The Confidence Code Book Summary By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

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The Confidence Code is written for women around the world, providing them with insight and advice about regaining their confidence.

This book takes a deep dive into the issues surrounding lack of confidence and the different impacts it can have on our lives.

It discusses how women often feel less confident than men, in different aspects ranging from the business world to other areas of life.

Moreover, it provides solutions on how to increase your confidence levels by offering clear steps that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Overall, this book seeks to answer questions about lack of confidence that many women may be too embarrassed or afraid to ask.

"The Confidence Code" offers an honest look at the issue and outlines a roadmap full of solutions.

The Confidence Code Book

Book Name: The Confidence Code (The Science and Art of Self-Assurance: What Women Should Know)

Author(s): Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Career & Success

Author Bio

Katherine Kay and Claire Shipman are two highly-respected journalists who co-authored the acclaimed book The Confidence Code.

Kay is a long-time journalist and anchor for BBC World News America in Washington, DC, while Shipman is an experienced correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America.

The duo is well-known for their work as partners when it comes to writing about complex topics.

Not only did they collaborate on The Confidence Code, but also on Womenomics which explores the often convoluted experiences of women striving for success in professional life.

The Confidence Code: How Women Can Realize Their True Potential By Building Self-Confidence


It’s a common belief that women, compared to men, are less confident.

But as authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay explain in The Confidence Code, this is actually something woman can change.

They demonstrate step by step how women can build their confidence through understanding its sources: genetics, environment and personal experiences.

Particularly relevant for those working in male-dominated environments – where low confidence has the biggest effect – The Confidence Code shows why lack of confidence may have hindered you from achieving the promotion you wanted or held you back from taking the math test you studied so hard for.

It will also help you understand why uncertainty is such a problem that disproportionately affects women, and how facing hurdles and learning from failure is actually essential to developing confidence.

With The Confidence Code’s valuable guidance, you can find out why women are less confident than men, how that impacts us, and what steps we can take develop assurance in ourselves and overcome any obstacles standing in our way.

Why Low Confidence Levels Hold Women Back: How Optimism Can Help Us Take Action And Boost Our Self-Belief

When it comes to taking action, confidence is the bridge that connects our thoughts to our actions.

Without it, we can become scared and hesitant to take risks – something that’s unfortunately complexified by gender roles.

In one experiment by professor Zach Estes, he had students solve some difficult puzzle tests.

At first, it appeared that the male students did better than the female students, but on closer inspection, many of the women had left a lot of the questions unanswered.

He asked them to retake it with a caveat; they must answer every question this time.

The result? The same level of performance from everyone.

The issue was that the women lacked confidence in their abilities to produce correct answers which inhibited their action-taking.

But, optimism could’ve been another factor as ensuring an encouraging mindset will almost always lead towards taking risk and exercising confidence.

Confidence is truly indispensable when wanting to achieve goals in life and often our levels vary depending on factors like gender.

That said, if we remain optimistic about our capabilities, then eventually we’ll be able to find a sustainable level of confidence in ourselves and begin transforming thought into action more often.

The Difference Between Men And Women When It Comes To Showing Confidence In The Workplace

When it comes to confidence, it’s no surprise that men and women often display it differently.

In the workplace, for instance, we find that a more aggressive form of confidence is expected from male colleagues; they are quicker and more confident in expressing their opinions.

At the same time, however, there’s a lack of recognition for traits usually associated with women, such as collaboration and being humble.

These positive qualities should be celebrated and recognized just as much!

Women don’t have to act like their male colleagues in order to demonstrate strength and confidence.

Rather than masking our true feelings with a tough exterior, we can trust ourselves and our abilities by standing firmly behind our opinions and having meaningful discussions with like-minded people.

We can also be actively listening while staying firmly rooted in our own point of view – true displays of strength instead of fake ones.

Ultimately, the Confidence Code book illuminates what we already know: that women’s confidence can be different to men’s, yet still powerful and impactful on those around us in the workplace.

Without Confidence We Can’T Succeed In A Man’S World: How Women Are Held Back By Low Self-Esteem At Work


Women’s lack of confidence can have a very detrimental effect on their professional lives and careers.

This is especially true in the business world, where workers must present themselves confidently and be able to negotiate for things such as salary bumps.

Studies have found that on average, men are much more likely than women to negotiate their salaries.

Even when women do attempt to negotiate, they often expect a wage increase that is 30 percent lower than what men usually receive.

Women often find themselves in rooms with more male colleagues and consequently, have difficulties asserting themselves or presenting bold ideas.

This can lead them losing out on job opportunities such as promotions or bonuses that would have otherwise been easily within reach.

Confidence is one of those intangible skills that significantly matters in the competitive business world.

Without it, women are less likely to speak up or put themselves out there and therefore become invisible, unable to make use of their skills and talents which could help them advance in their careers.

How Can We Increase Our Self-Confidence And Change Our Outlook?

It’s often overlooked how important confidence is.

