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What if I Say the Wrong Thing?: 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People
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What if I Say the Wrong Thing?: 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  348 ratings  ·  55 reviews
In this compelling new tip book you'll find innovative and surprising ways to keep your personal diversity journey moving and the diversity commitment of your organization. Written to make this information bite-size and accessible, you'll find quick answers to typical What should I do? questions, like: What if I say the wrong thing, what should I do? What if I am work and ...more
Kindle Edition, 125 pages
Published April 17th 2014 by American Bar Association (first published April 7th 2014)
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A solid book on the topic, it didn't make me go "eureka!" at any points, but it feels like the type of thing it'd be good to have around for reference every once in a while. ...more
EVERYONE should read this book. I copied the chart of historically advantaged and disadvantaged groups as a visual reminder to always be aware of my lenses. Moving on to her next book right away!
Gabi Coatsworth
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A help in beginning to change

I found this a useful guide for beginning to understand where I have been making mistakes in my view of racism. I never considered myself racist (of course) and I didn’t understand white privilege exactly, either. This book explains that and provides strategies and suggestions for making progress towards treating everyone with respect and appreciation of difference. I would have given it 5 stars except that quite a bit of it was directed at a work environment, which
I had the pleasure to hear Verna Myers speak at a conference this year. She is lively and engaging and so knowledgeable in person that I had to give her book a try. I'm glad I did. This is a simple book, easy to read in format and language, but so very important in its message. If you truly care about diversity and treating others the way you'd wish to be treated, in making this world a more civil and welcoming place, then you cannot go wrong reading this little book. I had reminders of many iss ...more
A solid, basic guide to cultural sensitivity and inclusivity.
Sue King
I read this book because I’m part of a large group of people at my institution who are reading and discussing it. Published in 2013, it’s already showing its age with certain terms or lack of certain groups being referenced. I wish there were more actionable items for “everyday people” rather then mostly C suite people to whom it seems to refer, but in fairness the book was written aimed at those people in particular.
Lauren Turner
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written. Content clear and accessible and invitational.
Kaity Schlauer
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think I had forgotten that I had this checked out... that in no way should reflect on the quality of this book. It was informative and caused me a lot of introspection. I especially appreciate that Ms. Myers not only describes a problem, but that she then goes ahead and offers several ways to overcome it. I would like to think that I am culturally sensitive, but being a member of a few "one-up" groups (also a couple of "one-down", but I think the ups outweigh most of the downs in my case) I re ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Don't let the small size (126 pages) fool you. Verna Myers provides the right mix of data and stories to illustrate her points during each of the 25 habits. I appreciated how she provided several practical tips at the end of chapter to help the reader become culturally effective in their personal and professional life.

I read this book as part our weekly race and racism lunch time discussions within my division. I believe this is a good book to help anyone build their understanding
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful for well-meaning and open-minded people. Myers writes with an understanding that not everyone is perfect and that it is irrational to expect anyone to be, and the habits in this book are all useful starting points for imperfect people who want to become better at interacting with and helping to integrate and include those who are members of what she calls "one-down groups."

One of the biggest of only a few drawbacks is that many of her habits are aimed at leaders or management types
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a concisely written guidebook with tested (and testable) practices for becoming more humanist in your engagement of others. Some parts are written with white people as the specific audience. Most f the book applies to all person, as we all have ingrained biases that leak out as prejudicial or racist behavior even as we struggle against racism ourselves. The book also clarifies some of the ways in which we are all victims or racism 0 even when we perpetrate racism.

I will recommend this b
East Greenbush Community Library
This is a thoughtful (and very brief) book and surprisingly helpful addition to the collection of anti-racism books that I have read this year. Every chapter has a list of practical suggestions for responses and actions to address uncomfortable topics and underlying prejudices. Importantly, the book includes most every type of -ism that we need to address. With simple language and relatable anecdotes, Ms. Myers leads us to a new way of communicating and self-reflection with a very difficult topi ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fairly easy and quick read. Yet at the same time, it provided plenty of material for thought. Thought it did a good job of raising different diversity issues and helped me to better understand 'systemic racism' (or really how systems contribute to -isms). Not sure how helpful the tips are, per se, but overall, I think the book does a good job highlighting issues to think about and providing a place to start the diversity conversation. ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A great little book to understand what diversity is and how to actively promote it. There are 25 lessons and each starts with a specific real world example, explains the ineffective way it is handled usually and then explains the effective way. I found this approach very effective. This book helped me a lot to understand the spectrum of diversity issues and to learn about my own biases.
Erin Becker
This book is perfect for people looking to improve their Ally skills. Practical tips interspersed with stories from the author's own experience or from clients in her diversity consulting business. I got this from the library and read it in one day, but will definitely be buying a copy to read and reread. ...more
Overcome your fear of connection with people different from you. Vernā Myers offers pragmatic & accessible tools to help you to connect. If you want to make a difference in our bias-filled world and create positive change, learn these 25 habits—for workplaces and the rest of the places we all share together. See her blog for more: ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
This was an engaging, thoughtful, and compact discussion of tips for people wanting to engage with people of diverse backgrounds in an ethical, warm, and equality-driven way. I saw Ms. Myers speak at a library conference once, and was hoping this book would be as good as her performance as a presenter, and I was not disappointed.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, edi
Read this for an equity, diversity, and inclusion workshop through my work. Myers writes well, brings in good examples to illustrate her suggestions, avoids preaching and writes with humility and insight. Like a lot of books used in professional development seminars, it is divided into short, digestible sections that make good prompts for discussion. Glad to have read it.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I won’t be able to rattle off the 25 Habits when asked but I know that I will remember in the moment many of the practices that will help me both when (and I mean when) I do or say the wrong thing and when I want to intervene when I hear others do so.
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In some senses, i felt like I knew a lot of this from being a manager for awhile. It is also a lot about common sense and professionalism in the workplace and life which does seem to speak to upbringing and wanting to be a better person
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all

As a professional woman of co!or, I truly hope every person reads this book to understand in a simple manner the complexity of the human relationships and how we can learn to walk on others' shoes.
LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)
I think this would be a great resource for organizations, and maybe that is the audience the author was writing for (although the book is applicable to everyone). A lot of good advice, and you can really sense the author's consulting background coming through. ...more
Jo Britt-Rankin
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was referred to me by a co-worker. I quickly ordered it and have enjoyed reading it. I think it is helpful for all of us who are trying to make our workplaces more inclusive. It provides helpful suggestions for how we can each improve our daily lives
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great little bites of information.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honest & action oriented.
Specific, actionable, and generous. 4/5 stars.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am blown away by this book. I hav reread some sections already and I’m still amazed at how simple the ideas are, yet still difficult to do.
Angela Russell
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for folks at the beginning of their inclusion journey.
Paula Attfield
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read. Full of thought-provoking narrative and great insights.

A must-read for anyone who cares about diversity and inclusion - and we all should!
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