The Way of the Superior Man
by David Deida
ISBN: 978-1-59179-257-4, Publisher: Sounds True Inc , 2004
Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*
Obviously, I am not the ideal target audience for this book.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I found it a confronting and difficult read. That said; it did seem to explain some of the unfortunate dynamics that I have witnessed between men and women in the boardroom.
Deida starts from the contention that men and women are vastly different. This shouldn't be a difficult idea to defend. However, when descriptions of the feminine character seem to include notions of mindless vacillation it is hard for a woman who has earned a place in the higher echelons of business to sympathise with his point of view. Quotes such as "for the feminine, truth is a thin concept compared to the thickness of her flow of feelings" and "What your woman says is like a cloud passing in the sky; well formed, coherent, and unrecognizable moments later" raised feminist hackles I never knew I had.
Putting aside my automatic response to the evolutionary behaviouralism: The book is well written and thought provoking. The short chapters make it an excellent travelling companion and the introductory paragraphs before each chapter allow rapid assimilation of ideas. The book should comfort men who are uneasy with their role as masculine beings in workplaces replete with tough, dependable women. The advice to enjoy the delightful feeling that attractive women provoke in most men, but not to act upon any sexual impulse arising from it, would save plenty of employers the cost and distraction of harassment cases.
There is some good advice in this book. Recognising masculine and feminine traits, then selecting the most appropriate for each situation, may enable readers to be more effective in the modern workplace. Women readers will need to take a deep breath and remind themselves that Deida is talking about the superior man as compared to the inferior man and not as compared to women (whether superior or otherwise). Male readers will need to remember that, in a workplace where technical skills, contractual agreements and the supremacy of logic are the basis for success, they will be surrounded by women who act more like men and who expect to be accorded a masculine measure of respect.
Unlike Henry Higgins, Deida understands that for men and women to be more like each other is not always the best basis for exciting relationships, it may, however, be a good basis for trans-gender workplace friendships.
Now for the big question: Does this book help with exciting relationships outside the workplace? I'm not telling; you'll have to read it yourself!
* Julie Garland McLellan is a governance and board consultant. She is a professional non-executive director and an AICD NSW Councillor. She is the author of "All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector" and is currently working on her second book "All Above Board: Great Governance of Strategy and Risk".
Julie Garland McLellan to judge 2011 Global eBook Awards