Want to learn about diversity and inclusion? 10 books to read…

Last week I was having a big old think. Do some of us only become engaged with inequalities that affect us as individuals? I was more than a little nervous suggesting this. But I got some interesting responses and BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. Something which always makes me happy. So, without further waffle, here are the 10 books recommended by a bunch of clever folks. Have a read. Or better yet, start your own learning and development library – a small step to make your own workforce more inclusive.

A Dozen Brilliant Reasons to Employ Disabled People: Why successful businesses see inclusion as an asset rather than a problem by Jane Hatton.

If you have ever wanted to understand (or help others understand) the business case for employing disabled people, this is the definitive book for you. Using evidence from a wide range of research, case studies and personal experience, every aspect of the workplace is examined in relation to inclusivity, providing a compelling business case relevant to every sector. “In all our UK internal training on accessibility, it is first on the recommended reading list.” Michael Vermeersch, Digital Inclusion Lead, Microsoft.

What the **** is Normal?! by Francesca Martinez.

If you grow up in a world where wrinkles are practically illegal, going bald is cause for a mental breakdown, and women over size zero are encouraged to shoot themselves (immediately), what the hell do you do if you’re, gasp … DISABLED?
Whatever body you’re born into, the pressure to be normal is everywhere. But have you ever met a normal person? What do they look like? Where do they live? What do they eat for breakfast?
And what the **** does normal mean anyway?
This is the award-winning wobbly comedian Francesca Martinez’s funny, personal, and universal story of how she learned to stick two shaky fingers up to the crazy expectations of a world obsessed with being ‘normal’.

Secrets & Big News: Enabling people to be themselves at work by Kate Nash OBE

Secrets & Big News is an engaging read about the subject of ‘declaration’ and ‘disclosure’ of disability in the workplace. Based on a two-year research project, the book details the reasons why people find it hard to share information and offers ideas for both employers and employees alike. 55 employers took part in the study and together they reached just over 2,500 of their employees who offered their views about what makes it hard to share personal information, as well as what makes it easier. The book is triggering a wave of new conversations between valuable employees and UK and global businesses. The book is not about medicine, politics or disability rights: it’s about what it means to be human and how employers can retain their talented people through periods of ill health and disability.

Why are You Pretending to be Normal? by Phil Friend and Dave Rees.

Do you want to manage your disability positively? Feeling frustrated that people do not understand your needs?

If you have a disability, then you should listen to this audiobook. Why Are You Pretending to Be Normal? asks the questions that anyone with a disability needs to ask themselves.

This engaging story offers viewpoints and ideas that have already inspired many disabled people to stop simply coping with their disability and start managing it. This enables them to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.  Phil Friend and Dave Rees present practical tools and techniques that have helped so many people to successfully tackle some of the most challenging aspects of their disabilities.

The Politics of Disablement by Michael Oliver

Dominant views of disability as an individual and medical problems have been vigorously challenged by disabled people in recent years. This book, by an author who is himself disabled, looks at the individualised and medicalised views of disability, describes the way they have been produced in capitalist society, and analyses the possibilities for change. Essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the true nature of disability, especially as disability comes to occupy a prominent place on the political agenda.

Pride Against Prejudice: Transforming Attitudes to Disability: A Personal Politics of Disability by Jenny Morris.

“Disabled people throughout the world are increasingly naming and confronting the prejudice which we daily experience, expressing our anger at the discrimination we face, and insisting that our lives have value. This book has grown out of the struggles through which, over the last decade or so, disabled people, and particularly disabled women, have asserted our reality. It is an attempt to analyse the nature of the prejudice we experience and to articulate the growing strength of our pride in ourselves. It has also been within the last decade that I myself developed an identity as a disabled woman, an identity which has been a source of much anger at the prejudice and discrimination that I and other disabled people face. But it is also an identity which has been an increasing source of strength and liberation.” Jenny Morris

The Inclusion Imperative: How Real Inclusion Creates Better Business and Builds Better Societies by Stephen Frost

The Inclusion Imperative showcases the inspiring commitment to inclusion the London Olympic and Paralympic Games’ organizing committee espoused and details the techniques and frameworks that enabled it to truly deliver a ‘Games for everyone’ at London 2012. Diversity and inclusion expert, Stephen Frost, challenges preconceived ideas and strives to inspire professionals to tackle inclusion in their organizations with courage, creativity and talent. With highly relatable examples, The Inclusion Imperative constitutes the best argument to convince sceptics that real diversity and inclusion can deliver more engaged employees and customers, improved employee recruitment and retention, increase productivity and better group decision-making processes.

Real inclusion saves money and improves efficiency in the systems of an organisation, making the world a better place as a by-product.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: The Sunday Times Bestseller by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.

A revelation … Undoubtedly essential (Spectator)

This is a book that was begging to be written. This is the kind of book that demands a future where we’ll no longer need such a book. Essential (Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-Winner 2015)

Set to blow apart the understanding of race relations in this country (Stylist)

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone is the most influential and talked-about book on society in the last decade – now updated with a new chapter on the controversy the book has ignited.

Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Australians? The answer: inequality. This ground breaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show: How almost everything – from life expectancy to mental illness, violence to illiteracy – is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is. That societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone in them – including the well-off. How we can find positive solutions and move towards a happier, fairer future.

Demystifying Diversity: A Handbook to Navigate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion by Jiten Patel and Gamiel Yafai.

This engaging and comprehensive tour of the world of diversity in the workplace is authoritative, yet witty and well told. Demystifying Diversity is an important book – a vital navigational tool for anyone getting to grips with the importance of diversity across the spectrum of today’s society.

This book is aimed at anyone with responsibility in company management as well as business professionals and HR practitioners.

 

I’d love to hear about any other recommendations people have. To connect and keep in touch click here.

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