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The End of Bias: A Beginning

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The End of Bias is a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age. Implicit bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, we see it in finance, The End of Bias is a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age. Implicit bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, we see it in finance, and as we know from the police killings of so many Black Americans, bias can be deadly. But are we able to step beyond recognition of our prejudice to actually change it? With fifteen years' immersion in the topic, Jessica Nordell digs deep into the cognitive science, social psychology, and developmental research that underpin current efforts to eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination. She examines diversity training, deployed across the land as a corrective but with inconsistent results. She explores what works and why: the diagnostic checklist used by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital that eliminated disparate treatment of men and women in disease prevention; the preschool in Sweden where teachers found ingenious ways to uproot gender stereotyping: the police unit in Oregon where the practice of mindfulness and specialized training has coincided with a startling drop in the use of force. The End of Bias: A Beginning brings good news: Biased behavior can change; the approaches outlined here can transform ourselves and our world.


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The End of Bias is a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age. Implicit bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, we see it in finance, The End of Bias is a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age. Implicit bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, we see it in finance, and as we know from the police killings of so many Black Americans, bias can be deadly. But are we able to step beyond recognition of our prejudice to actually change it? With fifteen years' immersion in the topic, Jessica Nordell digs deep into the cognitive science, social psychology, and developmental research that underpin current efforts to eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination. She examines diversity training, deployed across the land as a corrective but with inconsistent results. She explores what works and why: the diagnostic checklist used by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital that eliminated disparate treatment of men and women in disease prevention; the preschool in Sweden where teachers found ingenious ways to uproot gender stereotyping: the police unit in Oregon where the practice of mindfulness and specialized training has coincided with a startling drop in the use of force. The End of Bias: A Beginning brings good news: Biased behavior can change; the approaches outlined here can transform ourselves and our world.

30 review for The End of Bias: A Beginning

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    An important book about bias - how we all have it and what we can do about it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The End of Bias is a fascinating, comprehensive look at the way in which unconscious bias impacts our thought processes and pervades every aspect of human life in relation to several variables including race, religion, disability and gender identity, to name a few. But it is also a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age. The anecdotal, statistical and empirical evidence throughout these pages is s The End of Bias is a fascinating, comprehensive look at the way in which unconscious bias impacts our thought processes and pervades every aspect of human life in relation to several variables including race, religion, disability and gender identity, to name a few. But it is also a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age. The anecdotal, statistical and empirical evidence throughout these pages is staggering, and I found myself gobsmacked in some instances by what I learned. For example, as a freelance journalist just starting out, Jessica Nordell had sent editors a lot of pitches but had a hard time getting them accepted. She then began pitching under a gender-neutral name, "J.D. Nordell" — and immediately had more success despite it being the only variable that changed. The experience set her on a path of researching and writing about unconscious bias for more than a decade and eventually publishing this book. But we also see bias in education where black students are penalised more for the same infractions. We see it in the workplace where women and women of colour, in particular, are often passed over for desirable assignments. We see it in policing where black men are more likely to be on the receiving end of force, even when completely compliant with an officer's orders and even when no arrests are made. Implicit or unconscious bias (or it can also be termed unexamined and/or unintended bias) is persistent, unintentional prejudiced behaviour that clashes with our consciously held beliefs, and that is the primary focus of this book. We know that it exists to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, we see it in finance, as well as the workplace, education and beyond, and as we know from the police killings of so many Black Americans, bias can be deadly. But are we able to step beyond recognition of our prejudice to actually change it? Nordell posits that we are but that we still have far to go in our pursuit of uprooting our prejudices. With nuance, compassion and fifteen years' immersion in the topic, Nordell digs deep into the cognitive science, social psychology and developmental research that underpin current efforts to eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination and weaves gripping stories with up to the minute scientific research to reveal exactly how minds, hearts and behaviours change. She scrutinises diversity training, deployed across the land as a corrective but with inconsistent results. She explores what works and why: the diagnostic checklist used by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital that eliminated disparate treatment of men and women in disease prevention; the preschool in Sweden where teachers found ingenious ways to uproot gender stereotyping: the police unit in Oregon where the practice of mindfulness and specialised training has coincided with a startling drop in the use of force. The End of Bias: A Beginning brings good news: Biased behaviour can change; the approaches outlined here can help transform ourselves and our world. Captivating, fascinating and direct, this is a timely and impeccably researched book that sets itself apart from the rest by not only exploring implicit bias but explaining how we can attempt to use the best evidence-based approaches to conquer it, too. It is filled with facts, statistics, anecdotes and empirical research illustrating just how ubiquitous the problem really is. For anyone interested in a topic that affects every single one of us regardless of who we are, this is a must-read, and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Erickson

