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How Women Decide: What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  49 reviews
So, you’ve earned a seat at the table.
What happens next?

From confidence gaps to power poses, leaning in to calling bias out, bossypants to girl bosses, women have been hearing a lot of advice lately. Most of this aims at greater success, but very little focuses on a key set of skills that ensures such success — making the wisest, strongest decisions.

Every day, in every p
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  295 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Start your review of How Women Decide: What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices
3.5 stars...rounded up for exceeded expectations.

I saw another reviewer describe this as a "Malcolm Gladwell-type book detailing research on gender issues." Which is a very accurate summary. Think Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking but through the lens of "women's intuition."

I went in initially skeptical but ended up enjoying it. The book loosely centers on common stereotypes about women and women leaders---i.e. can't make a decision, too emotional, easily swayed, etc. And then bre
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Data shows that when women are under a lot of stress, that they tend to go to the known solution. Men will go for the risky option.

Things to say -
I strongly believe we should do this -
This is going to be the plan -
Is there anything that we haven't heard yet before I make a decision?

Having strong social networks help women stay and move into high leadership roles

"There's a popular misconception that women are indecisive by nature, that unlike men, women continously review their options, a
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read-soon
Loved it. It was beautiful.

The author's voice walks that line of reporting and telling. The tidbits included are the highlights of my favorite books on decision making; what I've learned in many workshops on women in the workplace and some entrancing things I didn't know. For one thing:

Stereotype threat - being reminded you're not part of the in group - actually harms your ability to make decisions.

Stereotype threat risk assessment (more true answers, higher chance of experiencing):
1) Some of my
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Found it when I browsed all those shelves in Big Bad Wolf, then searched for its own pile because I would like to have the one with better and smoother cover (lol), but couldn't find any so I have to be satisfied with this one. No regret, because this book is somehow fits my need, because currently I am in a personal crossroads.

From this book, we will learn more about decision making from both genders, how men are more risk-taking and women are risk-alert; how it also applied not only in human,
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
This book was fantastic. I learned so much about how cultural expectations play into the way women decide, and the way men and women perceive those decisions. Her book applies in all aspects of life, regardless of career.

The most refreshing part about this book was that the book was based in solid research. She highlights the fact that women often have better judgement than they realize. I took notes (because unlike many other self-help books, this book actually gives you solid advice of how to
Lynn Weber
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Really great Malcolm Gladwell-type book detailing research on gender issues.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book, not just about how women's minds work, but about the science behind how all our minds make decisions.

My notes to self:
-When facing a stressful decision, force yourself to come up with at least 2 more options than the first one that comes to mind in order to avoid being forced into believing "desperate times call for desperate measures" is the only strategy.
-Remember, if you pay a lot for advice, you'll be way more likely to take it, even if you know it's bad.
Veronica Feliciano
One of my problems with non-fiction is that some of them are super boring, they are not able to keep my attention for long enough. However, this one was very interesting . The way the author was able to provide researched data and helpful examples that made me want to continue reading and learn more about the information she was explaining. Also, I really enjoyed that, even though the title suggests that is book is only for women, this book was able to provide example on the difference between m ...more
Nicole Wagner
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This isn't just another girl power pick-me-up book. Nor does it pander to the manly men's business world as norm and say "play by their rules if you want to win their game".

This book contains solid science, real strategies, and a healthy dose of optimism. I really surprised myself by enjoying it, taking notes, and recommending it. Most of us can use help making important decisions -- I do!

