Cover Image: The End of Bias

The End of Bias

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A thought provoking read, 'The End of Bias' by Jessica Nordell, addresses the topics of unconscious bias and prejudice. Referencing a number of case studies  where individuals have encountered bias, the author looks at methods to understand and counteract the bias. 
Nordell also considers looks gender and race discrimination and its causes, both of which are often societal and perception-based. Interestingly, the author attempts to take a solution-orientated approach, and so provides numerous examples of interventions which were evidenced as reducing bias, along with the footnotes to backup this information. 
Very researched, this book is written in a more conversational style which ensures that the book is accessible to all readers.
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This is a truly amazing book. Ms Nordell has achieved a great service getting these ideas down in a readable, entertaining, yet challenging way. I spent half the book saying “that’s what I think”, a quarter saying “wow I didn't know that” and a quarter is written down in my notebook. I also need to follow up on the comprehensive notes and references section, which clearly reflects the research which went into this book.

“Reducing individual bias won’t end disparities and societal inequities: these are the legacy of historical exclusion, unequal access, extractive economic policies, and other invidious structures built on corrupt foundations. Only large systemic changes - from the reinvention of public safety and prisons to broad economic repair - can address such gross and longstanding injustices.”

This is not a polemic, it is a fascinating look at how we form our prejudices without knowing we are doing it. Why do we reuse our towels in a hotel more when we are told other guests do it, than when we are are told it helps the environment? There is no point having a quota and employing more of the people you have historically shut out, if those people quickly leave because the atmosphere in your company is toxic and they are are not valued. 

“…another recent study found that people who believed that gender discrimination was no longer a problem in their field rated a male employee as more competent than an identical female employee and recommended an 8 per cent higher salary.”

An excellent quote which sums up the way the author went about her study is “By constricting the makeup of who asks the questions, it shapes what questions are asked, compressing the scope of human knowledge.”

There is a story of a school which was looking at how they could help their young children overcome any innate or learned prejudice about boys and girls being different. Boys are strong and don’t cry, girls are pretty and wear pink etc. But when they looked back at tapes of the classroom interactions, they found it was the teachers who reinforced the bias as much as the kids. When they changed their methods completely to address the issues, a number of parents complained!

An excellent, stimulating book and I will follow up on some of the references. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review
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A really thought-provoking interesting read which I would recommend to anyone and everyone.   I was lucky to get an advance electronic reading copy but this is something I will go and buy as a print edition too as there are so many interesting facts and references to go back and look at.   A definite 'must-have'.
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"We can begin by noticing our own biased reactions...we can build structures decision-making into our institutions and organizations...we can spread new norms...Underlying all of this is a cellular-level shift: a change of heart."

The End of Bias is the author's journey to identify causes for and patterns of unintentionally biased behaviour and to see how bias can be eroded or removed. She references many case studies of real events where individuals have encountered bias, often in the organisations they work for, and how they tackled it, to find common methods and solutions.  The author looks at gender and race discrimination and its causes, which are often societal and perception-based. She looks at bia in the police, in universities and schools, places of work and within the medical profession.

As laws only limit the worst excesses of bias and discrimination it can begin with individuals to want to change their habits, to consider the impact of cumulative experiences of discrimination and want to do differently. It requires tackling a legacy of exclusion and seeking, or starting, large systemic changes, understanding history and patterns of behaviour. Role models help, as can changing processes structure and culture, introducing checklists and checkpoints to, literally check our bias. 

This is an urgent, thorough and fascinating exploration of unintentional bias and how to change the world to minimise its impacts. We can all benefit from understanding our own bias, which in turn enables us to question others and organisations we interact with. This book advocates hope for the future, for a more inclusive world with the potential to be free of discrimination.
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What a throughly interesting read for anyone wanting to explore and understand bias, and it’s past and recent research. I think in some parts the points could be written a little more cohesively, though that doesn’t take away from the ideas it explores overall. I have taken many notes and can’t wait to see the finished copy.
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An absolute must read!!! An eye opening narrated study which grips you and give you a lot of information in a splendidly written way. Each point is supported by a story which makes the boom more personal and relatable. In these trialling times, this book should be in every curriculum as a fundamental  reading. I have already recommended it to everybody I know and will certainly have my children read it when they are older. There is not enough words in the dictionary to rave about this book!!!
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“The truth is that those who are most affected often lead the change”.