    I am quite interested in bias studies. I read Jennifer Eberhardt's great book Biased last year (which Nordell references several times) and was really happy to have discovered an in-depth look at something that has seemed obvious to me all my life but that many people seemingly just don't grasp- we are all extremely biased., and for the most part, we don't even realize it. Nordell's book explored the topic in a somewhat different lense than Eberhardt, which was great, although they do both dedic I am quite interested in bias studies. I read Jennifer Eberhardt's great book Biased last year (which Nordell references several times) and was really happy to have discovered an in-depth look at something that has seemed obvious to me all my life but that many people seemingly just don't grasp- we are all extremely biased., and for the most part, we don't even realize it. Nordell's book explored the topic in a somewhat different lense than Eberhardt, which was great, although they do both dedicate quite a lot of time to police bias (rightfully so). But The End of Bias combines neuroscience, sociology, psychology, gender studies, explorations on race, mindfulness, history, politics, tech, and pop culture to examine the many different avenues that bias can and does affect every single one of us. Nobody's above the law here: you cannot woke yourself into waking up one day without biases. The best we can do is be aware of how our biases affect us and how we are being affected by bias, and try our best to mitigate it. This is probably the only place where I delve from the author- the book is named The End of Bias, but I don't actually think we CAN end bias. We can hopefully end the way that bias creates large societal blind spots that harm others, but some degree of bias will always remain. Nevertheless, I think it should be our goal to try to reduce and examine our own biases as much as we can. This book is a brilliant starting point for people wanting to learn more about the subject. It examines bias against basically everyone but focuses primarily on POC, women, LGBTQ, and children. I was surprised at the amount of science in this. Studies are referenced quite often, which is always a good sign. There was also a very nuanced chapter about police, which I greatly appreciate. In our current public discourse, police seem to be reduced to "police bad" or "police good" and both of these are ridiculous. Nordell does not give police a free pass in any sense, but she mentions plenty of programs and police officers who are dedicated to changing the way the police operate and see the world. She also shows how officers are primed to expect danger, which can be mitigated in a number of ways. There was a section about a study where cops engaged in mindfulness training that had really interesting results that I hope gets expanded upon. I would recommend this book to anybody; indeed, I likely will add this to the list of books I recommend regularly. It also gets bonus points for taking time out of its busy schedule to shit all over Twitter, which I didn't think added much to the author's argument, but hey, I am a sucker for hating on Twitter.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caroline 'reading with Buddy'

    This was a thought provoking book and I read it in instalments so that I could think about what the author wrote and the case studies. I suppose I never really thought about bias before as I am lucky to work in a government agency which is very inclusive but it did get me thinking. I would recommend reading this book I was given an advance copy by the publishers and netgalley but the review is entirely my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    AJ

    This book is another extremely necessary piece of the puzzle to help dismantle racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and all of the other -isms that contribute to making this world an uncomfortable place for so many folks to inhabit.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A description of Patricia Devine's work on implicit bias, and her wish to reshape her work into a replicable workshop that makes attendees more aware of unintended bias. (She also wants to remove "implicit" from the description because it carries too many varying definitions.) Research on the workshop has shown that attending once creates lasting influences on the behavior of attendees, and even on attendee's loved ones (who do not attend). Sadly, the workshop is voluntary and has a lack of white A description of Patricia Devine's work on implicit bias, and her wish to reshape her work into a replicable workshop that makes attendees more aware of unintended bias. (She also wants to remove "implicit" from the description because it carries too many varying definitions.) Research on the workshop has shown that attending once creates lasting influences on the behavior of attendees, and even on attendee's loved ones (who do not attend). Sadly, the workshop is voluntary and has a lack of white males sign up. So to be most effective, this would need to be a mandatory part of everyone's education.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ben Ringel

    Some non-fiction books I've read about racism/science have been so densely packed with findings and statistics that trying to get through a chapter was almost a chore. On the other hand, some fictional or anecdotal books about racism that I've read leave me with cliché insight that could honestly be summed up into a paragraph or two. This book, however, masterfully balances the two. The findings in this book are novel and comprehensive, but it is written in an anecdotal, narrative-based, straigh Some non-fiction books I've read about racism/science have been so densely packed with findings and statistics that trying to get through a chapter was almost a chore. On the other hand, some fictional or anecdotal books about racism that I've read leave me with cliché insight that could honestly be summed up into a paragraph or two. This book, however, masterfully balances the two. The findings in this book are novel and comprehensive, but it is written in an anecdotal, narrative-based, straightforward form that is very digestible and the progression of this book encouraged me to read on. Besides the fact that this book forced me to identify bias in places I hadn't seen it before, my favorite part about this book was that it also offered concrete and innovative solutions to counteract the bias we are learning to recognize. Some books on prejudice simply never offer any solutions or proposals for the future, but I really appreciate that this book did (it's split into three parts: how bias works, changing minds, and making it last). This book presented how pervasive prejudice remains to be in a way that is productive and forward-minded. Genuinely, I'm eager to see how I double-check myself and my inherent prejudices as I operate in the future. I think the benefits of this book for me will be tangible. Also: I think this book is kind of expensive and I got it for free so if anyone wants to borrow lmk

  8. 5 out of 5

    Margaret McCulloch-Keeble

    I'm almost afraid to say why I've only given this 3 stars, but it was far too focused on American studies/ incidents for my liking. I know. The irony is not lost on me. It almost sounds like I want to live somewhere that is biased. The thing is I do. Britain is biased. Everywhere is. But there's hardly any mention of it as a global thing. It's uncomfortably but refreshingly honest and has made me look at myself and how biased I am. I naively found no magic wands, hints maybe, but no cures apart I'm almost afraid to say why I've only given this 3 stars, but it was far too focused on American studies/ incidents for my liking. I know. The irony is not lost on me. It almost sounds like I want to live somewhere that is biased. The thing is I do. Britain is biased. Everywhere is. But there's hardly any mention of it as a global thing. It's uncomfortably but refreshingly honest and has made me look at myself and how biased I am. I naively found no magic wands, hints maybe, but no cures apart from personal humility, humanity and do as you would be done by with a side order of learn about the people of the world we share.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book does a great job of explaining how everyone has inherent biases and how we as an individual and a community can grow together and work to overcome biases.

