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The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,093 ratings  ·  195 reviews

Foreword by Laszlo Bock, the bestselling author of Work Rules! and former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google

An inspiring guide from Dolly Chugh, an award-winning social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business, on how to confront difficult issues including sexism, racism, inequality, and injustice so that you can make the world

Kindle Edition, 325 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by HarperBusiness
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Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Well, I am not really unbiased ;-)
Jerome Kern
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although peppered with engaging personal anecdotal stories, “The Person You Mean To Be,” by Dr. Dolly Chugh is, at its core, an evidence-based recipe book for getting over the psychological inertia that keeps you at rest, helping you move from “thinking about how to be a better person” to actually “becoming a better person.”

I like to think of myself as a good person. We all do, right? Recently, though, it has become harder for me to square that self-image with my lack of tangible action against
Robin Schachter
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
POW! This book hit me between the eyes, in the heart and in the gut. Dr. Chugh combines wit and wisdom to help all of us notice - and start to SEE - the myriad inequalities, oppression and imbalances people in our world experience. And then, with stories, hints, suggestions and questions, all grounded in her up-to-the-minute research, she teaches us how to LEARN and start to ACT in ways that can make a difference. This book's clear writing style and the author's personal perspective makes the wo ...more
Jeff Wilser
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for anyone between the ages of 13 and 90. That’s not a joke. Every day, it seems like there’s an even more depressing story in the news. Racism. Sexism. Religious intolerance. Real people are being hurt. These are tough, uncomfortable topics, and as a straight white guy who wants to do the right thing, I’m never really sure what, exactly, I should be saying or doing.

Dolly Chugh’s fascinating, smart, thoughtful book is a welcome light in this darkness, and it has
Kris Patrick
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m sorry, friends. I won’t be lending this one. It stays on my desk.
Lorri Perkins
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That feeling. When a bunch of fragmented, private thoughts and uncomfortable conversations come together and suddenly begin to make sense… that is this book. Dolly Chugh did an amazing job of combining stories, research data and her insight to help me see things in a different light.
This book is not a lecture. This book is an accomplished thinker and builder extending her hand to help us all. If you’ve ever thought that our societal, systemic issues of bias are overwhelming and bigger than you,
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Person You Mean to Be is an extraordinary book that helped me answer questions I’ve been grappling with for a long time. I am a true believer in equity, diversity and inclusion but have often found myself paralyzed by fear, discomfort and/or the sheer enormity of the problems facing the world. As hard as it is to admit, I have let too many opportunities slip by having done nothing to be a part of the solution. The Person You Mean to Be helped me stop beating myself up about it and showed me ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m the target audience for this book- a white, good intentioned woman. In this book, Chugh moves through the good intentions and biases that people carry and explains the negative impact on people of color using anecdotes. I repeatedly thought: I do that, I do that...and she gave growth inducing feedback of how to grow. It allowed some incredible self reflection. I’m so grateful I read it.
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up. There is some GREAT info in here, no doubt. Lots of research and it's put together well. My issue comes from some twitching I did at various parts - just opportunities in some of the anecdotal stories that could have educated the reader more and centered BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voices. For example, there's a story of a woman using the n word and a Black woman overhearing this White woman use the slur. The slur was reported and the White boss, who was the fo ...more
Tracey March
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm recommending this book to everyone I know! Accessible, informative, evidence-based, and with concrete advice on how to fight bias and deal with the facts that it can be uncomfortable and you will make mistakes (that you can learn from) along the way. Can't say enough about this one.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening take on how to be more inclusive. I especially liked (and was pained by) the bits about the tailwinds many marginalized groups face. Also liked the encouragement to think of myself as a work in progress, and when I stumble to look at ways to improve.
Mike Zickar
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, self-help
One of the best books I've read on how to fight bias within yourself and others. It's based on psychological research which the author does a great job explaining in easy to understand language and completed with a large numbers of case studies, historical information, and anecdotes.

This is a great book for white people to read to help fight our own biases. . .
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"I had hoped that [good people] would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."*

Martin Luther King wrote those words in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail in 1963. More than 50 years later, many of those same dams still exist - and even though many of us think of ourselves as good people, if we're honest, we're often much more focused on ou
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In a time where bias, privilege, marches and riots have become part of our day to day lives, Dr. Dolly Chugh has come along with a “how to” book to navigate this very complicated world in which we live.

I have thought of myself as empathetic to those who fall into minority groups. However, in my reading of "The Person You Mean To Be," in which Chugh illustrates, through a series of interviews and vignettes, how bias and privilege affect even the most tolerant of us, I have learned that even thos
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This culmination of research and interviews is an approachable, evidence-based work that does a good job of coaxing the reader into awareness without judgement or reprimand. The aspirational undertones of fighting bias and making the world better for marginalized people is substantiated with tangible action items and relatable examples from different walks of life. Understanding that there is a gap between who "good people" are and who "good people" want to be is foundational to this book; but a ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Dr. Dolly Chugh reveals the how all of us "good people" view others through our own unconscious biases, which causes our well-meaning actions to not be as beneficial as we had intended. There is so much to be learned from this book, and the lessons she provides expertly combine evidence-based research with real-world examples from people she has interviewed, and from her own life.

