The End of Bias
A Beginning: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias
Bias is one of our thorniest obstacles to thriving at work and to having an equitable society. If we’re going to end bias, it’ll take a new tactic: Jessica Nordell has it. She tackles unconscious yet pervasive biases we may not realize we have. Her book The End of Bias is the most vital, acclaimed book about what really changes people and cultures—the New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant said her work on bias was “the single most fascinating and useful exploration of it that I’ve read. Ever.” In her profound, dynamic talks, Jessica shares stories about how unexamined bias affects us, drawing from the corporate world, health care, education, and criminal justice. She’ll teach you to learn from these stories so that you can break bad habits, build inclusive cultures, recognize patterns, cultivate more trusting relationships, and address biases without shame. Her warmth and compassion speak across differences to show you how to fight bias right where you are.
“Jessica accompanies her incredible depth of research with the kind of attention to nuance, self-examination, and genuine compassion that marks the difference between information and wisdom.”— Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing
Jessica Nordell is so committed to her mission to end bias because she sees that it stops us from living in a world where we all get to prosper. When bias undervalues women or historically marginalized groups, we all lose something from that homogeneity: a new opinion, an essential lived experience, a fresh set of eyes that can solve critical, collective problems. But since so many biases are unexamined, we may not realize they’re there. This is why well-meaning diversity and inclusion programs have inconsistent results, and why the barriers to women’s advancement in the workplace often go unnoticed. But we can do something about it. We can uncover bias—even the biases that we don’t know about it—and we can create a workplace culture and a society that is so much more equal and exciting.
Using an unforgettable blend of neuroscience and real life stories, Jessica lays out what she discovered from a decade of work on her book The End of Bias. She dives deep into the causes of bias and how we can push back against it, sharing stories about the preschool that uprooted gender stereotypes with gender-neutral language, and Johns Hopkins doctors who eliminated discrimination by putting into place a new diagnostic checklist. She shows you how to learn from these lessons and how to create a plan for changing the way you work, create, and lead. Bad habits can be hard to break, so she’ll teach you how to find out you have them and how to stamp them out. Inclusive cultures are hard to build, so she’ll teach you where you start and where you go next. Beverly Tatum, the bestselling author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, called The End of Bias a “cause for hope”, and readers have described it as “life-changing.”
Deeply engaged with connecting across differences to expand and heal the human experience, Jessica's own early-career experience with workplace bias inspired her passion for tackling discrimination and for seeing others in their full complexity and humanity. Jessica is optimistic, honest, and refreshing; she is willing to hold her own biases up to scrutiny, giving you a model for how to do that work in your own lives and in your own workplaces and communities. This is why Jennifer Szalai of the New York Times Book Review called her “a reflective and capacious thinker.” More than anything, Jessica’s warmth, relatability, and openness touches people who are completely different from each other. She makes sure that everyone listening feels safe, respected, and heard—while preparing them for the real work of doing better.
Jessica has led an incredible career as a science and culture journalist, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, The New Republic, and many other publications. Jessica’s work on The End of Bias was shortlisted for the Lukas Prize for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Royal Society Science Book Prize, is a finalist for the 2022 NYPL Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the World Economic Forum, Greater Good, AARP, and Inc. Jessica holds degrees from Harvard and University of Wisconsin, and her work as a writer and producer earned her the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television.
“It was a great pleasure and - honestly - an exciting, galvanizing experience to have you with us at the Media Lab last week. Your talk was both brilliant and passionate, your interactions with everyone you met - and particularly with students - were authentic and probing, and your impact on our community was immediately electric. With your unique combination of crystal-clear critique, gracious humility, and sparkling sense of humor, you helped us outline an optimistic path for real change. I can’t thank you enough for all that you did for our community, and we all look forward to welcoming you back.”MIT Media Lab
“I so enjoyed our conversation with Jessica Nordell. She was deeply knowledgeable, thoughtful and generous as she helped us unpack the challenges of confronting bias in the academy with grace and insight.”Northeastern University
“There’s no surprise, if you’ve read Ms. Nordell’s work, that her talk is exceptionally well researched, historically significant, and emotionally poignant. What’s most impressive was Ms. Nordell’s sincere engagement with our student community, both in the bespoke keynote she delivered and in the robust student-led Q&A. Our students found in Ms. Nordell not only an accomplished writer and thinker, but also an approachable, funny, and relatable human being who just so happened to challenge our collective beliefs. At this Quaker school, Ms. Nordell will forever be considered a Friend; we can’t wait to bring her back.”George School
“Jessica Nordell brings a scholarly magic and moving humanity to discussions of race, gender, and inclusivity. Her talk brings dazzling clarity to issues and dynamics that have been obscured and historically unaddressed. Even with her incredible wealth of knowledge, research and unforgettable anecdotes, the talk was truly a conversation and was powerfully open and genuine in its concern for all people involved. Jessica Nordell is one of those rare speakers whose keynote and their Q&A are equally impressive, mindful yet urgent. A marker that this work lives in her body, consciousness, and spirit to collaborate in this project we call American Education.”Antelope Valley College
Unconscious bias is at the heart of our most pressing social problems. We know that bias affects everything: medicine, education, criminal justice, and leadership in the corporate world. But we may not realize that bias and discrimination can erode our social relationships and stop us from trusting each other. We’re in a moment of enormous division—between communities and institutions, among citizens of the same country, among neighbors and coworkers—so bridging the trust divide has never been more urgent.
So what do we do about it? In this inspiring talk, esteemed science journalist Jessica Nordell shares how overcoming bias not only creates a more just and equal society, but a world of deeper relationships and more profound personal, organizational, and social trust and healing. She’ll show you how to tackle bias and build kinship across your team’s differences. If we want to collaborate at work, if we want to connect with the people around us to do great things, if we want to lead with empathy and community, we’ve got to trust each other. If bias gets in the way of trust, we need to stamp it out.