  10. 5 out of 5

    pugs

    'the end of bias' was better than expected in some regards, it wasn’t just a rehashing of books like ‘the new jim crow’ or ‘pushout,’ rather a look at how biases are attempted to be weeded out within the confines of an oppressive system—reform, not revolution. ideas like abolition are mentioned, but never as a solution outright, instead, discussion of mindfulness/meditation programs and community policing “on steroids.” results were mixed, some kids felt safer, less - reported - officer violence 'the end of bias' was better than expected in some regards, it wasn’t just a rehashing of books like ‘the new jim crow’ or ‘pushout,’ rather a look at how biases are attempted to be weeded out within the confines of an oppressive system—reform, not revolution. ideas like abolition are mentioned, but never as a solution outright, instead, discussion of mindfulness/meditation programs and community policing “on steroids.” results were mixed, some kids felt safer, less - reported - officer violence, but distrust would emerge as soon as another act of police terror was reported. in an attempt to humanize cops, nordell reports on police “feeling scared” of black and brown people, and other harmful biases, that they are “too stressed” and “depressed”—the cops who benefited most from said training prior, questioned their roles as police, when they were often performing a social worker approach, not violent class traitor. instead of sympathy, it came off as pathetic and “woe is me”— law enforcement doesn’t have the mental/psychological fortitude to perform their duties “safely.” (nor will they ever, that’s the entire point to the job, hence the only worthwhile path is abolition.) we are also shown examples of bias in the workplace, nothing new in that respect—names and genders taken off resumes etc. show racist and sexist bias, ditto schools. representation matters, but companies just want “the face” and not “the thoughts.” again, capitalism, and its necessary, purposeful racism and caste system isn’t critiqued, rather the benefits of “diverse industry” and people of color at companies drawing in customers who look like them so a white capitalist can further hoard resources. it reminded me of 'nice racism' by robin diangelo, which i did not review favorably (very pro-capitalist/regressive). nordell finishes with a trial preschool in one of those cold, Scandinavian countries that intentionally don’t gender anything, and those positive effects. time will tell if they're still racist. if i seem too critical of nordell, it’s because she’s incredibly smart, a good researcher/writer breaking things down, and seems to genuinely care about her work, and not just in a self serving way- she would be great at exploring radical solutions. but as the subtitle implies, this - is - just the “beginning” (though a lot longer via revolutionaries), there’s room to shift, hopefully breaking that beginner’s cycle. or i can just stop reading white, neoliberal reform porn.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This is a truly amazing book. Ms Nordell has achieved a great service getting these ideas down in a readable, entertaining, yet challenging way. I spent half the book saying “that’s what I think”, a quarter saying “wow I didn't know that” and a quarter is written down in my notebook. I also need to follow up on the comprehensive notes and references section, which clearly reflects the research which went into this book. “Reducing individual bias won’t end disparities and societal inequities: thes This is a truly amazing book. Ms Nordell has achieved a great service getting these ideas down in a readable, entertaining, yet challenging way. I spent half the book saying “that’s what I think”, a quarter saying “wow I didn't know that” and a quarter is written down in my notebook. I also need to follow up on the comprehensive notes and references section, which clearly reflects the research which went into this book. “Reducing individual bias won’t end disparities and societal inequities: these are the legacy of historical exclusion, unequal access, extractive economic policies, and other invidious structures built on corrupt foundations. Only large systemic changes - from the reinvention of public safety and prisons to broad economic repair - can address such gross and longstanding injustices.” This is not a polemic, it is a fascinating look at how we form our prejudices without knowing we are doing it. Why do we reuse our towels in a hotel more when we are told other guests do it, than when we are are told it helps the environment? There is no point having a quota and employing more of the people you have historically shut out, if those people quickly leave because the atmosphere in your company is toxic and they are are not valued. “…another recent study found that people who believed that gender discrimination was no longer a problem in their field rated a male employee as more competent than an identical female employee and recommended an 8 per cent higher salary.” An excellent quote which sums up the way the author went about her study is “By constricting the makeup of who asks the questions, it shapes what questions are asked, compressing the scope of human knowledge.” There is a story of a school which was looking at how they could help their young children overcome any innate or learned prejudice about boys and girls being different. Boys are strong and don’t cry, girls are pretty and wear pink etc. But when they looked back at tapes of the classroom interactions, they found it was the teachers who reinforced the bias as much as the kids. When they changed their methods completely to address the issues, a number of parents complained! An excellent, stimulating book and I will follow up on some of the references. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this in exchange for an honest review. And, honestly...I loved it. In the conclusion, the author notes that she upon starting this book, she thought it would be a scientific approach: gathering sources, testing a conclusion. You can definitely see that, in the variety of references there are (which I really liked - I'll definitely be buying a physical copy upon publication, so that I can have the list for future.) However, in contrast (sorry to all t Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this in exchange for an honest review. And, honestly...I loved it. In the conclusion, the author notes that she upon starting this book, she thought it would be a scientific approach: gathering sources, testing a conclusion. You can definitely see that, in the variety of references there are (which I really liked - I'll definitely be buying a physical copy upon publication, so that I can have the list for future.) However, in contrast (sorry to all the science academics who've written very funny papers - no shade on you, I promise!), it's written engagingly too, more like an essay or a longread magazine article, and makes sure to focus on the human aspect. I felt like the data and figures were well-balanced with this essential real-life, human aspect, together covering a side of the discourse that we don't see written about in mainstream culture as much as we should (or at least, that I haven't seen as much!) It gave me hope, and also gave me pointers for where there's always more work to do.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Jessica Nordell’s book, The End of Bias: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias has to be one of the best non-fiction books that I have read this year. In it, Nordell tackles the bias we see from women in the workplace to racial injustice with the police. It is one of those books that I advise anyone who is looking at their anti-racism to read. One of the most interesting discussions in the book for me personally is the bias I have felt as a woman worker and now a mother who work Jessica Nordell’s book, The End of Bias: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias has to be one of the best non-fiction books that I have read this year. In it, Nordell tackles the bias we see from women in the workplace to racial injustice with the police. It is one of those books that I advise anyone who is looking at their anti-racism to read. One of the most interesting discussions in the book for me personally is the bias I have felt as a woman worker and now a mother who works. Nordell looks at the way trans women, who are some of the few people to see both sides of the spectrum intimately, are treated before and after coming out. While my heart knows the truth, it was still powerful hearing these women’s stories. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author herself, and she has a powerful story about a friend of hers who suffered from the plague that is doctors not properly diagnosing women. The candor from Nordell, the raw emotion, as she tells the story so many of us women know so well in some way is gut-wrenching and powerful. Please read this book. Read it soon. Let’s work on our biases together.

