The Genius of Women: From Overlooked to Changing the World

Dutton. Feb. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781524744212. $27. SOC SCI
Featuring interviews with many of the most innovative women in the world today, from academia and business to technology and the arts, this book cannot help but be inspiring. Physicist Carla Molteni, artificial intelligence expert Fei-Fei Li, and theater director Tina Landau are just a few of the “geniuses” that journalist Kaplan (The Gratitude Diaries) introduces in her quest to understand how intelligence and talent are nurtured and celebrated in women. Throughout, she seeks to identify the structures that affect women’s opportunities and society’s perceptions of them. All of the stories are a delight to read. The author’s contributions are engaging, though the book sometimes fails to fully explore the intersections of race, culture, sexuality, and other identities that make it more difficult for some women to succeed than others. The group of women included in the book is diverse, but the author’s analysis occasionally feels narrow and ignores the many layers of the subjects’ lives and communities.
VERDICT While an imperfect presentation, the book is an easy read and the extent of the author’s research makes this book a worthwhile addition to the growing literature offering long overdue profiles of the world’s most brilliant women.

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