Title: The Male Factor
Subtitle: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace
Author: Shaunti Feldhahn
Publisher’s Synopsis: Based on a nationwide survey and confidential interviews with more than three thousand men, bestselling author of For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn, has written a startling and unprecedented exploration of how men in the workplace tend to think, which even the most astute women might otherwise miss. In The Male Factor, Feldhahn investigates and quantifies the private thoughts that men almost never publicly reveal or admit to, but that every woman will want to know.
Never before has an author gotten inside the hearts and minds of men in the workplace—from CEOs to managers, from lawyers to factory workers—to get a comprehensive and confidential picture of what men commonly think about their female colleagues, how they view flextime and equal compensation, what their expected “rules” of the workplace are, what managing emotion means, and how that lowcut top is perceived. Because the men in the surveys and interviews were guaranteed anonymity, they talk in a candid and uncensored way about their daily interactions with women bosses, employees, and colleagues, as well as what they see as the most common forces of friction and misunderstanding between men and women at work.
Among the subjects The Male Factor tackles are:
• how men, with rare exception, view almost any emotional display as a sign that the person can no longer think clearly—as well as what they perceive to be “emotion” in the first place (it’s not just crying)
• why certain trendy clothes that women wear may create a career-sabotaging land mine in terms of how male colleagues perceive them
• the unintentional signals that can change a man’s perception of a woman from “assertive and competent” to “difficult”
Women will likely be surprised, even shocked, by these revelations. Some may find them challenging. Yet what they will gain is an invaluable understanding of how their male bosses, colleagues, subordinates, and customers react to a host of situations—as well as the ability to correct common misperceptions. The Male Factor offers a unique road map to what men in the workplace are thinking, allowing women the opportunity to decide for themselves how to use the insights Feldhahn reveals.
A little backstory to this review is in order, I think. About five or six years ago, Multnomah sent me a book to pre-read and give my input on as a part of a bookstore survey thing. The book, The Lights of Tenth Street, was about the devastating and controlling effects that pornography has in a man’s life. I remember writing how excellently written the story was, how much I appreciated the insights into how so many men think and react, while at the same time, it bothered me how specific and explicit parts were. Looking back, I think perhaps she made the right decision in what to do. Regardless, what really impacted me most were the endnotes. I was amazed at the story she told about talking with her husband about research. She talked about how different men and women are and how her husband simply didn’t think it was true– until they had a specific discussion. If you want to read that discussion, just read the book. 😉
That book spurred another book for Ms. Feldhahn. For Women Only– What you need to know about the inner lives of men. This book, and the subsequent books along this line have been life-changing for so many people. I thought they were very well written, avoided stereotypes, and are loaded with personal research.
When I received the invitation to review The Male Factor from Multnomah, I was excitedto see what she’d discovered about the workplace. She didn’t disappoint. The most interesting thing about Shaunti Feldhahn is her ability to write about such detailed research without leaving the reader with more yawns than information! She manages to write frankly about the strengths and weaknesses of men and women without degrading or elevating either to an inappropriate level. She’s frank, honest, and yet without indiscretion.
This book opens with a picture of the research team that worked on this book. Let’s just say, there was truly a TEAM of people, not just four or five people. I was impressed with that alone. This book is the Christian version of the book. I was surprised and curious to know that there was a ‘secular’ version as well. Had I had time to search out the ‘other’ version, I would have read and compared them, but by the time I started the book, my deadline was too close.
So what is the book about? Well, it’s about what men in the workforce think women do to damage their reputations. It’s about understanding why a woman will be perceived as something she isn’t trying to project. Even the men she interviewed admitted that ‘rules’ of business aren’t necessarily “fair”. It’s just how things are and it’s important for women to recognize it.
I found that I am schizophrenic when it comes to business. I think like a guy in so many ways
1. Suck it up
2. It’s not personal, it’s business
3. Don’t get emotional
But, I also think a lot like a woman.
1. Tell it chronologically
2. Blunt is not the same as direct. (I tend to be blunt)
3. Family comes before the job. Always.
Was the book helpful to me as a mom and ‘housewife’? Definitely. I saw a lot that I understand more in Kevin’s relationships at work for one thing. I think this book is really great for understanding men in more than one way. Where For Women Only focused on sex and respect primarily (or that’s how I remember it anyway), this book really seems to show the core of men. As a writer, I think it’ll help me be much more authentic when I deal with workplace scenes. I’m excited to try it.
I want to thank Multnomah for providing me with the book for review. I think it’ll really make a valuable addition to any library. Multnomah did send a copy to give away to readers! Please leave a comment and answer this question to be entered.
In You’ve Got Mail, Joe Fox tells Kathleen Kelly, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Kathleen Kelly counters with, “What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?”
The question, which response best fits you in a situation where a business move by another person hurts your business success?