How Women Decide

What’s true, what’s not, and what strategies spark the best choices

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2016)

So, you’ve earned a seat at the table. What happens next?

From confidence gaps to power poses, leaning in to calling bias out, bossypants to girl bosses, women have been hearing a lot of advice lately. Most of this aims at greater success, but very little focuses on a key set of skills that ensures such success—making the wisest, strongest decisions.

Every day, we face an increasing number of choices. Our success depends not just on the results, but on how well we handle making hard choices and the serious scrutiny that comes with them.

But is a woman’s experience issuing a tough call any different from a man’s?

Absolutely. From start to finish.

Men and women approach decisions differently, though not necessarily in the ways we have been led to believe. Stress? It actually makes women more focused. Confidence? A healthy dose of self-questioning leads to much stronger decisions. And despite popular misconceptions, women are just as decisive as men—though they may pay a price for it.

So why, then, does a real gap arise after the decision is made? Why are we quick to question a woman’s decisions but inclined to accept a man’s? And why is a man’s reputation as a smart decision-maker cemented after one big call, but a woman is expected to prove herself again and again?

How Women Decide delivers lively, engaging stories of real women and their experiences, as well as expert, accessible analysis of what the science has to say. Cognitive psychologist Therese Huston breaks open the myths and opens up the conversation about how we can best shape our habits, perceptions, and strategies, not just to make the most of our own opportunities, but to reshape the culture and bring out the best decisions—regardless of who’s making them.

Reader’s Guide to How Women Decide

how-women-decide

Teaching What You Don’t Know

A confidence-builder and strategy guide for anyone who has to stand up in front of a class and teach a topic for the first time.
Harvard University Press (2012)

“This is one of the best books I’ve read on university teaching and learning in a long time. It addresses an issue that’s seldom discussed, in a book that’s both carefully researched and wonderfully sparkling in style.” – Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do

“Have you ever been asked to deliver a lecture at short notice on a topic that is outside your comfort zone? …If so, read this book. In fact, ever found yourself wondering how you could improve your teaching, even of topics well within your expertise? Again, if so, read this book.”– Celia Popovic,Innovations in Education and Teaching International

“Moving behind the reassuring public image of professorial expertise, Huston exposes a growing but still largely hidden academic reality: university teachers–sometimes even full professors–teaching outside of their field. Interviews with dozens of university faculty convincingly establish the prevalence of the practice and clarify the institutional reasons that it will likely increase in the years ahead.”– Bryce Christensen, Booklist

Your graduate work was on bacterial evolution, but now you’re lecturing to 200 freshmen on primate social life. You’ve taught Kant for twenty years, but now you’re team-teaching a new course on “Ethics in the Digital Age.” Everyone in academia knows it and no one likes to admit it: faculty often have to teach courses in areas they don’t know very well. The challenges are even greater when students don’t share your cultural background, lifestyle, or assumptions about how to behave in a classroom.

In this practical and funny book, Therese Huston offers many creative strategies for dealing with typical problems. How can you prepare most efficiently for a new course in a new area? How do you look credible? And what do you do when you don’t have a clue how to answer a question?

Encouraging faculty to think of themselves as learners rather than as experts, Huston points out that authority in the classroom doesn’t come only, or even mostly, from perfect knowledge. She offers tips for introducing new topics in a lively style, for gauging students’ understanding, for reaching unresponsive students, and -yes- for dealing with those impossible questions.Original, useful, and hopeful, this book reminds you that teaching what you don’t know, to students whom you may not understand, is not just a job. It’s an adventure.

teaching-what-you-dont-know