Howard Ross has pursued the cause of social justice throughout his adult life and his resulting work in that area has taken many forms. He is a respected consultant and an author with now four books to his credit. The latest is Every Day Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives. This is the second edition of a book first written in 2014 and Ross expands the original text to examine a number of pivotal social events occurring since then and furthering illustrating critical points in this book. This never constitutes a dramatic expansion of the book’s initial length as Ross has the necessary skills to survey these events succinctly while still peeling back their surface.
There are no colorful illustrations or graphics adorning the pages of Everyday Bias. The book, instead, relies on Ross’ unfettered prose style, free from affectation, and it helps make the text a relaxed reading experience. He brings a personal touch, as well, to his observations that contrast nicely with the loose academic air pervading the book. Ross isn’t an educator in the traditional sense of the word, but he has a teacher’s spirit that tackles an issue with a spirit of inquiry rather than accusation. He doesn’t seek to shame readers for their failures; instead, Ross openly admits to sharing similar peccadilloes rather than holding himself up as a false example for exemplary behavior.
The book unfolds in a coherent way. There is, as well, no meandering and Ross maintains resolute focus in each chapter eschewing any potential side trips or digressions. It is clear that writing three books honed Ross’ powers as a writer to a sharp edge, but his command of details is even more impressive. He frames them in such a way that the book holds your attention from beginning to end and the condensed nature of each chapter, moreover, allow you to pick your spots in the book. It is best, however, to make their first reading cover to cover so they can absorb the full impact of the work.
The research material he selects for the book has abiding relevance. This springs from, in part, Ross’ clear conception of the book’s goals and his on point execution of those aims. Ross never views society and its woes with a jaundiced eye, but his observations are exacting and many readers will find unerring. Anyone seeking greater self-awareness to be more of a service to their fellow human can gain something from reading this book. Let’s hope it enjoys a wide audience. Ross is a forward thinker on this issue with his feet tethered to earth and he knows it will take commitment and hard work for the human race to undo their penchant for making unconscious judgments. The very existence of a book such as Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives is, if nothing else, an expression of hope and we need that to hang on to in these uncertain and polarizing times.