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Publisher's Summary

Be nice, but not too nice. Be successful, but not too successful. Just be likeable. Whatever that means?

Women are stuck in an impossible bind. At work, strong women are criticized for being cold, and warm women are seen as pushovers. An award-winning journalist examines this fundamental paradox and empowers listeners to let go of old rules and reimagine leadership rather than reinventing themselves.

Consider that even competent women must appear likeable to successfully negotiate a salary, ask for a promotion, or take credit for a job well done - and that studies show these actions usually make them less likeable. And this minefield is doubly loaded when likeability intersects with race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and parental status.

Relying on extensive research and interviews, and carefully examined personal experience, The Likeability Trap delivers an essential examination of the pressure put on women to be amiable at work, home, and in the public sphere, and explores the price women pay for internalizing those demands. Rather than advising listeners to make themselves likeable, Menendez empowers them to examine how they perceive themselves and others and explores how the concept of likeability is riddled with cultural biases. Our demands for likeability, she argues, hinder everyone’s progress and power.

Inspiring, thoughtful, and often funny, The Likeability Trap proposes surprising, practical solutions for confronting the cultural patterns holding us back, encourages us to value unique talents and styles instead of muting them, and to remember that while likeability is part of the game, it will not break you.

©2019 Alicia Menendez (P)2019 HarperAudio

Featured Article: The Best Self-Development Listens for Women


The best self-help audiobooks for women zero in on universal themes nearly every woman grapples with in her daily life. From body image issues and impossible beauty standards to the expectation that a woman should always be nice, women confront many forces that leave them fractured and hurt. In these listens, experts on self-help for women offer a healing balm to that pain with suggestions on including self-love and acceptance in daily life.

What listeners say about The Likeability Trap

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Not for me

I’ll preface this by stating that I’m a woman of color. So I’m used to walking into any situation aware that most people won’t like me. I was interested in this book because I was expecting to get more tools but instead it was more explaining what the Likeability trap is. The book seems more for an audience of white males or females to teach them what it is vs how to help women get past this trap. I thought the performance of the audiobook was good but I didn’t receive any new information to help me grow which is what I was looking for in this book.

22 people found this helpful

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Ask the question Compared to Who?

It's a collection of stories of discrimination against women, both overt and subtle. I suggest starting with Chapter 10, actions that can be taken by organizations and individuals to reduce discrimination. It helps reveal the bias we all have against women because of expectations that women be helpful and supportive (not driven and successful). A good advice from the book is instead of saying "the person is not a good fit" (which really means the person is not like me), focus on the results that she had achieved and the value she can bring to the organization/job/project. And for anyone (not just women) who had received subjective criticism like "too demanding" or "too emotional," ask the questions "compared to who" and "how has that impacted my results?" Too often, a behavior is given a pejorative label like "aggressive" for a woman, while that exact same behavior is admired in men and labeled "ambitious" and "determined."

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Must Read

Learned so much about my own biases. Must read for women and anyone who manages women. I know this goes against the point of the book, but Alicia is just so likeable! There was one situation she was describing and I started to wonder who had sent her information about me.

1 person found this helpful

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Everyone needs to read this book!

I loved this book!! I really learned a great deal about the many challenges women face in navigating professional spaces and gained many new insights in how to talk about them. As a cis-gendered Black male, so much of the book resonated with my own experiences desperately wanting to be liked and watching my wife climb the rungs of corporate America to reach the top. "Tyranny of the shoulds" is now an active part of my lexicon as well as many other insights! I came away with many tangible action items that I will implement going forward to support women and other marginalized groups in my work. Alicia is a skillful writer and a great narrator, neither of which is an easy feat, but she handles both exceptionally well with ease and aplomb. Truly a joy to read/listen and hope to read more in the future!

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Redundant and lacking

I had higher hopes for more insight on this topic, but the book felt flat, redundant and lacking a greater impact of meaning content.

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awesome book for women at any level of your career

amazing story with a variety of great examples. thank you for this work so helpful

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A must read for men (& women)

Alicia has very aptly highlighted one of the key issues facing women today both professionally and generally in many societies. This book is succinct, serious yet balanced with the right amount of optimism, and as white male listening to it, I found the subject completely relevant and helpful.

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Insight into the psyche of the professional woman

Easy to listen to, relevant and thought provoking. Definitely caused me to self assess as I listened. Would recommend.

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Worthy reading

Some might think that this is a book that woman should read. While that is true I think many men should read this as well. Especially us white men of privilege as we are often those that create, set, and sustain the trap itself. The timing of this is perfect.

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audible tries to trap you into liking books

audible, stop cluttering my library with books I did not ask for or at least let me delete them.