The result is an engaging, fascinating, and eye-opening guide to improving how you think about and exp
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are you wondering on this MLK holiday, what you can do to honor the legacy of Dr. King? Read this book, then buy a copy for someone else.

If, like me, you ask yourself just about every day, what should I be doing, please read this book. If you want to be a better ally, use your privilege, get a few realistic ideas on how you can be just a little bit closer to the person you mean to be, please read this book.

Dolly Chugh identifies as a "female, foreign-born, person of color" who teaches at NYU St
Spela Trefalt
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! For anyone who cares about diversity and inclusion, this is a must read! The book is really engaging and pushes us to move beyond thoughts to actions. Important for me, Dolly Chugh gives very specific and doable suggestions at times when I struggled to come up with some on my own, suggestions on how to keep becoming a better person, one that not only has good intentions but does good deeds. I cringed and I smiled and I hugged the author in my thoughts many times for sharing her own struggle ...more
Eliza Armstrong
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing and important book, and I could not recommend it more. The mix of stories and science and action-steps makes it incredibly compelling. Dolly Chugh helps us understand why there is a space between the people we are and the people we mean to be, and she gives actionable steps we can take to close that gap. Her willingness to be humble and honest about her own life made it easier for me to see myself in both the stories and the science. I really do feel like Chugh and her book is ...more
Charnjit Singh
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With all of the chaos in the world around us, especially with respect to issues of bias in race, gender and sexual orientation, Dolly Chugh elegantly sheds light on how we can and should get involved and be the people we mean to be. It is rich with references to social science research and easily engaging anecdotes teaching us how we can be "doers" and not just believers. The book will challenge, teach and inspire us to embrace a growth mindset to be better people as we fight our biases.
It is a
Vivek Upadhyay
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wear many hats: oncologist, husband, son, and householder. These hats, combined with my passion for continuous learning, reading, and politics, fill my life with questions. How do I help educate others on the latest news in politics from the books I've read? How do I have difficult conversations with my patients and their families? How do I live my life without letting my own biases affect my decision making? Insights from this book helped me think about answers. Most importantly, I learned to ...more
Kristin Lane
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Professor Chugh writes early on that throughout the book “science will guide us and stories will bring the science to life.” She delivers 100% on that promise, illustrating the best of the empirical literature with narratives of how it unfolds every day. That she manages to do so, and distills the work to practical suggestions appropriate for each reader, wherever they may be in their journey, with an engaging voice, humility, and humor, makes this one of those rare books that is both urgent and ...more
Jeana Marinelli
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dolly’s book invites you into a deeply personal conversation with yourself and with her. Her brilliant writing welcomes you to grow and grapple alongside of her. She sees the best in her readers while equipping them with actionable strategies to get better. Regardless of how much you have read or learned about diversity, equity and inclusion- this book will meet you where you are and give you data, evidence and tools to keep growing.
Simi Bakshi
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a female healthcare executive, mom, and community advocate, I am confronted with many issues related to diversity and inclusion daily. This evidence-based book gave me many tools to manage these situations with a growth mindset. The author masterfully writes about her stories, experiences, and research in a compelling fashion. I will be recommending this book to my colleagues, friends, and family! Excellent read and also an amazing resource.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book, but wish I also had a hard copy to reference and mark up. Do you consider yourself a good person? This book will be a much needed wake-up call. The author discusses growth mindset, the ordinary privileges we take for granted, and brings much needed awareness and perspective to the 'bootstrap' mentality and headwinds/tailwinds. Her stories are great - she's a wonderful teacher - you hardly even realize all the science she is throwing at you:)
Debbie Esslinger
This is exactly the sort of book that will help me as I continue to find ways to engage my community and become a better ally and agitator in different parts of my life. The author offers guidance not only for how-- but also when and whom-- to engage others. We can all put this psychology to use as we strive to be "good-ish" and the people we mean to be.
Ramya  Pratiwadi
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read many books and articles about overcoming bias. Dolly's book is by far the most compelling, informative, and well-written book! What makes this book so great is that it weaves together personal stories, research, and great narrative to keep the reader engaged and interested in fighting bias. A must read for all!
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Engaging, evidence based, must read book for everyone. I have no of take home messages :
Believers to builders
20/60/20 rule.
Embrace being “good...ish” but continue to strive to be a better person
Diversity and inclusion are not the same thing. Listening is one practice that is critical to inclusion
Must read
Wesley Lynah
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of best books I have read in 2018. Addresses privilege, systems, inclusion and personally challenged the way I see myself and how I affect others. The good news Is if I can have a growth mindset- I can better listen and learn. I love all the great sources Dolly pulls from - and makes the words in her book real.
Lisa Carnoy
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable book. It was provocative, pragmatic and inspiring. Real life stories of real people who aim to be inclusive - and the science behind our behavior.

You will not be able to put this book down. And you will want to read it again.
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