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The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  12,393 ratings  ·  1,127 reviews
Following the success of Lean In and Why Women Should Rule the World, the authors of the bestselling Womenomics provide an informative and practical guide to understanding the importance of confidence—and learning how to achieve it—for women of all ages and at all stages of their career.

Working women today are better educated and more well qualified than ever before. Yet m
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Harper Business
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Joanne Difrancesco Not specifically, no. It is better for women who may think they are not capable of a particular thing. Not really about value in corporate America, th…moreNot specifically, no. It is better for women who may think they are not capable of a particular thing. Not really about value in corporate America, though I do think this is a worthwhile overall read for all Females.(less)

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 ·  12,393 ratings  ·  1,127 reviews

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Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin with this: there is some interesting, thought-provoking stuff in The Confidence Code. Unfortunately, that interesting, thought-provoking stuff could have been put into a magazine article. Too much fluff fills this book, mostly because Ms. Kay and Ms. Shipman don’t delve deep enough into their subject and sometimes confuse adorable personal anecdotes with meaningful research and analysis.

Here are a few of the issues not covered by this book: ageism, dealing with a sexist, hostile wo
Oct 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
I think this book could have been distilled into an essay and it would have been much more effective. Throughout reading it I felt hopeless, depressed, or angry.
Let me give you a breakdown:
Ch 1-5: Studies and stats on how women undermine themselves and how stereotypes alter how we are perceived (by men AND women).
Ch 6: Actually pretty good. Maybe just read this chapter?
Ch 7-8: Meandering advice. There are a few tips in here that might be useful but many are just opinions and might not actual
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I worry about my daughter. I worry about Disney Princesses and Magazine covers sending the wrong message. I worry about how I sit in 30 person meetings at work with 28 men and 2 women. I worry about the earnings gap between men and women in the same position. I worry about pink legos and barbie dolls. I worry that I won't be able to do enough to help my daughter become a strong successful confident woman.

So even though this book is targeted at women, I picked it up hoping I could learn something
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read the teaser article about this book in The Atlantic and was intrigued enough to read the actual book. I'm not a self-help or trendy non-fiction reader, so this book was quite the departure for me. However, the thesis presented in the article in the The Atlantic really resonated with me.

As an adult whose returned to college, I often find myself appalled at the lack of confidence and agency in the young women I take classes with. Often, in many settings from school to work I find myself as
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
For about a month this past summer, it seemed like every woman I knew was reading and raving about The Confidence Code. I was hesitant to read it, mostly because I felt I already knew the story of why (speaking in giant, broad strokes) women tend to be less confident than men. Kay and Shipman do a responsible job of unpacking these reasons, looking partially at genetic hardwiring but also taking into account (Western) cultural practices that deeply embed specific gender norms into the workforce ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I guess if you haven't read the following books, this book may be of interest to you.

Lean In
Nice girls don't get the corner office

Why is "confidence" just needed for women? What about men who lack confidence? I feel like this is actually creating unnecessary gender divide and further generalize women. And, in very similar sentiments to Lean In, this is about super intelligent, highly accomplished women who just seem insecure. Unreasonably insecure. So the message becomes more or less, to
I enjoyed this quick book about confidence in women.

Katty Kay bring us many studies and research as she pulls together this novel. Starting with basketball and ending with biased math tests, all the ways in which women have always had less confidence and therefore always set themselves at a lower bar than their male counterparts. In most cases, men assume confidence while women second guess themselves.

I'm leaving this one knowing that I need to demand more, and demonstrate more confidence base
Jun 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Essentializing and very heteronormative but I appreciate reading about this topic as it is something I struggle with. The most important things I learned are: when in doubt, take action and be willing to fail. It is inaction and overthinking that deplete confidence. Work towards mastery by being willing to try and to learn even if you may never perfect the skill or be the best at it. And be yourself. Authenticity is confident. And lastly no "up talking" - say things like you mean them. ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting topic but is covered rather superficially. Wish the book had more depth to it.
Lynne Spreen
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review of Confidence Code

The Confidence Code by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay is a wonderful book. It's funny (Katty Kay learning to kiteboard), relatable (stellar international leaders Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel comforting each other when male politicians beat up on them), and easy to read. Well researched, the book contains pages of helpful information, not only to understand why we as a gender tend to lag in confidence but also what to do about it. (Although the book would be good res
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my "Self Improvement" selection for the Read Harder challenge.

