Books and Reading

Published on February 6th, 2012 | by thevyne


Vyne Book Review: Ask for It!

Maybe you’ve heard the statistics that while women make up close to half of the workforce, they still make less than men for the same kind of work, irrespective of qualifications and experience. You’ve probably also heard that the wage difference hovers around 77% meaning on average, women only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Perhaps you’ve also noticed the dramatically lower numbers of women in senior leader roles when compared to men in corporate America. On the face of it, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that these alarming statistics are the result of discrimination. While discrimination may be the case, two esteemed educators/researchers, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, took it upon themselves to dig deeper into this phenomenon and discovered that another trend may in fact be impacting these stats. That is, women don’t ask and avoid negotiation whereas men do the opposite. 

If you’ve ever been apprehensive about negotiating, chose not to negotiate because of apprehension, thought you would be asking for too much, questioned whether you were worth it or all of the above, then this book is for you. Written by Linda C. Babcock and Sara Laschever, this book is a must read for all women who’ve ever hesitated to ask for something they felt they deserved. Linda C. Babcock is the James Mellon Walton Professor of Economics at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Babcock specializes in negotiation and dispute resolution. Her research has appeared in the most prestigious economics, industrial relations, and law journals. Sara Laschever earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature (summa cum laude) from Princeton University and a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University. She has spent her career investigating the obstacles, detours, and special circumstances that shape women’s lives and careers, writing extensively about women in literature and the arts, women in the sciences, women in academia, and women in business.

These dynamic women joined forces to author their first groundbreaking book together titled Women Don’t Ask. In it they uncovered the startling fact that women who negotiate brilliantly on behalf of others often falter when it comes to asking for themselves. The success of Women Don’t Ask prompted questions from women all over the country wanting to know how to ask. So Linda and Sara joined forces yet again to author this book, Ask for It, which is basically a guide to negotiation for women that starts before you get to the bargaining table. Ask for It explains why it’s critical for women to ask and teaches you how to ask effectively and in ways that feel comfortable to you as a woman. Babcock and Laschever use a variety of compelling stories from real women to help you recognize how much more you deserve—whether it’s a raise, an overdue promotion, an exciting new assignment, or even extra help around the house. They walk through a four-phase program, backed by years of research, that shows you how to identify what you’re really worth, maximize your bargaining power, develop the best strategy for your situation, and manage the reactions and emotions that may arise. 

It’s a very easy and eye opening read that will help you both personally and professionally. Starting with the premise that everything is negotiable, you’ll find that this book prompts you to rethink how you handled “asks” in the past and will stir up the courage in you to see the negotiable opportunities when they arise and seize them instead of avoiding them.


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