Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2/18/20 - Janice Kaplan explores the powerful forces that have rigged the system—and celebrates the women geniuses past and present who have triumphed anyway—in her fascinating and timely new book, THE GENIUS OF WOMEN: From Overlooked to Changing the World

LISTEN to today's conversation with journalist and
New York Times bestselling author 
Janice Kaplan.

We tell girls that they can be anything, so why do 90 percent of Americans believe that geniuses are almost always men? When asked to name a genius, people mention Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs. As for great women? In one survey, the only female genius anyone listed was Marie Curie. Journalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Gratitude Diaries, Janice Kaplan explores the powerful forces that have rigged the system—and celebrates the women geniuses past and present who have triumphed anyway—in her fascinating and timely new book, THE GENIUS OF WOMEN: From Overlooked to Changing the World.

We define genius almost exclusively through male achievement. Janice Kaplan set out to determine why the extraordinary work of so many women has been brushed aside. She realizes early on that genius is not just about possessing spectacular talent—it is about having that talent recognized. Blending memoir with one-on-one interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and dozens of women geniuses at work in the world today, she highlights how women are fighting to have their genius recognized, nurtured, and celebrated—and how society needs to shift to make that possible.

Kaplan reveals unexpected, paradigm shifting findings in THE GENIUS OF WOMEN, including:

· A new perspective on power: Defining genius as a combination of extraordinary talent and celebrity, Kaplan shows how women have often had only one half of the equation, and she explains the unconscious biases that keep their talents from being recognized.

· The traits that women geniuses share: Kaplan explores the qualities that allow some women to overcome obstacles and thrive no matter how challenging the circumstance. She shows how resisting stereotypes and labels, and facing the world in a positive way, can help all of us reach our potential.

· How we can help girls find their own genius: The messages girls receive from popular culture often contradict the Girl Power t-shirts they wear. Kaplan explores research showing how girls as young as six think that only boys can be geniuses—and she looks at the struggles women at all ages have over beauty and genius.

· Why women geniuses aren’t what you expect: Many of the women Kaplan interviewed were married with young children, and she shows how having a multi-faceted life contributes to genius, rather than detracting from it.

Some of the amazing women she talks to who are changing the world right now:

· Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe

· Jo Dunkley, astrophysicist at Princeton

· Tina Landau, Broadway director

· Shirley Tilghman, molecular biologist and former President of Princeton

· Frances Arnold, chemical engineer and Nobel Laureate

· Lise Eliot, neuroscientist who studies female and male brains

· Fei-Fei Li, global expert on AI and professor at Stanford

· Meg Urry, NASA scientist and physicist at Yale University

· Cynthia Breazeal, roboticist at MIT Media Lab

Some of the geniuses from history:

· Maria Anna Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sister. She was also brilliant musician, but her talent was never nurtured because it considered improper for a woman to perform in public. Instead, she was sent off to get married.

· Lise Meitner, physicist who discovered nuclear fission in the 1930s. The Nobel Prize went to her male lab partner since nobody believed that a woman would be capable of making such a huge discovery.

· Émilie du Châtelet, mathematician and philosopher who was one of the most respected thinkers of the 16th century. Anyone studying science at the time learned it from her books, but now she is remembered mostly in relation to a man—since she was Voltaire’s lover.

Across the generations, even when they face less-than-perfect circumstances, women geniuses have created brilliant and original work. Kaplan’s rousing examination of female genius will provoke, delight, anger, and inspire in equal measure, leaving readers hungry for change and ready to fight for it.

About the Author

Janice Kaplan has enjoyed wide success as a magazine editor, television producer, writer, and journalist. The former editor in chief of Parade magazine, she is the author or coauthor of fourteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Gratitude Diaries and I'll See You Again. She lives in New York City and Kent, Connecticut.

JaniceKaplan.com | Twitter: @JaniceKaplan2 | Instagram: janice.kaplan

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