It's really more of a 3.5, but I think the topic is really important and the information is valuable, so I'm rounding up.


Just over a week later and I'm back.

I decided to read this book because I think I have something of a confidence problem. Not surprising, since research shows that most women do. Which is really screwed up! They did a study that showed that just asking women to note their gender before taking a ma
Jan 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: women, nonfiction
I couldn't finish it. People who have so little confidence that they can't write a book about confidence without spending the bulk of the book reporting on "research" they did on the definition of the word confidence for pages and pages (and pretending that their hokey 'research' is 'science') shouldn't be writing a book about confidence. What a waste of time--for the writers as well as the readers. ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: career
Largely elitist drivel, but with some good points

I thought that Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead had the market cornered on "universal" career advice for women that really only applied to the 1%, but The Confidence Code, amazingly, is even more out of touch with the general lived experience for [American] woman than Sandberg's work. My same criticisms of Lean In apply here: you have to be in a position of power and influence (in a white-collar job, of course--nothing in here applies to
Jaclyn Day
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is what I wanted Lean In to be. It’s relevant, actionable, and packed with research to back up their points. The book is fascinating even if you’re not in the workforce, but if you are--you have to read this. I know I’ve read a million anecdotes over the years about how women tend to lack confidence in the workplace, which affects everything from starting pay to raises to promotions, and this book neatly lays out why that might be and what steps can be taken to help propel us forward i ...more
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to tuck this one under: "It is not you, it is me." If I hadn't just read How Women Decide: What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices, this would have been all new and probably (possibly?) pretty empowering. But instead it just felt like a watered down How Women Decide.
I was initially excited when this book looked like it was going to take a step away from how we "socialize" our daughters and instead focus on the biological aspects of confidence. And then when
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really thought this book was great. I was fascinated to learn that (among many other things) there are actually neurological differences between men and women, which make women more likely to ruminate and doubt themselves. In many cases, this leads to inaction in women, whereas men are hardwired to just keep plugging along whether they succeed or fail. Somehow just knowing that feels empowering. It allows me to recognize in myself when I doubt/ruminate, shut it down, and get on with it. Less t ...more
Parnil Singh
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. As someone who often struggles with speaking up in large settings and often being doubtful, it was great to see that this is something which affects so many women, and can be solved through will and work. The authors have made the book quite readable, with interesting instances of successful women. One of the good motivational/ self-help books I have read.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, given the number of people who have recommended it to me, not to mention the fact that I share a last name with one of the authors.

And this book was an easy read, well-researched in terms of the information presented, with a few really helpful parts for women in the workplace especially. It did help me reflect on how I approach group settings and consider which parts of interactions (hello, perfectionism before I speak up in group settings!) might be more gendered th
Westminster Library
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drew
“Confidence is the way we meet our circumstances, whether they are wondrous and wonderful or really hard and difficult.” p. 25. This is a must read for any woman in today’s workforce, whether in a leadership role or not. Even if your workforce is home and you are raising children, it has important and beneficial information for parenting and supporting your daughters too. Intriguing from both a workplace environment and the scientific explorations of our brain, this book has given me a new outlo ...more
Sepideh R
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was amazing and at the same time pretty sad to read how our beliefs and culture affects how we deal with our confidence. Becoming aware of those random and common sentences we heard from our family and friends because of the fact of being a girl diminish our roles in the world day by day was kind of painful for me. At the same time, it's a privilege to acknowledge that we can still change that for ourselves, our friends, and maybe our future daughters.
As the author mentioned in the title as w
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was fascinating. There is so much to think about and try! There is so much insight to what makes women in general so hesitant and men so driven yet unphased by setbacks or failure. This book needs to be read for our daughters and for the girls in our schools. It is important information that could help turn the trend of women standing aside to a trend where women stand up and move ahead. A must-read for women of all ages.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this very helpful. I'll definitely work on speaking up more/being more confident in general ...more
2.5 I found this book a bit hard to get into at the beginning... I usually appreciate science and studies, but in this case, it didn’t really lead anywhere. There’s quite a bit of content dedicated to genes in the first half of the book, and then the authors reveal their own genetic results near the end that really just goes to show that genes hold little weight in terms of how confident one is. Then why spend so much talking about it?