  14. 4 out of 5

    agata

    I don’t think there are many people who would openly admit to being biased against another group of people. We might think that we’re fair and have no prejudices, but that’s just not how our brains are wired. We all have biases even when we are completely unaware of their existence. The good news is, even though unintentional biases affect everyone, we are not defenseless against them - and that’s exactly what The End of Bias is about. The biases discussed in this book go beyond racial bias (alt I don’t think there are many people who would openly admit to being biased against another group of people. We might think that we’re fair and have no prejudices, but that’s just not how our brains are wired. We all have biases even when we are completely unaware of their existence. The good news is, even though unintentional biases affect everyone, we are not defenseless against them - and that’s exactly what The End of Bias is about. The biases discussed in this book go beyond racial bias (although that kind rightfully takes up a big chunk of the book); Nordell writes also about gender bias and bias against people with disabilities. It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking book that explains in detail where bias comes from, how it influences our behavior, what effects it can have on people on its receiving end, and how we can dismantle it. The things Nordell writes about aren’t strictly academic - there’s a lot of real life examples of how bias works and how becoming aware of it can be life-changing. The example that stayed with me the most was the Community Safety Partnership - a program where a carefully chosen unit of policemen was dedicated to three public housing projects in Watts and another one in East L.A. The way the policemen were supposed to interact with the community was completely different from what we’re used to - they were instructed to shift their focus from arrests to building a relationship with the community. It was put upon those officers to try and rebuild some sort of trust with people who rightfully were very wary of them, in some cases too wary to take part in the program. The results were incredible; arrests have dropped by 50%, extreme use of force by 60%. Of course, by supporting the community by doing all sorts of projects that the community needed (for example, the officers helped people get permits so that they could sell fresh produce in a food desert), the police have taken on a job much better suited to social workers, but the program does show what a difference being mindful and learning about others can make. The End of Bias is a fantastic, extremely important book that should be mandatory reading for all of us. It shows that while bias is something we all unknowingly struggle with, we all can change and become the unbiased people we imagine ourselves to be.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kit Ledvina

    This book is packed full of insightful examples of how bias seeps into day to day encounters with profound impacts ranging from the expected (police violence) to more subtle (gendering in preschool classrooms). There are a lot of great actionable takeaways for organizations and leaders who want to improve the environments they influence. For my local friends, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nordell was raised in Green Bay and many of her examples resonated personally. Bonus: The audiobo This book is packed full of insightful examples of how bias seeps into day to day encounters with profound impacts ranging from the expected (police violence) to more subtle (gendering in preschool classrooms). There are a lot of great actionable takeaways for organizations and leaders who want to improve the environments they influence. For my local friends, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nordell was raised in Green Bay and many of her examples resonated personally. Bonus: The audiobook is read by the author and I could not help but laugh at the thinly veiled disdain she apparently still holds for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ALC.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Nicole

    I love nonfiction audiobooks. @JessicaNordell's new work The End of Bias is so timely. She delves into the stats and the way bias creeps in uninvited and unannounced. Digging deeper than some of her contemporaries who only examine extreme forms, Nordell takes a closer look at the seedlings of habits and stereotypes that breed larger systemic problems. The audiobook version is read by the author with all the insight and impact of hearing her emphasize the elements that stuck out to her most durin I love nonfiction audiobooks. @JessicaNordell's new work The End of Bias is so timely. She delves into the stats and the way bias creeps in uninvited and unannounced. Digging deeper than some of her contemporaries who only examine extreme forms, Nordell takes a closer look at the seedlings of habits and stereotypes that breed larger systemic problems. The audiobook version is read by the author with all the insight and impact of hearing her emphasize the elements that stuck out to her most during her years of research. Nordell is also comprehensive: she doesn't just address racism or sexism - she examines bias in all its forms and challenges us to make sure the lens we view people and the world through is as clear as possible, without blemish or tinting from our own experiences. While those of you following me who appreciate and agree with much of my activism will relate and agree to many points within this book, I do believe it's also written in a way that you could gift it to those with less grasp of race, gender and sexuality spectrums and it may break through where prior conversations have not. Read it for yourself and see what I mean. The End of Bias: A Beginning The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias, new this week from @macmillanusa - out now in hardback, ebook and digital audio. #NetGalley #TheEndOfBias #JessicaNordell #Instagood #Instadaily #Follow #Bookstagram #BookReview #BookAesthetic #Bookgram #BookishCommunity #BookishaRainbow #BookCover #BookLife #Bookstagramer #bookishlife #booksofinsta #booknerds #booksta #bookishthoughts #booksaremylife #bookshelfie #booksgram #booksarelife #LGBTQIA #BLM

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    A very dry read, but a fascinating insight into bias and how it impacts on everything Do you think you really understand what bias is? I thought I did, but I now know I didn’t realise the depth and complexity of it and how it impacts on every part of our lives. The author looks into different areas of research and real-life examples of how some small assumptions or decisions are made on bias, a lot of which is institutional or cultural, and how this can have consequences on people’s lives and happ A very dry read, but a fascinating insight into bias and how it impacts on everything Do you think you really understand what bias is? I thought I did, but I now know I didn’t realise the depth and complexity of it and how it impacts on every part of our lives. The author looks into different areas of research and real-life examples of how some small assumptions or decisions are made on bias, a lot of which is institutional or cultural, and how this can have consequences on people’s lives and happiness and the success of services and business. It made me consider my own job and how unconscious bias plays a large part in senior management policies. A must have read, especially for leaders (whether business or community).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Book Club of One

