To be human is to be biased. From this simple truth, nationally recognized diversity expert Howard J. Ross explores the biases we each carry within us. Incorporating anecdotes from today’s headlines alongside case studies from over 30 years of diversity consulting, Ross helps readers understand how unconscious bias impacts our day-to-day lives and, particularly, our daily work lives. And, he answers the question: “Is there anything we can do about it?” by providing examples of behaviors that the reader can engage in to disengage the impact of their own biases. Originally published in 2014, the updated edition draws new examples from today’s headlines such as the #me too Movement, police shootings, and bias in the ever more partisan Trump era.
Howard J. Ross, a lifelong social justice advocate and founding partner of the nationally recognized diversity consulting firm Cook Ross, Inc., is the author of Reinventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose, and Performance (2011), Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Bias in our Everyday Lives and Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart (Barrett Koehler, 2018) His work has been published by the Harvard Business Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Forbes, and he has worked with Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. He resides in Washington, DC.
Oftentimes books on implicit bias locate it in individual minds, without taking into consideration the social environments that promote bias. Ross (cofounder of Udarta Consulting) approaches unconscious bias as a natural cognitive mechanism exhibited by all humans, the remnant of an evolutionary need for survival. However, Ross also acknowledges that bias is driven by the cultural spaces one occupies, and is embedded in social institutions (e.g., legal, health care). In this book Ross uses research from social and medical sciences to support explanations of how unconscious bias is manifested in everyday life. One of the strongest aspects of the book is that its last two chapters are devoted to suggestions for how people can combat expressions of their own individual bias, as well as providing steps that organizations can take to combat bias while making decisions about talent. The appendix expands on organizational solutions by providing more ways to identify and navigate bias in talent management. The text is engaging and addresses a general audience. This is a must read for everyone who wants to learn about bias or is interested in taking the steps (individually or on an organizational level) to combat it. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
[An] important text on our human predisposition towards stereotyping our fellow human beings for often superficial, inaccurate, and unfair reasons. It isn’t a book written in some sort of social and cultural vacuum. Ross addresses the many social movements and changes our world has endured in recent history, such as the #metoo movement, and touches on the multiple and systemic ways our biases visit injustice on otherwise fine or innocent human beings.
Jan/Feb 2021 issue, Convene Magazine: Howard Ross and the book are profiled in the magazine with the focus on whether bias is worse during the pandemic.