The book addresses modern day prejudice and unconscious bias. In theory, an important read. It highlights how stereotypes and preconceived notions seep into everything -  work, healthcare, education and academia. 

I loved the premise but the book fell short. Valid case studies were super interesting - including an insight into the political power of Sesame Street between Albanian and Serbian children and the power of Facebook presenting different adverts depending on the race of the user.

Unfortunately though, the book was filled with too many case studies and not enough analysis. The end chapter read more as a stream of conscience that felt partially divorced from the rest of the content covered. There are many books available on the topic currently and a more focused approach would have delivered a greater impact. I enjoyed the historical emphasis on the creation of race and the shift in preference, as well as the positive belief that prejudice is just a habit we can train out of.

Thank you NetGalley for the Arc in return for an honest and fair review,

#NetGalley #TheEndofBias
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I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review thanks to NetGalley. 
This book is an eye-opener and it had a lot of examples of bias. Although it was heavily researched, in my opinion it didn’t flow very well at all. This is not a casual read. I was also looking for more examples to end bias rather than facts spread throughout the entire book. This felt more like a chore to read. 
#NetGalley #TheEndOfBias
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Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

And, honestly...I loved it. In the conclusion, the author notes that she upon starting this book, she thought it would be a scientific approach: gathering sources, testing a conclusion. You can definitely see that, in the variety of references there are (which I really liked - I'll definitely be buying a physical copy upon publication, so that I can have the list for future.) However, in contrast (sorry to all the science academics who've written very funny papers - no shade on you, I promise!), it's written engagingly too, more like an essay or a longread magazine article, and makes sure to focus on the human aspect. I felt like the data and figures were well-balanced with this essential real-life, human aspect, together covering a side of the discourse that we don't see written about in mainstream culture as much as we should (or at least, that I haven't seen as much!)

It gave me hope, and also gave me pointers for where there's always more work to do.
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Why do parents google “is my son gifted” more than twice as often as ‘is my daughter gifted?’ And why do they google ‘is my daughter overweight’ twice as often as they ask about sons, even when statistically more boys are obese than girls?

With many more examples like these, the author shows that we are all biased in subtle ways. And the bias often operates subconsciously through learned cultural expectations. 

For example in Performance reviews, personality issues are raised for men in 2% of cases. For women it is 76%. And the character flaws of the women are the virtues cited as reasons for promoting men. Underlying these double standards are unspoken cultural expectations about how men and women “should” behave. 

One of the things I particularly appreciated about this book is that it was solution orientated. More than half the book gave examples of interventions which were evidenced as reducing bias. And a further 25% of the book provided footnotes with the details of the evidence.

Reviewing interactions between Police and Black and Latino populations the author noted that there are often mental health issues impacting police officers. This led to programmes of mindfulness and re-humanising behaviours which had measurable impacts in driving down crime whilst simultaneously reducing arrests of Black and Latino people. In one programme, over a period of 6 years police use of force dropped by 40% whilst their policing remained as effective as previously.

Another set of solutions to bias involve ‘cognitive interventions,’ which enabled people to look for ‘situational’ explanations for behaviour, rather than attributing it to character flaws. In a school context this halved the numbers of black pupils being suspended. In the criminal justice system it led to a 13% reduction in recidivism amongst Black and Latino populations.

In further chapters the author looks at healthcare. We see that something as simple as a ‘checklist’ stopped doctors defaulting into biases, and it led to a 47% drop in death rates amongst those with blood clots.

The book contains so much information and analysis that it is impossible to do it justice by citing examples. It is an enjoyable and highly informative read, which leaves readers with the upbeat message that discrimination really can be fought and defeated. 

