12 Thought-Provoking Reads on Diversity and Inclusion

This month we’ve assembled a list of books you can use to help champion diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Ranging from topics such as making the business case for D&I, to tackling unconscious bias, to identifying and examining invisible lines of division, these books will empower you with tools you’ll need to drive change.

Inclusive Conversations by Mary-Frances Winters

Mary-Frances Winters pulls on her years of experience as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant in writing this practical guide to having inclusive conversations in the workplace. Published in 2020, the book was written against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, #BlackLivesMatter, and #MeToo, and uses them to underscore the importance of having fruitful conversations now. The book offers both practical tips and a glossary of terms, making it appropriate for both people who have traditionally held positions of power and those who have historically been marginalised.

Demystifying Diversity by Jiten Patel & Gamiel Yafai

Demystifying Diversity is a primer for anyone who has been saying the words ‘diversity and inclusion’ without really knowing what they mean. The book uses everyday language to provide background and teach the theory, and then provides real world examples to bring the lessons to life. The forewords by Paul Sesay, Founder of the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers, and Peter Horrocks CBE, former Director of BBC World Service, speak to the value of the work.

Sway: Unravelling Unconscious by Pragya Agarwal

Jane Garvey, presenter, BBC Radio 4, commented, “If you think you don't need to read this book, you really need to read this book.” Agarwal uses her behavioural and data science background to pull together a thoroughly researched look into how unconscious bias impacts every facet of our lives – from our careers, to our dating choices, and even down to how we save for retirement. Sway will open your eyes to your own biases, in a scientific and non-judgemental away, so that you can identify and address them.

Diversify by June Sarpong MBE

Diversify takes a broad look at society’s marginalised groups, from ethnic minorities to women to people living with disabilities and to the LGBTQ+ community, to uncover the real cost of exclusion to society. The book asks readers to view the world through the “other” lens, offering practical tools for how we can improve our understanding and connection. By putting hard numbers to the case for inclusion, Sarpong makes it impossible to ignore the need for change.

Biased by Dr Jennifer Eberhardt

What if we stopped viewing unconscious bias as a sin, but instead as a universal condition which must be overcome? This is the question Dr Eberhardt tackles in Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudices that Shape Our Lives. The book weaves together historical facts and hard data, teaching us all not only how important it is to talk about race, but also how to do so without fear. 

How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive by Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown’s latest book talks to leaders who want to build high performance teams with engaged employees. The secret is to create inclusive workspaces where employees feel valued for their individuality. Leaders can follow her simple steps to make lasting changes to their approach to managing teams.

The Good Immigrant curated by Nikesh Shukula

Twenty-one writers explore what it means to be Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic in Britain today in this award-winning collection of essays. The book explores why people come to the UK from abroad, why they stay, and what it means to be different – in both their personal lives and in the workplace. This is an excellent read for anyone interested in viewing the world through someone else’s eyes.

The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts

Forget the one-size-fits-all career advice most books preach. Minda Harts delves into the key points women of colour need to move up the career ladder. Leveraging her own experience, Hart offers straight talk about networking, office politics, and money – all aimed at helping women like herself achieve the pinnacle of corporate world success – a seat at the table.

Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work by Sue Unerman, Kathryn Jacob, Mark Edwards

Esquire Magazine named this as the most important business book of 2020. The authors examine over 200 international business cases to identify the common core problem standing in the way of diversity: the lack of involvement by men. The work speaks to how companies can bring men into the conversation early on to drive a lasting change. Stevie Spring CBE, Chairman, British Council, comments, “Written by a triumvirate of serious leadership thinkers who understand and practice the value - and values - of equality diversity and inclusion; and can evidence the tangible business benefits of Belonging from their own direct experience.”

Subtle Acts of Exclusion by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran

Overt racism is easy to identify, but what about the subtler acts of exclusion which can anger or dishearten minority ethnic employees? Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran examine the topic of microaggression in detail in this new book. Microaggression is a critical topic because of its pervasiveness, especially by people who have no idea of the accidental damage they are inflicting. Readers of this guide will find tools they can use to identify and address these subtle acts, making the workplace a better environment for everyone.

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer

It is impossible to take on the topic of diversity without recognising the role each individual culture plays. INSEAD professor Erin Meyer decodes these cultural differences, looks at how they impact international business, and offers a field-tested framework for how to account for and overcome them.

The Middle: Progressing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Talent in the Workplace Through Collaborative Action by The BBBAwards

We recently released the second edition of our report which examines the barriers and challenges that are preventing Black and Ethnic Minority individuals from progressing to the highest levels of the organisational chart. In preparing the report, we analysed qualitative insights gathered through the lived experience data of four key D&I stakeholders: Human Resource Directors, Network Leads, Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners, and Executive Sponsors. We used the insights to develop a set of guidelines for tackling a lack of diversity and two frameworks you can use within your organisation.

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