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Men ask for what they want twice as often as women do and initiate negotiation four times more, report economist Linda Babcock and writer Sara Laschever in the footnoted but engaging Women Don't Ask. With vivid research examples drawn from cradle, classroom and playground, the authors detail culture as the culprit in discouraging women from negotiating on their own behalf. Men, socialized in a "scrappier paradigm," learn to pursue and energize their goals at work and home. The two key elements are control and recognizing opportunity. For example, girls, rewarded for hard work, learn to see control as outside of themselves while boys are urged to take charge. Boys are schooled to recognize opportunity and girls to choose safe targets. Several chapters are focused on prescription; how women can decrease anxiety, anticipate roadblocks, plan counter-moves and resist conceding too much or too soon. The authors shine in their examination of culture and gender--and their optimism about how women can counter the culture. They falter whenever they adopt the "sexes-from-a-different-planet" fallacy. Most notably, in a chapter that details a "female approach" to negotiating. Overall, the authors have created a smart summary of research and used it to affirm every woman's urgent right to ask. --Barbara Mackoff
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Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide