I enjoyed Julia Gillard & Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s “Women and leadership”. It describes the itineraries of 10 women having reached the top of national governments and international organizations – where women make up less than 10% of leaders worldwide. It is not an academic book and does not overuse statistics. Rather it offers eight lessons based on these stories and decades of peer observations. None of them are particularly new. What I liked was the candor with which these female politicians shared their struggles and practical tips. The chapter on how women are judged based on their hairstyles and physical appearances disturbed me. The chapter unpacking the guilt experienced by working mothers (and comments making it more vivid) spoke to me. So many times, as I travelled for work was I asked who was taking care of the kids…including by a UNICEF child rights expert and an INSEAD professor seasoned in ethics and social innovation…I thought the professional journeys of Malawian Joyce Banda and Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were mind-blowing considering all the hardships they had to overcome to become top politicians. It struck me that most women featured in the book were offered leadership “opportunities” when situations were incredibly complex, desperate or prone to failure. I also noted that none of them were initially seeking power and often asked to step in the top jobs. The book ends with a “GO FOR IT” call to action. But honestly, after reading this book, I would not run.
Jeremy Bailenson’s “Nonverbal overload: A theoretical argument for the causes of zoom fatigue” argues that some of the zoom fatigue comes from nonverbal behaviors typically not associated with days in the office: close-up eye gaze, cognitive load, staring at videos of oneself, and constraints on physical mobility. Based on these, Bailenson and his colleagues developed a scale to monitor “Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue (ZEF)”. To lower our ZEF scores, they recommend moving the camera far from our faces, turning off our video, switching back to phone calls, and walking around while on zoom meetings. Good luck!
My graph this week is from Hannah Ritchie’s “Global deforestation peaked in the 1980s. Can we bring it to an end?”. Deforestation in temperate areas grew with populations’ food and energy needs, peaked in 1920, and gave way to afforestation in 1990. In tropical areas, the same pattern happened with a deforestation peak in 1980. These global trends look promising even if they do not account for all vegetal and animal species lost along the way.
My quote this week is from Viggo Mortensen in Armchair Expert [45’03”]: “If we are to say that memory is subjective anyways, why is the present that a person from dementia completely believes in and feels profoundly, why is that any less legitimate than my view of the present?”