    * I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.* Jessica Nordell is an American writer, poet and journalist whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications. Her work focuses on issues related to prejudice and discrimination. End of Bias: A Beginning is her first book. This wonderful and timely book is "a solutions-based odyssey through the science and psychology of unconscious or unexamined bias and discrimination and e * I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.* Jessica Nordell is an American writer, poet and journalist whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications. Her work focuses on issues related to prejudice and discrimination. End of Bias: A Beginning is her first book. This wonderful and timely book is "a solutions-based odyssey through the science and psychology of unconscious or unexamined bias and discrimination and evidence-based approaches to ending it."* To accomplish this, Nordell has arranged the book into 3 sections. Starting with definitions and explanations of how unconscious bias operates, Nordell then moves into looking at ways to recognize bias and re frame the situations in which it arises. Throughout the The End of Bias Nordell draws extensively from academic publications, research studies, personal experience, investigative journalism and interviews showing a great depth of knowledge and understanding of this subject. One of the greatest strengths of this work is that it is not merely diagnostic. While the issues that arrive from bias are frequently discussed and detailed, Nordell also spends time presenting and explaining different strategies, workflows, structural policies or personal mental practices that can work to upend or lower the impact of biases. Be it public consensus, testing all children within a school district, or mental health training for police officers. And while this is very much a book to present the problem and offer starting points, Nordell freely uses experiences drawn from her personal life. Such as her time at MIT, the medical misdiagnosis of a close friend or other more personal interactions. Writing in the conclusion Nordell discuses her writers journey from, initially, a work of science to its current form through a journey of self reflection. On page 273, Nordell traces this path, making sure to note "The most essential part of this journey was making and learning from mistakes." and that key point is where we often lose people in their initial defensive reaction. By working on an individual level we can change the way we think and the more of us willing to do this and undertake the process, the greater the possibilities of society as a whole changing. It is only with wider support that we can make systematic changes to address the inequalities of our contemporary society. *Jessica Nordell. "About." http://jessicanordell.com/about Accessed September 12, 2021.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    How is this for bias? I read the title and the summary and immediately thought we would be discussing racial bias and racial bias alone. Surprise! Instead, this book discusses bias in many forms. Many of the events that Nordell used to illustrate bias were not new to me; however, there were several interesting and new ideas brought up about how to combat bias. There was a good focus on how training within several police forces was used to combat bias and lead to lower rates of problems (killings How is this for bias? I read the title and the summary and immediately thought we would be discussing racial bias and racial bias alone. Surprise! Instead, this book discusses bias in many forms. Many of the events that Nordell used to illustrate bias were not new to me; however, there were several interesting and new ideas brought up about how to combat bias. There was a good focus on how training within several police forces was used to combat bias and lead to lower rates of problems (killings, injuries, arrests, harassment, gang activity, etc). I also enjoyed learning how a school in Sweden realized they were actively teaching gender bias to their students and what changes they made. I liked that solutions and ways people could work towards minimizing their own biases were offered. The only draw back I found was that most of the suggestions shown were on a very small scale without any indication how they could be expanded to a larger group. And while I realize that changes can be made one small group at a time, I worry that divisiveness and bigotry are increasing faster than these small groups can make an impact. Thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Terence Eden

    One of the hardest things about being human is unlearning our base instincts. The survival strategies we needed as small tribes in a dangerous environment are rarely relevant in the modern world. Bias exists. This books makes an excellent academic case for showing that bias is present in all of us - and that it is (mostly) no longer a useful heuristic. It meticulously chronicles the various experiments which have been undertaken to see where bias creeps in to the decision-making process. Perhaps One of the hardest things about being human is unlearning our base instincts. The survival strategies we needed as small tribes in a dangerous environment are rarely relevant in the modern world. Bias exists. This books makes an excellent academic case for showing that bias is present in all of us - and that it is (mostly) no longer a useful heuristic. It meticulously chronicles the various experiments which have been undertaken to see where bias creeps in to the decision-making process. Perhaps this isn't surprising to you - but it is useful to have it spelled out so clearly. What works to address bias? What's just snake oil? It's harder than you might think. Some promising studies can't be replicated - others get mired in controversy. And, worse still, some people don't want to change! Can the USA's notoriously violent and racist police reduce their biases by meditating before a shift? It's the sort of thing which would generate eye-rolls from the commentariat and fierce resistance from the "noble warriors" themselves. And, yet, the evidence suggests that it works. Sure, you can't wipe out all the structural problems of law enforcement with a few deep breaths - but it appears to be a good start. In tech, we know that fixing "the pipeline" isn't enough. We need to make concerted efforts to correct past mistakes. The story of how MIT increased its diversity (in one faculty, on one spectrum) is an excellent model about how leadership has to want to be better. Finally, there's an interesting section on child rearing. Something of no interest to me - but fascinating to see what some people consider "indoctrination". How do you speak to the children around you? Do you intentionally reinforce gender stereotypes? Is that harmful? As with many modern books about bias, it mostly looks at things through a North American lens. While I'm not claiming that Europe is free of bias, the problems we have often stem from a very different background than the USA. However, there are a couple of good sections about practical examples from European research. At its heart is a plea to take this stuff seriously. Not just in an academic setting - but in every aspect of your life. Examine what weird little biases you have, work out where they came from, try to discard them if they do no good - and then hope that, together, we can change the world. Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy. The book is released later this year.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rory Fox

