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The XX Factor: How Working Women are Creating a New Society Paperback – 25 Apr 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668403X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846684036
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

An exhilarating piece of analysis that explains once and for all why educated women have done so well and why they have become a class apart. Just when you thought you never wanted to read another word on working woman, here comes Alison Wolf (Lucy Kellaway)

Alison Wolf's skill is to use facts where others have only opinions. The results will infuriate and stimulate almost every reader (John Kay)

Powerful, brilliantly argued, provocative and original - an outstanding book from a compelling thinker (Tim Harford, author of THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST and ADAPT)

Wolf has written an exhaustive, intelligent, thoughtful and at times provocative and idiosyncratic analysis of what it is to be an elite woman. By laying out the choices that women are faced with and the consequences of their actions, Wolf is ensuring that we do not have to walk blindfold into the future. (The Financial Times)

A crucial bible for anyone wanting to check up on anything about contemporary woman. (Observer)

Full of such factual richness... The XX Factor is a feast of data. (The Sunday Times)

Alison Wolf has made a brilliant, lucid, and original contribution to the debate about women and the modern economy. If you care about women, work and families in the world today, you must read this passionate, fact-filled book. (Chrystia Freeland, author of Plutocrats)

Just when you thought you never wanted to read another word on working woman, here comes Alison Wolf sweeping away the sloppy prejudices and dreary whining, presenting us with some bracing facts. The XX Factor is an exhilarating piece of analysis that explains once and for all why educated women have done so well (though will never be 50:50 in the boardroom) and why they have become a class apart to the other four fifths. Cheering and sobering by turns, it puts to shame almost every other book that has been written on this subject (Lucy Kellaway)

Highly readable and informative (Paul Seabright Times Literary Supplement 2013-06-28)

The book is fascinating and there is plenty of food for thought within it (Henrietta Royle Management Today 2013-06-01)

Engagingly written ... has a light touch and is full of personal anecdotes, but it is also well footnoted, with a scholar's careful attention to sources (Sylvia Walby Times Higher Education Supplement 2013-06-27)

An exhaustive, provocative analysis (Lynda Gratton, London Business School Financial Times Summer Reading 2013-06-29)

With the XX Factor Wolf accomplishes a rare feat: she combines real breadth with real depth. No matter how much you think you know about this hotly debated subject, and whether or not you agree with every one of Wolf's ideas, you will come away from her book with new information - some merely amusing, but some foundation-shaking (New York Times Book Review 2013-10-18)

Book Description

The reality of female professional success in today's world - a challenge to long-held assumptions about female achievement and sexual inequality.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By gerryg VINE VOICE on 8 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heard Professor Wolf on Radio 4 recently to the effect that once various obvious factors are accounted for, inequality has been largely eliminated and that contrary to received wisdom, Scandinavia provides no shining example. Her views were not well received as I recall. And so I read this and I'm pleased that I did.

In so many ways it's a counterpart to The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes in that it carefully demonstrates that today, the real sources of inequality are class and opportunity rather than whether one is male or female. Apparently it's as true in other countries as it is in the UK.

She lucidly and elegantly evidences that if one is poor then one is beyond highly likely (~90%) to be working in a stereotypical occupation. For professional occupations, with the exception of engineering, there is no such tendency.

The book does raise other seemingly unintended consequences of choice and opportunity for the professional classes including that they're not reproducing in sufficient quantities.

Two chapter titles worth quoting for controversy value if nothing else:

Goodbye to all that: the fracturing of sisterhood
The return of the servant classes

Whether or not it accords to your world view it's a great read dealing with bigger issues than the need for more women on bank notes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miki on 9 Aug. 2013
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This book is a racy read about how education has benefitted some middle class women. It is too smug and self congratulatory and not critical of inequality
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Jordan on 14 May 2013
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Wolf has an interesting and well argued thesis: the world has changed and for the top quintile of the population men and women lead similar lives. They go to the sane schools do the same jobs, work the same amounts, mate with the people from the same background and invest heavily in a small number of children born relatively late in life. They are also rich enough to hire servants drawn from the other 80 per cent of the population - female servants.

This is backed up with some heavy duty research - there are a lot of notes here - and it is both persuasive and surprising. We think life is not like this, says Wolf - because we read about the super rich for whom life is different again for women: more children younger and a life of administering the family properties. In this area there seems to be some elision in Wolf's thinking. She talks a good deal about family dynasties in politics in India and Pakistan and so and in big business of all kinds including Playboy. This presumably is not top quintile material - but is super rich. And in the historical sections, we hear about charity work, but also about running houses of ill repute and so in. Here too a clearer sense of who did what and why would be welcome.

Nonetheless I would recommend it strongly - not least for its explanation of the scruffy dress of academics. Apparently there's no need for display through clothes when your publications can do the job for you...
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