‘Passionate and urgent.’ Guardian, Book of the Week
‘A must-read for all.’ Stylist, best new books for 2020
‘Impressive and much-needed.’ Financial Times, Best Business Books April to June
‘Admirably detailed.’ Prospect Magazine
‘Practical, useful, readable and essential for the times we are living in.’ Nikesh Shukla
‘An eye-opening book that I hope will be widely read.’ Angela Saini
‘If you think you don’t need to read this book, you really need to read this book.’ Jane Garvey
‘An eye-opening book looking at unconscious bias. Meticulously researched and well written. It will make you think hard about the judgements you make. An essential read for our times.’ Kavita Puri, BBC Journalist and author
‘One day while out shopping for my daughter’s new school uniform and shoes, we were laughing and giggling as we wandered through the narrow streets. It had been one of those idyllic afternoons where I had loved every moment I had spent with her. As we went back to the car park, a police officer approached and stopped us. He was armed. He wanted to see my ID, and to find out who I was and where I lived. My then nine-year-old looked confused and I could see the fear on her face.’
For the first time, behavioural and data scientist, activist and writer Dr Pragya Agarwal unravels the way our implicit or ‘unintentional’ biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, how they affect our decision-making, and how they reinforce and perpetuate systemic and structural inequalities. Sway is a thoroughly researched and comprehensive look at unconscious bias and how it impacts day-to-day life, from job interviews to romantic relationships to saving for retirement. It covers a huge number of sensitive topics – sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, colourism – with tact, and combines statistics with stories to paint a fuller picture and enhance understanding.
Throughout, Pragya clearly delineates theories with a solid grounding in science, answering questions such as: do our roots for prejudice lie in our evolutionary past? What happens in our brains when we are biased? How has bias affected technology? If we don’t know about it, are we really responsible for it? At a time when partisan political ideologies are taking centre stage, and we struggle to make sense of who we are and who we want to be, it is crucial that we understand why we act the way we do. This book will enable you to reflect and consider the forces that shape us all, opening your eyes to your own biases in a scientific and non-judgmental way.
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