged, and provided some actionable solutions for both organizations and individuals to push back against likeability bias. It also acknowledged this is not an individual problem, in that how likeable an individual is or is not is a subjective judgement that varies based on circumstance, the persons they're interacting with, and other factors. Taking this int...more
The purpose I had in reading this book was that I wanted to gain some insight into what at least one kind of issue women deal with in a corporate space that was recently written.
This book taught me that corporate women like Menendez really are overly privileged toots if likability in the workplace is the worst of their problems to deal with. Or actually, a better way to put this is, why has this become such a central problem for women in the first place to warrant a 200 page book on the subject
Unfortunately this book is an incredible disappointment. I chose it from my local library as I liked the title and flicked to a passage about the difference between Askers and those that are too polite to ask. 'Could be very interesting,' I thought, so I read this book from start to finish.
The first few chapters are fairly solid, outlining all the ways women across different ethic and minority groups are gripped between wanting to be passive and liked, or wanting to be strong and unliked. But fr
There is a lot of potential here.
My father bought this book for me after seeing a review on TV. I asked, is this because I care about being liked? His answer, in short, I’m very nice and he is afraid of people taking advantage of that at work. Fair concern. Ok- so based on that conversation, this book was not what I thought I was getting myself into.
The first part of this book describes every possible discrimination women and minorities face in the workplace with a little research sprinkled in
The book was well researched and provided insight to well known female leaders, however I felt that it provided little in the way of next steps beyond soliciting feedback and being authentic.
I got this book because I’d recently been told by my manager that I was “competent, but intimidating” and as a 24 yo was looking for ways to address that that would likely be the feedback I received for the rest of my career, and how to balance it with a conditioned perceived need to be liked. I didn’t get a
I was expecting a regular self-help book with tips on how YOU can fix things and was instead jarred by the timeliness of the research and the takeaways at the end. I won't spoil them. As far as reading the book, it hooked me in strongly, I had to slog through the middle, and I can't say I enjoyed the ending, but these feelings are almost entirely related to the harsh truth of the subject matter. The systemic and sociological issues surrounding likeability vs. success as a gendered issue are disc...more
Jun 04, 2021AliciaTiffany rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Shelves: four-star, 2021-reads, chick-lit, physical-copy, 2019-releases
I received a copy of this book from an old co-worker couple months. She bought copies for all the women in our section because she read it and it resonated with her. She felt we would also get something from it as well.
Being Active Duty Military for 11 years and being in a male dominant organization. I found a lot of things in this book very relatable, but I also already practiced and knew a lot of the things she mentioned in the book.
I do think this is a good book, especially for a woman in the
I'd echo what another reviewer says- 'I found it difficult to get through because I feel like I'm living it every day. Reading it felt a bit like poking myself with a fork after a long day at the office.' The book provides accurate illustrations of the reality of professional life for most women for the first two-thirds of the book- which helped me not feel as isolated, but agree that it was tough to read through while nodding, 'YEP'. My copy is one giant dog-ear at this point.
There were some go
I think this book becomes more valuable to combine with other books that tackles the same issue. Then one can better form patterns into solid actionables how to foster gender equality in personal and professional life.
However by itself the book goes into a loop that starts with actual facts about what women faces in workplaces, some actionables but ends in a way that goes back to the initial narrative of generating / repeating facts in a non-conclusive manner.
In short, pairing this with books l
Aug 25, 2020Stephanie rated it liked it · review of another edition
Despite no indication on the cover, this is a book for women. It covers women’s issues in the workplace and the plethora of double standards they face there. The first part was a perpetual seesaw of detailing the likability vs success issue (it was exhausting). The second part was stories showing this seesaw in action (there is no universal advice). It open conversation about how race and other minority issues fall into this problem was wonderful. There was also a high number of buzzwordy/curren...more
The Likeability Trap: How your immutable characteristics are the real cause of your failure to become successful. A quintessential case study of the pervasive neurosis that plagues the millennial generation full of narcissists.
Alicia's cheapens the examples of being judged as a woman by first explaining a situation, and what are valid criticisms/explanations of why the outcome of that situation occurred as it did. Then the reader is meant to forget those reasons and embrace a victim-mentality wi
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