I’m off to the city for a panel in recognition of International Women’s Day. Given the theme, I’d like to point readers to a recent piece from The Guardian asking ‘Where are the books by women with big ideas?‘
Books like Freakonomics, defining significant cultural or economic trends with a punchy title, never seem to be produced by women. But why?
As you can imagine, I have much to say on the topic coming soon, but am first interested in your reaction to the article. Here’s an excerpt to get us started:
Julia Cheiffetz, blogging at publishing website HarperStudio, dubs the genre “big think” books – making serious non-fiction subjects accessible and popular. “The point is, all of them promise access to a club whose sole activity is the exchange of ideas; all of them promise, however covertly, to make us feel smarter. And all of them are written by men,” she writes, also singling out The World is Flat by Thomas L Friedman, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
“It is hard to know whether women are better at telling stories than propagating ideas (I’m thinking of Susan Orlean, Mary Roach, Karen Abbott), or whether the intellectual audacity required to sell our hypotheses about the world simply isn’t in our genetic makeup.”
Genetic make-up, eh? I’m not convinced.
So where are the women with BIG ideas? Before I dissect this one, let’s hear from readers…