    Why do parents google “is my son gifted” more than twice as often as ‘is my daughter gifted?’ And why do they google ‘is my daughter overweight’ twice as often as they ask about sons, even though statistically more boys are obese than girls? With many more examples like these, the author shows that we are all biased in subtle ways. And the bias often operates subconsciously through learned cultural expectations. For example in Performance reviews, personality issues are raised for men in 2% of ca Why do parents google “is my son gifted” more than twice as often as ‘is my daughter gifted?’ And why do they google ‘is my daughter overweight’ twice as often as they ask about sons, even though statistically more boys are obese than girls? With many more examples like these, the author shows that we are all biased in subtle ways. And the bias often operates subconsciously through learned cultural expectations. For example in Performance reviews, personality issues are raised for men in 2% of cases. For women it is 76%. And the character flaws of the women are the virtues cited as reasons for promoting men. Underlying these double standards are unspoken cultural expectations about how men and women “should” behave. One of the things I particularly appreciated about this book is that it was solution orientated. More than half the book gave examples of interventions which were evidenced as reducing bias. And a further 25% of the book provided footnotes with the details of the evidence. Reviewing interactions between Police and Black/Latino populations the author noted that there are often mental health issues affecting police officers. This led to programmes of mindfulness and re-humanising behaviours which had measurable impacts in driving down crime whilst simultaneously reducing arrests of Black and Latino people. In one programme, over a period of 6 years police use of force dropped by 40% whilst their policing remained as effective as previously. Another set of solutions to bias involve ‘cognitive interventions,’ which enabled people to look for ‘situational’ explanations for behaviour, rather than attributing it to character flaws. In a school context this halved the numbers of black pupils being suspended. In the criminal justice system it led to a 13% reduction in recidivism amongst Black and Latino populations. In further chapters the author looks at healthcare. We see that something as simple as a ‘checklist’ stopped doctors defaulting into biases, and it led to a 47% drop in death rates amongst those with blood clots. The book contains far too many examples to cite, and it has a wealth of analysis and thoughtful suggestions about the types of strategies which reduce bias and discrimination. Overall, it is an enjoyable and very informative read with an upbeat message that discrimination really can be fought and defeated. These are honest comments based on an Advanced Review Copy of the text

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    "The End of Bias: A Beginning: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias" by Jessica Nordell "The End of Bias," by Jessica Nordell, was published in the U.S. in 2021 by Metropolitan Books (a division of Henry Holt and Company) and by Granta in the U.K. The author attended MIT and received a B.A. in physics from Harvard University. She later earned a certificate in visual art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, "The End of Bias: A Beginning: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias" by Jessica Nordell "The End of Bias," by Jessica Nordell, was published in the U.S. in 2021 by Metropolitan Books (a division of Henry Holt and Company) and by Granta in the U.K. The author attended MIT and received a B.A. in physics from Harvard University. She later earned a certificate in visual art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Martha Meier Renk Distinguished Poetry Fellow. She is a science and culture journalist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Times, and New Republic, among other publications. "The End of Bias" is her first book. An excellent example of persuasive non-fiction, "The End of Bias" clearly defines the problem of unintentional bias and provides many examples to facilitate reader understanding. It explores its presence in and effects on our society, providing a powerful case for why it is a problem. Most important, it provides information on solutions to the problem, citing what works and why. The mainstay of all good nonfiction, documentation, is evident throughout this well-researched book. In her interview found on "how to be" at [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLiiI...], the author explains that as we grow up, we learn what categories of people exist and are prominent in our culture. At the same time, we are constantly learning associations and stereotypes that relate to those categories. What happens with unconscious, unintentional, embedded, or unexamined bias is that we encounter a person who connects to one of these categories and then all of these associations that we have stored in our memory begin to influence the way that we react. These reactions can happen so quickly and so automatically that we are not necessarily aware that they are happening. They may be influencing us in ways that we are not intending. In fact, these reactions can actually be in conflict with our professed values. The author cites Malcolm Gladwell’s "Blink" and The Implicit Association Test as influences on our recent awareness of unconscious bias and how it affects our behavior. This has led to what she refers to as “a constellation of approaches that have been found to have a positive impact on creating awareness and motivation for change.” These approaches provide strategies for transformation that have reduced or eliminated disparate gender and racial stereotyping and treatment. They include, but are not limited to: • teaching the history of cultural concepts that affect and/or rationalize biased behavior (e.g., patriarchy, slavery, misogyny), • treating bias as a habit one must work to overcome, • providing workshops that promote awareness and motivation, and provide replacement strategies, • repetition of replacement strategies until they become habitual. These include nonjudgmental awareness, compassionate responses, and cooperatively working as equals, • using behavioral design hypotheses to create standardized criteria checklists (in business, health care, and education), • dismantling homogeneity in the workplace (restructuring representation and power in corporations, schools, and other institutions), • using mentors and role models in the workplace as “evidence that a particular kind of life is possible.” [Peko Hosoi quote from p. 217] I chose a quote to include in this review as a fitting example of why I love this book. Taken from Chapter 9: The Architecture of Inclusion, the quote and note provided focus on a solution that is in place and working. To introduce the solution, the author first presents examples of attempts at building diversity that have failed, leaving colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds feeling isolated, invisible, stereotyped, and disrespected. Jessica Nordell writes: "To create less biased environments, it’s not enough to simply increase the diversity of the group----to add women or any underrepresented group and stir. If the people who increase a group’s diversity feel devalued and unwelcome, diversity is a battle half-won. When organizations fail people from marginalized groups by showing them in ways subtle and overt that they are not valued, they recruit talent only to hemorrhage it." [p. 229] She continues: "When management professors Robin Ely and David Thomas set out to understand why some organizations with diversity initiatives were more successful than others, they noticed something striking. Organizations that were similar in terms of their level of diversity were actually quite different in terms of actual experiences of employees. In some of these organizations, people of different racial and cultural identities felt respected and valued; at others they felt devalued and mistrusted." [p. 236] As the researchers studied companies over twenty years, they found a difference in the organizations’ purpose for seeking diversity in the first place. Some organizations “saw diversity as the right thing to do but did not expect diversity to change the organization in any meaningful way. Employees of color contributed to the company, one White manager said, by helping us ‘live up to our ideals of equality and justice.’” Other organizations viewed diversity as a way to reach new customers and open markets. “Diversity was a strategy to gain legitimacy with a specific set of clients.” [p. 236] The author then presents a solution. "There was, however, a third approach to diversity, one that resulted in positive experiences for all employees. In this perspective, diversity was necessary because different skills and viewpoints were seen as necessary, not just to attract specific customers but for the institution itself to evolve. At a law firm Ely and Thomas studied, for instance, leaders believed that people from different backgrounds and with different life experiences provided essential sources of insight that could influence the firm in far-reaching ways, from strategy to operations. When conflicts arose, they were addressed directly because resolving them was considered necessary for the good of the organization. Since difference was seen as a source of wealth, the firm also worked to fully integrate everyone into the organization. Staff were encouraged to learn from one anothers experiences; they were expected to be curious about new perspectives and open to revising their own beliefs and behaviors. The firm itself had to be open to changing the way things had always been done. As a result, people from marginalized groups felt heard, not erased. Differences weren’t avoided or downplayed because doing so would waste an opportunity for new information and insight. Employees felt respected and valued for their unique contributions because, in fact, they were. [p. 237] [Source of solution may be found in Robin Ely and David Thomas, “Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes,” Administrations Science Quarterly 46, no. 2 (2001): 229-73.] Thank you to Goodreads, Maia Sacca-Schaeffer, and Henry Holt & Co. for the advance copy of The "End of Bias" and apologies for taking so long to read and review this outstanding book. Nonfiction, Psychology, Science, Politics

