Book Excerpt: Bang! By Linda Kaplan Thaler

Perhaps the reason we at KTG are so successful at tapping into the consumer psyche is that we're a firm run by women. There's enough estrogen around our offices to make Arnold Schwarzenegger ovulate. Perhaps because of that, we aren't afraid to make big decisions by following our gut. Feminine instinct, we believe, is no myth. "Women's intuition has been scientifically tested and measured since the 1980s and, for the most part, comes down to a woman's superiority in all the perceptive senses," claim Barbara and Allan Pease in Why Men Don't Listen and Woman Can't Read Maps. David G. Myers, in Intuition: Its Powers and Perils, seems to agree, stating that there is a "gender intuition gap," that "women generally surpass men at decoding emotional messages." He cites research that says that although boys average 45 points higher on the SAT math tests, "girls surpass boys in reading facial expressions." Women may have developed better intuitive powers as a defense mechanism, honed over centuries as the weaker sex: If I can't beat you up, I somehow have to figure you out to get what I want. Or maybe it stems from the maternal instinct, the ability to quickly figure out what babies want so they will survive (or at least stop crying at 2 a.m!). "As childbearers and nest defenders," say the Peases, women "needed the ability to sense subtle mood and attitude changes in others. What is commonly called 'women's intuition' is mostly a woman's acute ability to notice small details and changes in the appearance or behavior of others." This search for a competitive advantage is hardly unique to Homo sapiens. Researchers studying elephants in Africa made a startling discovery while observing boy and girl twin elephants. When going to nurse, the male would simply butt the female out of the way. As a result, the female rapidly learned to nurse when the male was sleeping, playing, or otherwise occupied. In other words, to survive she had to be clever.

Stop Thinking About the Business

The classical model of decision making, taught in business schools around the country, is based on analysis and logic; managers evaluate options based on a set of criteria about the issue at hand. It all sounds very scientific, says intuition researcher Gary Klein, and "comforting. Who would not want to be thorough, systematic, rational and scientific?" he writes.

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