Even if you are totally competent at your job, having a lack of self-confidence can still stop you from making progress.

This is something Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and one of the most influential women in the world, admits to—even now she still has moments of insecurity.

Low confidence can prevent us from aiming and striving for our goals, as we assume that it won’t be possible to reach them.

An example of this is psychologist David Dunning’s experiment conducted with students, which showed that female students had far less confidence than male students when rating their own ability and achievements.

Even when presented with an opportunity to participate in a contest, almost twice as many the male students signed up than female students!

From this we can see that it’s vitally important to practice self-confidence in order to make sure you take advantage of opportunities and make progress in your career.

Confidence should not be separated from competence—being confident is just as crucial for getting the job done right.

The Strength Of Our Genetic Makeup: How Nurture Might Not Be Enough To Overcome Nature

It is becoming increasingly clear that, like other aspects of our character, confidence is partially predetermined by our genes.

For example, research with monkeys has shown that some that are born with the long version of the serotonin-regulating gene produce more serotonin and are less anxious than those born with the short version of the gene – this translates into human behavior as increased levels of confidence.

Additionally, it appears that sometimes even our environment cannot affect this pre-determined trait.

In the study mentioned above, babies born with the shorter serotonin gene were raised by unsupportive mothers – yet those who had the longer gene still developed into confident adults despite this upbringing.

Overall, these findings indicate up to 50 percent of our confidence may be determined by our genes prior to any external influences being taken into account.

How Nature And Nurture Influences Confidence In Women

Nurture Influences

Confidence is not something that only comes from our genes, but it can also be attributed to our environment.

Studies have shown that life experiencesas well as upbringing can actually physically alter our genes and cause them to function differently.

Take for example a monkey study, which found that if a monkey with genes indicating low confidence was raised by a caring mother, the monkey would be much more confident than one born with “confident” genes.

Similarly, with girls, their environment contributes to the expectations of them being diligent and obedient in order to earn praise.

This may be the reason why society perceives girls to be less risk-takers and often reluctant to express themselves confidently.

Additionally, studies show that women who take an active role are disliked by both genders, which further reinforces the gender double standards that still exist today.

Thus overall, nature and nurture both play a role in forming our personalities and how confident we may be prevailing social obstacles despite genetics or upbringing issues.

Breaking The Cycle: How To Boost Confidence Through Brain Plasticity

It is possible for us to become confident, even if we aren’t naturally predisposed to it.

Our brains have the amazing ability of plasticity, meaning that our thought patterns can cause physical changes in our brains.

Studies have proven that it is possible to alter one’s fear-centre in the brain by consciously choosing more rational and positive thought patterns.

For example, people who were previously afraid of spiders were able to make contact with a live tarantula after two hours of behavioral therapy On top of this, their brain scans showed no activity in the fear-centre of their brain 6 months later!

This result indicates that they had changed their previous thought patterns related to spiders into more positive ones.

In order to become more confident even if it isn’t innate, we must be conscious and intentional when choosing our thoughts.

For instance, instead of beating ourselves up over not being able to perform all tasks perfectly, try telling yourself how great you are at multi-tasking — shifting your thinking in a more positive way can help increase your self confidence levels significantly.

Overall, although it definitely takes time and effort to break down negative automatic thoughts and replace them with positive ones; developing greater confidence can be easier than anticipated if we utilize these techniques and focus on creating alternative thought patterns.

Embrace Failure To Build Confidence And Achieve Your Goals

Build Confidence

Failing is often seen as a negative thing, but it can actually be a great way to build up your confidence.

It’s important to understand that failure doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily a complete failure; rather, it’s an opportunity to better yourself.

One example provided in The Confidence Code book is submitting your paper to a contest, even if you’re unsure of how good it is.

Doing this again and again will give you the confidence to know that if one paper isn’t chosen, there will always be another chance.

You learn from failing and this helps you get better at what you’re doing and ultimately build up your confidence.

For instance, if you fail at a math exam don’t give up on math entirely.

Keep trying until you achieve the results you want; keep persevering!

By taking action and understanding that failure is not life-threatening we gain the confidence we need for success.

Confidence comes from failing and handling it in a constructive way – something everyone can do as long as they keep pushing through it!

Wrap Up

In her bestselling book, The Confidence Code, author Katty Kay highlights the importance of confidence in the workplace – especially for women.

She explains that our gender often predisposes us to have lower confidence and therefore leaves us at a disadvantage in professional settings.

But while this is true, she also emphasizes that it doesn’t have to be a hindrance if we choose to make it so.

Through actionable advice such as taking an honest look at our abilities and self-worth, and thinking less about what others may say and doing more when we need to speak up regardless of fear or criticism, Kay offers ways for us to cultivate real confidence and use it to take charge of our careers.

Ultimately, The Confidence Code proves that with enough dedication and practice, we can all reach our highest potentials by believing in ourselves and being willing to step outside our comfort zones!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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