These are honest comments based on an Advanced Review Copy of the text.
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Very research heavy, this reads like an academic paper. The list of sources is massive and, as I was reading on a kindle, this was frustrating as it isn't easy to flick back and to between the source list and the text. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is an important book which contains the best scientific research on bias and prejudice framed in a readable accessible manner. Individual stories bring the themes to life and embed the learning. Having been involved in anti-mental health stigma work I recognise the difficult tightrope walk between making people aware of their prejudices to enable them to change them, and causing them to react defensively and make the situation worse. The authors own journey to recognise her privilege and biases and to work on these is well described. The author is American and the viewpoint is from the US, with their particular forms of embedded racism and sexism, but there is much to learn here for a UK audience. 

I would certainly recommend this book widely.
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This is the book that all the people who acknowledge that some are disproportionately treated as a truth. It is an invaluable book that is well researched with relatable examples and empirically scenarios to allow us to apply to our own lives, 

I was shocked at the things I was personally guilty of and am now routinely seeking the source of my presumptions.

When Allies can cut the canker off at the root we can gently guide those with more ingrained prejudices with insightful questions and correlation .

Will be sharing far and wide.
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One of the hardest things about being human is unlearning our base instincts. The survival strategies we needed as small tribes in a dangerous environment are rarely relevant in the modern world.

Bias exists. This books makes an excellent academic case for showing that bias is present in all of us - and that it is (mostly) no longer a useful heuristic. It meticulously chronicles the various experiments which have been undertaken to see where bias creeps in to the decision-making process. Perhaps this isn't surprising to you - but it is useful to have it spelled out so clearly.

What works to address bias? What's just snake oil? It's harder than you might think. Some promising studies can't be replicated - others get mired in controversy. And, worse still, some people don't want to change!

Can the USA's notoriously violent and racist police reduce their biases by meditating before a shift? It's the sort of thing which would generate eye-rolls from the commentariat and fierce resistance from the "noble warriors" themselves. And, yet, the evidence suggests that it works. Sure, you can't wipe out all the structural problems of law enforcement with a few deep breaths - but it appears to be a good start.

In tech, we know that fixing "the pipeline" isn't enough. We need to make concerted efforts to correct past mistakes. The story of how MIT increased its diversity (in one faculty, on one spectrum) is an excellent model about how leadership has to want to be better.

Finally, there's an interesting section on child rearing. Something of no interest to me - but fascinating to see what some people consider "indoctrination". How do you speak to the children around you? Do you intentionally reinforce gender stereotypes? Is that harmful?

As with many modern books about bias, it mostly looks at things through a North American lens. While I'm not claiming that Europe is free of bias, the problems we have often stem from a very different background than the USA. However, there are a couple of good sections about practical examples from European research.

At its heart is a plea to take this stuff seriously. Not just in an academic setting - but in every aspect of your life. Examine what weird little biases you have, work out where they came from, try to discard them if they do no good - and then hope that, together, we can change the world.

Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy. The book is released later this year.
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An informed and important account of the depth of bias in education, through to employment and law enforcement. It is not for the faint-hearted being, for me, too long and repetitive. It doesn’t read like an academic paper - it flows well and is not jargon-driven - but for the casual but concerned reader a pruned down version would have served the purpose better.
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This has been a fascinating read for me! As someone who is aware of their unconscious bias, I wasn't sure how much I would learn from this book, but whoa, I learnt a lot! I thought it was well written and very well presented - I liked the references to research and other learnings, as it helps me understand where the author got their facts. It's a very interesting read and made me open my eyes about to how I view my bias, and how the rest of the world likely views them as well. I think this is the kind of book that should be recommended to teenagers in school to read.
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A potentially interesting subject but ultimately much too heavy-going for the  casual reader to enjoy.
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The End of Bias is a book that you cannot read within one seating. It will make you analyse and consider the world and surroundings. Jessica Nordell changed my point of view, explained many threats in my life and in some way change myself - and I think it was the main reason why this book has been created. 
It is a scientific book about prejudice against all of us. The author has brilliantly written about many examples from our life, showing what biases are and how they can affect people's lives. Explanation of the theme was essential for understanding what it is and how to end it. Step by step, with each page, the acknowledgement will open your eyes.