Some things resonated with me, but a lot of other things did
Hilary "Fox"
I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

It wasn't a bad book, not exactly. My trouble with it was that the content in it seemed better suited for an article rather than a full length book. Every time they served up a bit of fascinating information, it never seemed to be fully explained or elaborated on to my liking. I would love to read deeper into the research that they only mentioned in passing to better gain an understanding of precisely what they advocated within the book itself.

Chanequa Walker-Barnes
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read (or rather listened to) this book after it was recommended by a dean at a gathering for women aspiring to academic leadership. As a psychologist, some of the concepts here were not new for me. But the authors aren’t trying to present new ideas. Rather, what they do is to synthesize psychological research, epigenetics, and case studies on confidence (and other related concepts such as self-efficacy, optimism, stereotype threat, etc.) to explain the gender gap in perceived confidence.

Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I enjoyed this, even if I (somewhat ironically) had to read it over a period of a month and a half, because it made me vaguely anxious.

I think this strikes a better tone than some of the books I've read that are similar-ish in genre/type. I really like the writing style in this. I think that I'll probably remember the key messages, if not the specifics.

Definitely worth reading.

2019 Reading Challenge - A book by two female authors (it seemed an appropriate choice for that prompt)
Sandra Pratt
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a genre that I don’t normally read - the so called “self-help” book. I actually enjoyed it and even found myself wanting to learn more about the science AND art of confidence. I have always considered myself a pretty confident person (the three short question/answer exercises in the notes confirmed that) but realize now that it’s because I worked at building self-confidence. I would recommend this to all women, as we need to crack our own Confidence Code.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: en
Good timing for this book.
- Confidence is described from multiple perspectives.
- Emphathises the importance of gaining more experience and failing fast. Redefines the definition of failure as "not even trying" (instead of "trying and failing").
- Brings attention to the issue of confident women being labeled as "bitchy" (which is a catch-22 type of situation)
- Some of the research mentioned in the book is arguable/was not reproduced. So take it with the grain if salt.
- Overall, lef
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Having read The Atlantic excerpt that came out just before the book was published, I felt like I knew the main points already. Nonetheless, a worthwhile read - especially for the quotes from highly successful women.
Jennifer Mangler
Reading this book was a fascinating experience because I realized how little I'd ever really thought about confidence. The discussion of epigenetics was particularly interesting. There was a lot of overlap between this book and other books I've read and professional development experiences I've had lately, and I'm very intrigued by the interplay of our genetics and our experiences. Having said that, I also agree with several other reviewers that this could have been condensed into a terrific art ...more
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Katherine "Katty" Kay (born c. 1964) is an English journalist. She is the lead anchor of BBC World News America and was previously the BBC News Washington correspondent from 2002. Until 2009 she also blogged at the website True/Slant and is a Board Member at the IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation).

Kay grew up in various Middle East countries, where her father was posted as a British dipl

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“Having talent isn’t merely about being competent; confidence is actually a part of that talent.” 7 likes
“Simply put, a woman’s brain is not her friend when it comes to confidence. We think too much and we think about the wrong things. Thinking harder and harder and harder won’t solve our issues, though, it won’t make us more confident, and it most certainly freezes decision making, not to mention action. Remember, the female brain works differently from the male brain; we really do have more going on, we are more keenly aware of everything happening around us, and that all becomes part of our cognitive stew. Ruminating drains the confidence from us. Those negative thoughts, and nightmare scenarios masquerading as problem solving, spin on an endless loop. We render ourselves unable to be in the moment or to trust our instincts because we are captive to those distracting, destructive thoughts, which gradually squeeze all the spontaneity out of life and work. We have got to stop ruminating.” 7 likes
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