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Book Freak #60: Be More Confident

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Book Freak

July 8 · Issue #60 · View online
Short pieces of advice from books

Sponsor message: I recently got a subscription to 12min, a library of condensed non-fiction books (audio and text). New titles are added all the time. I’ve found it especially useful to refresh my memory on books I read years ago, like Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness, and Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans. A lifetime subscription to 12min is $39. – Mark

Katty Kay is the anchor of BBC World News America, in Washington, DC.  Here are four pieces of advice from her book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know.


Avoid perfectionism
“The irony is that perfectionism actually inhibits achievement. Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson, authors of The Plateau Effect, call it the “enemy of the good,” leading to piles of useless, unfinished work, and hours of wasted time, because, in the pursuit of it, we put off difficult tasks waiting to be perfectly ready before we start.”
Don't let feeling underqualified stop you from trying
“Hewlett-Packard conducted a study to figure out how to get more women into top management. These numbers say it all: The authors found that the women working at H-P applied for promotions only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications necessary for the job. The men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements. So, essentially, women feel confident only when we are perfect. Or practically perfect. Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. And the confidence gap is an additional lens through which to consider why it is women don’t lean in. Even when we are prepared to tolerate the personal disruption that comes with aiming high, even when we have plenty of ambition, we fundamentally doubt ourselves.”
Master the skills of office politics
“Professional success demands political savvy, a certain amount of scheming and jockeying, a flair for self-promotion and not letting a no stop you. Women often aren’t very comfortable with that. Perhaps, deep down, we don’t really approve of these tactics. Whatever the reason, we haven’t been very good at mastering these skills, and that holds us back.”
Decide on whether you want status or consensus
“If you are trying to build your own stature, you’re more likely to try to dominate conversations. If your goal, however, is to build consensus, you will listen to other people’s opinions.”
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