Definitely transformative, exploration. While the discrimination became our sad normality, Nordell shows that even if we think everything is running just, it could be seen as inequality or unjust from another point of view. The book is rich in stories, examples - the author did deep research before completing this work. It shows her enthusiasm and strength of the argument to explain what biases are. There is much inequality on the broad timeline, history biases or stereotypes that approach human beings from hundreds of years—lots of gender, age, or class bias that sadly exist and make our life harder. I was surprised by the other points of view and cruelty involved. 
The cover is attractive, showing the contrast that people presents. It is an excellent scientific book, could be a base for future studies on biases. 

Thank you, NetGalley and Granta Publications, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
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A great collection of stories and science bringing together all the facets of bias both internal, external and historical.  The stories helped to illuminate different biases and the situations in which they show themselves and outline their effect.  The science is interesting and brings to the forefront how bias can be so detrimental.  This isn't a self-help book and it isn't a 3-step process book, which was refreshing, however, I was looking for more linking examples of how to end bias.  It does come, but for me, it was too late in the book.  The book does open the mind to stories, examples, and bias itself, however, I was looking for more examples of how to end bias and hence I only gave it 3 stars.
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Every book I read and review starts off with the full 5 stars and this book ain't any different.

I usually read fiction but non-fiction is also cool and groovy, as long as it's not boring and doesn't use words that I've never even heard of before.  

This book sounds really interesting and something I feel passionately about, so I'm hoping it'll be a high scorer, star-wise.  I got a free copy in advance, thanks to NetGalley and I can't wait to get stuck into it!

The cover is simple but effective  and I can't wait to get started on it when I've fished my Kindle out of it's drawer beside me... I hope it's fully charged up!

Nope, it's dead, so I'll plug it in and leave it to charge up a few percent so that I can open the book lol

There have been 14 mostly blank pages at the start of the book... is the author and/or publisher trying to add pages to the book to make it feel like it's more worth the price?

I'm loving this book so far... it's sooo different from my usual fiction and I'm really appreciating what the author is saying and it's making me realise just how good my life is in many ways compared to others - I've got a roof over my head, food in my belly and drinks available whenever I fancy quenching my thirst... there are so so many, even in rich countries like the UK, who don't have those luxuries and I admit I've been taking them for granted.  Even healthcare is free at the point of use, unlike other countries in the world and all prescriptions cost the same.  Hospital treatment is free, whether it's for a broken toe or a triple heart bypass (I don't even know what that is, but I bet it costs the NHS a pretty penny every time it's performed).  I saw a Neurologist this morning and it was free 'cos I'm a UK-er born and bred, but there's no way I could afford it in America!  That's without even considering those who live in poverty... they would be equally entitled to free healthcare, but when was the last time they had a drink of fresh water that they didn't have to beg for?  When was the last time they replaced their toothbrush or even managed to afford  a tube of toothpaste?

Back onto the topic of this book now though lol

I hope the author has got written permission to use all these big names, ads and music groups or they could get themselves into hot water!

Blimey Charlie!  Where have the hours gone?  It's taken the best part of 3 days to get this far, but other than the things I've mentioned already about using trademarks and stuff (which may have different usage rules to fiction, but I dunno about that, so I ain't knocking off a star), the days have disappeared into the ether and after I start reading I don't stop until I head to bed!  It's rare to find a book like that for me, so the author should feel really proud of themselves for keeping me reading without even needing to go for a wee and my hot drinks have usually been left to get cold too, which is another sign of a good book.

I was wrong at the start of this review, thinking that the blank pages were a marketing thingybob... the text is pretty small and there are over 350 pages so maybe it was more of a gentle introduction to all these quality words throughout the rest of the book?

Just reached the conclusion and it may sound daft, but I'm starting to feel emotional about not having it to read and think about during the times that I'm asleep or doing other things online.  It's seriously opened my eyes and made me think about how I can explore my own beliefs and biases and how I can adjust them to make me a better person amongst those who aren't like me.  I thought I was open-minded and unjudgemental and that I was all for helping those who needed my support, but this book has made me realise that even though I do my best, I've still got a looong way to go to help others.

Just finished the book (with the exception of the notes ;-) lol) and I'm a changed person because of it... it's made me want to examine myself and my past and constantly challenge each thought - where has it come from, who introduced that thought and most importantly, why?
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