The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are

By: Jenn Cover 

Date: July 5, 2022


If professional development books are part of your life then, like me, you’re the type of person who is eager to self-examine and improve to be the best you can in both your personal and professional life. At the heart of this book is the question: at what point should we also examine the constructs within which we’re operating so that we don’t end up sacrifice important parts of ourselves and the person we ultimately desire to be.  The research, interviews, and practical solutions in this book are powerful and ultimately work to remind us that there are many ways to be a great leader and sometimes we have to shape our environment to allow for that as much as we shape the person we are within that environment.

Author: Alicia Menendez


About the book:

Be nice, but not too nice. Be successful, but not too successful. Just be likeable. Whatever that means?

Women are stuck in an impossible bind. At work, strong women are criticized for being cold, and warm women are seen as pushovers. An award-winning journalist examines this fundamental paradox and empowers readers to let go of old rules and reimagine leadership rather than reinventing themselves.

Consider that even competent women must appear likeable to successfully negotiate a salary, ask for a promotion, or take credit for a job well done—and that studies show these actions usually make them less likeable. And this minefield is doubly loaded when likeability intersects with race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and parental status.

Relying on extensive research and interviews, and carefully examined personal experience, The Likeability Trap delivers an essential examination of the pressure put on women to be amiable at work, home, and in the public sphere, and explores the price women pay for internalizing those demands. Rather than advising readers to make themselves likeable, Menendez empowers them to examine how they perceive themselves and others and explores how the concept of likeability is riddled with cultural biases. Our demands for likeability, she argues, hinder everyone’s progress and power.

Inspiring, thoughtful and often funny, The Likeability Trap proposes surprising, practical solutions for confronting the cultural patterns holding us back, encourages us to value unique talents and styles instead of muting them, and to remember that while likeability is part of the game, it will not break you.