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Sway : Unravelling Unconscious Bias

4.3 (26 ratings by Goodreads)
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'Passionate and urgent.' Guardian, Book of the Week
'A must-read for all.' Stylist, best new books for 2020
'Cogently argued and intensely persuasive. Groundbreaking Work.' Waterstones, best new books of April
'Impressive and much-needed.' Financial Times, Best Business Books April to June
'Admirably detailed.' Prospect Magazine

'Practical, useful, readable and essential for the times we are living in.' Nikesh Shukla
'An eye-opening book that I hope will be widely read.' Angela Saini
'If you think you don't need to read this book, you really need to read this book.' Jane Garvey
'An eye-opening book looking at unconscious bias. Meticulously researched and well written. It will make you think hard about the judgements you make. An essential read for our times.' Kavita Puri, BBC Journalist and author

Have you ever been told to smile more, been teased about your accent, or had your name pronounced incorrectly? If so, you've probably already faced bias in your everyday life. We like to believe that we are all fair-minded and egalitarian but we all carry biases that we might not even be aware of.

For the first time, behavioural scientist, activist and writer Dr Pragya Agarwal unravels the way our implicit or 'unintentional' biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, and how they affect our decision-making, even in life and death situations. She takes a unique inter-disciplinary approach combining case studies, personal experience, interviews and real-world stories underpinned by scientific theories and research. Throughout, Pragya answers questions such as: do our roots for prejudice lie in our evolutionary past? How has bias affected technology? If we don't know about it, are we really responsible for it?

At a time when partisan political ideologies are taking centre stage, and we struggle to make sense of who we are and who we want to be, it is crucial that we understand why we act the way we do. This book will enable you to reflect and consider the forces that shape us all, opening your eyes to your own biases in a scientific and non-judgmental way.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 40.64mm | 587g
  • Bloomsbury Sigma
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472971353
  • 9781472971357
  • 12,823

Review quote

Agarwal's diagnosis of the political harms of bias is passionate and urgent. * Guardian, Book of the Week * Fascinating, sometimes challenging, read, for fans of Caroline Criado Perez's Invisible Women and Angela Saini's Superior. * BBC Science Focus, Best Science Books of April * A fascinating and vital read. * Good Housekeeping * A well-researched and cogent work. It accessibly reveals the insidious nature of stereotyping and does much to encourage readers to examine - and take responsibility for - their own implicit biases. * Publishers Weekly * A serious exploration of the neuroscience and psychology of bias. Solid, definitely-not-dumbed-down popular science. * Kirkus Reviews * An important look at one of the issues facing Western society today. This book exposes the insidiousness of unconscious bias and offers us a way to change the way we think that is practical, useful, readable and essential for the times we are living in. You need to read this book and think about the way you live and how you view others. -- Nikesh Shukla, author and editor of The Good Immigrant, screenwriter and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature An exhaustive, brilliantly researched survey of bias and how it seeps so easily into our everyday thoughts and actions, from gender essentialism to casual racism. Calmly and without polemic, Agarwal explains why we all need to work harder to avoid lazy prejudice and simplistic narratives if we are to build a fairer society. An eye-opening book that I hope will be widely read. -- Angela Saini, science journalist and author of Superior and Inferior This indispensable book takes us into our own minds and helps us understand why we believe what we believe and how we can confront ourselves with not just an understanding of other people, but who we are too. A book that is challenging, fascinating and useful, and if we take notice, a book that could make us better people. -- Robin Ince, comedian, writer and broadcaster This book is totally fascinating and a reminder that we are all complex creatures with multiple layers. This book is vital reading, eye-opening and a helping hand to arm ourselves with the knowledge to be and do better. -- Emma Gannon, writer, podcast host and author of The Multi-Hyphen Method Scrupulously researched, engagingly written, and searingly relevant. -- Caroline Sanderson, editor at The Bookseller Approaching the contentious issue of social bias with nuance and a broad range of exhaustive research, behavioural scientist, activist and writer, Agarwal demonstrates how unconscious prejudice is still immensely prevalent in contemporary society. Cogently argued and intensely persuasive, Sway is an enlightening account of how entrenched sets of stereotypes have become. * Waterstones * If you think you don't need to read this book, you really need to read this book. -- Jane Garvey, presenter, BBC Radio 4
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About Pragya Agarwal

Dr Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist, and a freelance journalist. As a Senior Academic in US and UK Universities, she held the prestigious Leverhulme Fellowship, following a PhD from the University of Nottingham. She is a two-time TEDx speaker, winner of Diverse Wisdom award from Hay House, and was named as one of the 100 influential women in social enterprise in the UK, and one of 50 people creating change in the UK-India corridor on the High and Mighty list.

Pragya has been invited to give keynote talks and workshops around the world, and has appeared on several international podcasts, radio and television channels, such as BBC Woman's Hour, BBC Breakfast, Australian Broadcasting Service, and Canadian Radio. She organised the first ever TEDxWoman event in the north of the country, and has a podcast called 'Outside the Boxes'.

@DrPragyaAgarwal
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Rating details

26 ratings
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 46% (12)
4 42% (11)
3 8% (2)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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