  23. 5 out of 5

    what.heather.loves

    "We can begin by noticing our own biased reactions...we can build structures decision-making into our institutions and organizations...we can spread new norms...Underlying all of this is a cellular-level shift: a change of heart." The End of Bias is the author's journey to identify causes for and patterns of unintentionally biased behaviour and to see how bias can be eroded or removed. She references many case studies of real events where individuals have encountered bias, often in the organisati "We can begin by noticing our own biased reactions...we can build structures decision-making into our institutions and organizations...we can spread new norms...Underlying all of this is a cellular-level shift: a change of heart." The End of Bias is the author's journey to identify causes for and patterns of unintentionally biased behaviour and to see how bias can be eroded or removed. She references many case studies of real events where individuals have encountered bias, often in the organisations they work for, and how they tackled it, to find common methods and solutions. The author looks at gender and race discrimination and its causes, which are often societal and perception-based. She looks at bia in the police, in universities and schools, places of work and within the medical profession. As laws only limit the worst excesses of bias and discrimination it can begin with individuals to want to change their habits, to consider the impact of cumulative experiences of discrimination and want to do differently. It requires tackling a legacy of exclusion and seeking, or starting, large systemic changes, understanding history and patterns of behaviour. Role models help, as can changing processes structure and culture, introducing checklists and checkpoints to, literally check our bias. This is an urgent, thorough and fascinating exploration of unintentional bias and how to change the world to minimise its impacts. We can all benefit from understanding our own bias, which in turn enables us to question others and organisations we interact with. This book advocates hope for the future, for a more inclusive world with the potential to be free of discrimination.

  24. 4 out of 5

    KT

    In a time when people are rushing to find answers to long-term societal ills, The End of Bias offers, in the author’s words, “a quest to unearth remedies.” And that is how it works, giving insightful explanations of the science behind reducing bias in ourselves and our workplaces, but never offering simplistic or too easy answers. Though the topic is a serious one, the reading is a pleasure, particularly in the way Nordell introduces us to an inspiring and creative set of characters devoted to f In a time when people are rushing to find answers to long-term societal ills, The End of Bias offers, in the author’s words, “a quest to unearth remedies.” And that is how it works, giving insightful explanations of the science behind reducing bias in ourselves and our workplaces, but never offering simplistic or too easy answers. Though the topic is a serious one, the reading is a pleasure, particularly in the way Nordell introduces us to an inspiring and creative set of characters devoted to finding solutions, from elementary school classrooms, to board rooms, to police departments.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The End of Bias is perfect for the reader that is on a journey to better understand some of the current work around reducing bias. It is not for the reader that doesn’t believe bias exists. Nordell covered most major industries, which makes it more relatable to the reader. Additionally, the inclusion of bias around the world illustrates that bias is not just an American phenomenon. I think this book should be read by HR professionals so as to better inform training and policy selections. Full di The End of Bias is perfect for the reader that is on a journey to better understand some of the current work around reducing bias. It is not for the reader that doesn’t believe bias exists. Nordell covered most major industries, which makes it more relatable to the reader. Additionally, the inclusion of bias around the world illustrates that bias is not just an American phenomenon. I think this book should be read by HR professionals so as to better inform training and policy selections. Full disclosure: I won a copy of this book from Goodreads giveaway.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This is the book that all the people who acknowledge that some are disproportionately treated as a truth. It is an invaluable book that is well researched with relatable examples and empirically scenarios to allow us to apply to our own lives, I was shocked at the things I was personally guilty of and am now routinely seeking the source of my presumptions. When Allies can cut the canker off at the root we can gently guide those with more ingrained prejudices with insightful questions and correlat This is the book that all the people who acknowledge that some are disproportionately treated as a truth. It is an invaluable book that is well researched with relatable examples and empirically scenarios to allow us to apply to our own lives, I was shocked at the things I was personally guilty of and am now routinely seeking the source of my presumptions. When Allies can cut the canker off at the root we can gently guide those with more ingrained prejudices with insightful questions and correlation . Will be sharing far and wide.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Helene

    4.5 rounded up. I have read quite a few books about the climate crisis, feminism, and anti-racism. The End of Bias: A Beginning by Jessica Nordell is a must read. It took me a while to read it, but, I learnt sooooo much. I expected the book to teach me a few things about discrimination. It actually covered so many areas! Here are some examples in a completely random order: - The case study of a pre-school in Sweden was fascinating. As an educator, it made me so aware of how often I used gendered te 4.5 rounded up. I have read quite a few books about the climate crisis, feminism, and anti-racism. The End of Bias: A Beginning by Jessica Nordell is a must read. It took me a while to read it, but, I learnt sooooo much. I expected the book to teach me a few things about discrimination. It actually covered so many areas! Here are some examples in a completely random order: - The case study of a pre-school in Sweden was fascinating. As an educator, it made me so aware of how often I used gendered terms to address groups (ladies/boys/girls) We'd never address just one child, or 2 children like that (Hello boy/girl, bye boy and girl) but it is a common greeting in primary schools (hello boys and girls) Teachers also have a lower tolerance threshold for certain behaviour depending the gender of the child - as they noticed when they filmed classrooms. The book described concrete measures and the subsequent changes in the well-being of children! - Police officers' "tunnel vision" and the dire consequences for certain communities in the US. The difference between "warrior training" vs compassionate methods such as mindfulness and community outreach was stark. How do we fight dehumanisation of Black and Latino people? - How do CEOs view their teams and hire employees, and how effective is diversity training? This part reminded me of conversations I've had with friends who worked in recruitment in London,who were told to focus on finding people with "easy names", attractive and young. I could talk about this book for hours! Get it, you won't regret it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    This is a definite must-read. In The End of Bias, Jessica Nordell examines the roots of many of our conscious and unconscious biases, and shows us that changing them, that lowering prejudice towards the other, is possible. The book is very well researched and covers many studies/interventions (mostly successful) to reduce prejudice. As with other books I've read on this topic, at a given point I was despairing because the message I got was "this has to come from management and we're doomed otherw This is a definite must-read. In The End of Bias, Jessica Nordell examines the roots of many of our conscious and unconscious biases, and shows us that changing them, that lowering prejudice towards the other, is possible. The book is very well researched and covers many studies/interventions (mostly successful) to reduce prejudice. As with other books I've read on this topic, at a given point I was despairing because the message I got was "this has to come from management and we're doomed otherwise to change workplace culture". However, in Nordell's book, there's a chapter about interventions in which the general population is targeted. If we lower general prejudice, then as a collective we can be better in the workplace, and be better allies. We might not be able to change the way hiring practices are done, for example, but we can contribute to making those in the minority (in my case, women in STEM) feel appreciated and heard, and not just perceived as tokens (by themselves---ourselves---and others). I really recommend this book. I highlighted many parts of it and I am planning to follow up on quite a few of the studies mentioned. This review is based on an ARC of this book. Many thanks to NetGalley and Granta Publications for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Char Terrana

    Beautifully written, engaging, thoroughly thought provoking. The author thoroughly examines not only the deeply ingrained reasons for the existence of bias, but the solutions, the ways – some already successful – that we can open our minds (hearts to follow) to experiencing a shared humanity. To better understanding where our (and what we see as “their”) behaviors arise from. To knowing how to ask hard questions and feel the hard feelings. To get to the other side with a shared humanity. To stop Beautifully written, engaging, thoroughly thought provoking. The author thoroughly examines not only the deeply ingrained reasons for the existence of bias, but the solutions, the ways – some already successful – that we can open our minds (hearts to follow) to experiencing a shared humanity. To better understanding where our (and what we see as “their”) behaviors arise from. To knowing how to ask hard questions and feel the hard feelings. To get to the other side with a shared humanity. To stop “othering”. To begin an awkward, difficult journey deeper into our shared psyche. To come out the other end more connected with each other, more connected with ourselves, and towards a shared wholeness. This book is beautifully written. I’ve never read a non-fiction book that reads like a novel. I simultaneously couldn’t wait to get back to it while also feeling somewhat apprehensive because it required me to look at my own unconscious bias, and who wants to do that? But as the author so eloquently suggests, we probably won’t grow unless we are willing to go there. I look forward to having more conversations on this topic as a result of reading this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Colin Marks

    Bias is a interesting subject. While some people try to remove bias from their lives, which is the main topic of Jessica Nordell's End of Bias, others are embracing it. Fox News, social media, etc, polarise society by reinforcing bias and prejudice. So while it's great that many of the case studies in the book are taking positive action, it seems society as a whole unfortunately is moving in the opposite direction. I disagreed with some sections, such as the use of IAT tests to predict prejudice. Bias is a interesting subject. While some people try to remove bias from their lives, which is the main topic of Jessica Nordell's End of Bias, others are embracing it. Fox News, social media, etc, polarise society by reinforcing bias and prejudice. So while it's great that many of the case studies in the book are taking positive action, it seems society as a whole unfortunately is moving in the opposite direction. I disagreed with some sections, such as the use of IAT tests to predict prejudice. Having done a test, it's pretty obvious you can get whatever result you want by the ordering of the questions. I felt the book focused too heavily on racial bias, but I suspect the volume of research and the active projects tackling it help to demonstrate biased behaviours. The end sections were interesting, with suggestions of living an examined life to remove your own biases. The book is certainly worth a read - well researched and clearly written - highly recommended. Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.

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