This book's great for women but will also be interesting for male managers who want to improve their busin
Wiebke Kuhn
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Interesting examples that are chosen to make it easy to recognize myself linked with data, research projects and compelling insights have made this a useful read.
Some of the points to take away -- we still live in a work environment dominated by masculine preferences; if women want to be successful without the constant doubt and stereotype threat, we need to change the physical work environment. Do pre-mortems to think through major decisions. Support each other when we take risks, even and espe
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important and informative book. Huston speaks directly to women and men about decision making, leadership, and unfolding careers. I have way too often been the only woman on a committee and felt the double binds women are entangled in from stereotype threat and traditionally male ways of knowing and acting, which results in lowered self-confidence and cognitive overload. I wish I had had a guide like this 30 years ago, but I'm glad it's available now. ...more
Bradley Bartholomew
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well articulated arguments of gender discrimination that occur in society, focusing on the unconscious judgments and decisions made by individuals. Taking from the principles talked in detail in Thinking Fast and Slow, as well as other modern psychological, Therese applies them to how women make decisions and how they are viewed for those decisions.
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for working women (wait, that’s all of us). Relatable examples and validating studies on why women are sooo indecisive (we’re actually not), and how nature vs. nurture effects us on a daily basis. You must get through the depressing bits in order to find out how our physiology and psychology is a benefit and can be used to advance women’s careers.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I translated this book into Chinese last year. Like all books I have translated, I have mixed feelings toward it and cannot possible give it a fair enough critique. Therefore, I’ll refrain from doing that.
Hadassah Holl
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was part way in-between I liked it and really liked it. Mostly due to some dated references in the book that didn't age well (Elizabeth Holmes as inspirational). Overall an interesting read with good take aways for any gender. ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book, has strategies to not only help you decide but to keep your from questioning your decisions in the future.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I learned some interesting tidbits which I think will not only help me but also help how I relate to other women in the workplace. I definitely plan to start keeping a 1 sentence journal.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid insight as an introduction to psychology in sexes. Would recommend.
Arlene Kropp
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This had so much unusual and helpful information! What a fascinating subject.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book... with many examples and studies.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
EVERY WOMAN should read this book! Content is supported by research but written in an accessible style. Each chapter ends with practical applications. Can't stop talking about this one. ...more
Amber Roberts
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, would recommend to everyone!
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Read it until page 109. I think right now it wasn’t my time to read it, might come back to it when I feel it’s right.
Michael Silverman
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely terrific! It was like going back to a graduate school cognitive science seminar (albeit with no discussion). The work is solid and based on quality research - I'm not saying that simply because she references one of my Harvard University mentors. Dr. Huston does a terrific job tying decision-making theory to real-world examples and then pointing out the implications. She does it masterfully.

As a clinician, I work with very successful women. Indeed, I have gotten to know some of the mo
Nan Narboe
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The writeup interested me and reading the book convinced me. There are gender-based differences — and it's freeing, not limiting or insulting, to call attention to them.

In this case, the discovery one more time that "It's not just me," is more than a relief: It's a tool kit.
Cyndie Courtney
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cyndie by: Goodreads
An extremely important book about society often forces women to consider decisions in different ways because of the expectations placed on them, how this honestly can make them very helpful in making group decisions for companies, and how we can both take advantage of this and think about women in leadership to help create a more fair world. A wonderful book.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books
Lost a star for using Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos as a good example.
Emily Briano
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is geared towards women in a business setting. I had hoped for more examples of making personal decisions, but a lot of the information still rings true. One thing I will use instead of pro-con lists is the idea of the "look back" where you ask yourself to imagine in one year, what is something you wish you had done or that you would be glad you did. For example "Looking back, I'm so glad I ____" or "If I hadn't _____ this year, I would really regret it."

The idea of a one-sentence dai
G.G. Silverman
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read many, many business books in my lifetime, and few have hit me as hard as this one. Exceptionally well researched, with tons of data, this book will open your eyes toward the deep-rooted bias against female decision-makers in the business world, and shares strategies for both women and men to counteract these biases, and how women's decision-making style can ultimately be tools for positive change. Everyone should read this book—managers, world leaders, workers, parents. You will be a ...more
Katie Bruell
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
From the minute I started reading this book, I wanted to be friends with the author. She writes very well--none of that annoying non-fiction style of spelling everything out ad nauseam, but at the same time, she doesn't make points that have been supported by only one small study--she makes sure that she finds multiple studies that reach the same conclusion. The title sort of turned me off, and some of the more business-related examples weren't all that relevant to me, but I still learned a lot ...more
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THERESE HUSTON, PH.D., is a cognitive scientist at Seattle University and the author of three books. Her new book, "Let’s Talk: Make Effective Feedback Your Superpower," was just published by Portfolio / Penguin Random House, and the New York Times called her last book, "How Women Decide," “required reading on Wall Street.” Therese received her BA from Carleton College and her MS and PhD in cognit ...more

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