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Top 10 books about diversity and inclusion every leader should know about



The business case for diversity and inclusion has long been demonstrated; Boston Consulting Group found that diverse management boosts revenue by 19%, Deloitte found that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee and Mckinsey found that 43% of companies with diverse boards noticed higher profits. So why are only 8% of Fortune CEOs women in 2021? And why are men 30% more likely to be promoted to a managerial position in 2020? One of the answers is a lack of education and awareness about diversity and inclusion. Many CEOs, business leaders, team leaders and HR professionals have never been educated on how to build an inclusive and diverse workplace, and only a few of them have the knowledge and the tools to transform their workplace into a highly inclusive and collaborative place to work. Education, and in particular reading books, plays a key role in learning how to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace. One report by Casafeschools, for example, found that including LGBT issues in the school curriculum lessened bias against this population. Here is a list of the top 10 books that everyone willing to create an inclusive and diverse workplace should read. Reading diverse stories is key to start acting in a way that reduces bias, boosts inclusion and fosters diversity.




1) The Culture Map by Erin Meyer


International business expert Erin Meyer helps readers understand and navigate cultural differences in this insightful and practical guide, which is perfect for both work and personal life. Americans precede anything negative with three nice comments; French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans get straight to the point; Latin Americans and Asians are steeped in hierarchy; Scandinavians think the best boss is just one of the crowd. It's no surprise that when these different groups try and talk to each other, chaos breaks out. In The Culture Map is a great guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain in which people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together. Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business, and combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice.




2) Inclusion: The Ultimate Secret for an Organization's Success by Perrine Farque


International keynote speaker and author Perrine Farque helps readers become the inclusive leader they always aspired to become with her practical book, filled with case studies, real-life work experience, research and a bonus chapter sharing hands-on tools to use. Most business leaders struggle with keeping their employees connected, engaged and productive. Studies show that 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace. When people feel included, they are more engaged, more productive and make their organisation more profitable. Perrine Farque’s book Inclusion will help you create true inclusion at work, define the impact an inclusive workplace has on an organization’s performance, share who can contribute to creating an inclusive workplace, and, of course, why every organisation should prioritize inclusion. Ultimately, it will help you become the inclusive leader you always wanted to become.





3) Diversify by June Sarpong


How do we set aside race, colour, creed, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, physicality and all of our perceived differences? Is it truly possible to live without prejudice? And why should we want to? Offering six stories and six simple steps, Diversify explores the value we place on social packaging - how it shapes the way we see ourselves, determines who we become and limits the opportunities available to us. Most importantly, it offers practical tools, empowering us to challenge those limitations and diversify. Combining sharp observations, fascinating case studies and interviews with key political, cultural and business leaders, Diversify is a fierce, accessible, credible and proactive guide to how we can beat social division - and reach our potential as a society.




4) How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive by Jennifer Brown


Most of us know why diversity is important, but how do we drive real change at work? Diversity and inclusion expert Jennifer Brown provides a step-by-step guide for the personal and emotional journey we must undertake to create an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.

Human potential is unleashed when we feel like we belong. That’s why inclusive workplaces experience higher engagement, performance, and profits. But the reality is that many people still feel unable to bring their true selves to work. In a world where the talent pool is becoming increasingly diverse, it’s more important than ever for leaders to truly understand how to support inclusion.

Drawing on years of work with many leading organizations, Jennifer Brown shows what leaders at any level can do to spark real change. She guides readers through the Inclusive Leader Continuum, a set of four developmental stages: unaware, aware, active, and advocate. Brown describes the hallmarks of each stage, the behaviors and mind-sets that inform it, and what listeners can do to keep progressing. Whether you’re a powerful CEO or a new employee without direct reports, there are actions you can take that can drastically change the day-to-day reality for your colleagues and the trajectory of your organization.





5) Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald.


‘I know my own mind. I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.” These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality. "Blindspot" is the authors' metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups--without our awareness or conscious control--shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people's character, abilities, and potential. In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot. The title's "good people" are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and "outsmart the machine" in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds.




6) How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X X Kendi


Not being racist is not enough. We have to be antiracist. In this rousing and deeply empathetic book, Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, shows that when it comes to racism, neutrality is not an option: until we become part of the solution, we can only be part of the problem. Using his extraordinary gifts as a teacher and storyteller, Kendi helps us recognise that everyone is, at times, complicit in racism whether they realise it or not, and by describing with moving humility his own journey from racism to antiracism, he shows us how instead to be a force for good. Along the way, Kendi punctures all the myths and taboos that so often cloud our understanding, from arguments about what race is and whether racial differences exist to the complications that arise when race intersects with ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. In the process he demolishes the myth of the post-racial society and builds from the ground up a vital new understanding of racism - what it is, where it is hidden, how to identify it and what to do about it.



7) Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams by Stefanie K. Johnson


In this groundbreaking guide, management expert Stefanie K. Johnson outlines the transformative leadership skill of tomorrow - one that can make it possible to build truly diverse and inclusive teams that value employees’ need to belong while being themselves. Humans have two basic desires: to stand out and to fit in. Companies respond by creating groups that tend to the extreme - where everyone fits in and no one stands out, or where everyone stands out and no one fits in. How do we find that happy medium where workers can demonstrate their individuality while also feeling they belong? The answer, according to Stefanie Johnson, is to Inclusify. In this essential handbook, she explains what it means to Inclusify and how it can be used to strengthen any business. Inclusifying - unlike “diversifying” or “including” - implies a continuous, sustained effort toward helping diverse teams feel engaged, empowered, accepted, and valued. It’s no use having diversity if everyone feels like an outsider, she contends. Inclusify reveals the unexpected ways that well-intentioned leaders undermine their teams, explains how to recognize the myths and misperceptions that drive these behaviors, and provides practical strategies to become an Inclusifyer. By learning why uniqueness and belonging are so imperative, leaders can better understand what makes their employees tick and find ways to encourage them to be themselves while ensuring they feel like they are fully part of the group. The result is a fully engaged team filled with diverse perspectives - the key to creating innovative and imaginative ideas that drive value.