“Finally: an engaging, evidence-based book about how to battle biases, champion diversity and inclusion, and advocate for those who lack power and privilege. Dolly Chugh makes a convincing case that being an ally isn’t about being a good person—it’s about constantly striving to be a better person.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
Foreword by Laszlo Bock, the bestselling author of Work Rules! and former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google
An inspiring guide from Dolly Chugh, an award-winning social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business, on how to confront difficult issues including sexism, racism, inequality, and injustice so that you can make the world (and yourself) better.
Many of us believe in equality, diversity, and inclusion. But how do we stand up for those values in our turbulent world? The Person You Mean to Be is the smart, "semi-bold" person’s guide to fighting for what you believe in.
Dolly reveals the surprising causes of inequality, grounded in the "psychology of good people". Using her research findings in unconscious bias as well as work across psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and other disciplines, she offers practical tools to respectfully and effectively talk politics with family, to be a better colleague to people who don’t look like you, and to avoid being a well-intentioned barrier to equality. Being the person we mean to be starts with a look at ourselves.
She argues that the only way to be on the right side of history is to be a good-ish— rather than good—person. Good-ish people are always growing. Second, she helps you find your "ordinary privilege"—the part of your everyday identity you take for granted, such as race for a white person, sexual orientation for a straight person, gender for a man, or education for a college graduate. This part of your identity may bring blind spots, but it is your best tool for influencing change. Third, Dolly introduces the psychological reasons that make it hard for us to see the bias in and around us. She leads you from willful ignorance to willful awareness. Finally, she guides you on how, when, and whom, to engage (and not engage) in your workplaces, homes, and communities. Her science-based approach is a method any of us can put to use in all parts of our life.
Whether you are a long-time activist or new to the fight, you can start from where you are. Through the compelling stories Dolly shares and the surprising science she reports, Dolly guides each of us closer to being the person we mean to be.
Chugh, an associate professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, offers practical advice on being aware of bias, diversity, oppression, and privilege, and on acting intentionally on that awareness in everyday life, in this helpful guidebook. The author advances thoughtfully through four major themes: "activating the growth mindset," "seeing the ordinary privilege," "opting for willful awareness," and "engaging the people and systems around us." Humility is the touchstone of Chugh's approach. She is not afraid to illustrate lessons with her own missteps, as when she met a transgender activist who "did all the work to make me less ignorant, when that should have been my job." Similarly, she recounts her indignant reaction to an offensive joke made at a wedding dinner by another guest as an example of what not to do. Elsewhere, she mines the latest in social scientific research for practical suggestions. After reporting one study in which "researchers found that almost none of the white mothers discussed race with their children (ages 4-5)," she dispenses advice to parents on how to point out imbalances in representation to their children. In addition to providing a road map for individuals, this book would serve as an excellent training tool for institutional diversity programs, whether to enlighten new supervisors or to accompany diversity workshops.
The title was misleading. While some of the studies discussed were interesting, I was not expecting the entire book discussion to be about black and white issues in America. All of the examples given were meant to support the author bias point of view. I felt exclusive looking at the issue from an Asian American perspective. My family migrated to America in 1993. My father, a prisoner of war, undiagnosed PTSD, and an alcoholic. Six of us were living in a 1 bedroom apartment, and I have lived the American dream and became a physician. I don’t see a bootstrap narrative there. It would be much more inclusive if the author present stories of the newly arrived African Americans, other ethnic minorities, and look at the discrepancies of these groups to draw a meaningful solutions for every body to look at, not just back and white.