The Confidence Code [Book Review]

The Confidence Code Book Review

Why I Picked This Book

The “C” factor is often pinpointed as the key ingredient for a successful life. I don’t know anyone who would not like a little bit more of it. Perhaps that’s the reason you decided to read this book review. 

Confidence seems to be one of the first words people bring up when asked about what is holding them back. Whether we are talking about getting that dream job or asking your crush on a date, confidence is often acknowledged as the root cause of the problem.

Well, is it? I thought it was. That was the main reason I selected this book and made a commitment to read it from cover to cover. I was curious to learn more about confidence from a woman’s point of view. I was eager to find out what different approach the authors had to offer us.

Is Confidence A Generational Issue?

Katty Kay and Sandy Rustin are two journalists with a considerable mediatic presence. I almost could relate to their stories and struggles but then I was deeply disappointed when they brought up the generation issue. In their view, millennials were raised with prizes and awards for no particular reason, which in turn spoiled and mined their chance to develop a good sense of confidence in themselves.

The comments are sometimes brushed off but they resurface every now and then throughout the book. I was quite disappointed because I don’t think confidence should be treated from a generational point of view. Let alone make any comments based on generational differences or mainstream stereotypes about millennials. It feels like someone is trying to justify or excuse some facts without really owning their share quota of responsibility. Who raised the millennials anyway?

I don’t want to go far in my remarks about millennials but I must say this was the first aspect of the book that turned me off. The second aspect was the fact that, besides a good overview of multiple studies about confidence, the book doesn’t really crack The Confidence Code. Well, it does, but it’s limited to one or two sentences and the authors missed the opportunity of serving their audience by exploring and going deeper into key points that actually matter.

From my point of view, the book doesn’t offer any brand new or practical approach to how you can develop your sense of confidence. The authors did a really good job in getting out there and applying their journalism skills to gather material for the book but the final product looks a bit sloppy to me. 

One moment you are following a meeting with Christian Lagarde, next you are getting some study details to back up an idea, followed by another “real life” story that eventually makes a comeback somewhere else in the book. I sort of lost track of both the relevance of the stories and their purpose. The bottom line was that even women perceived as successful, and powerful, struggle with confidence. In the authors’ words, why wouldn’t we mere mortals have problems with it too? 

I think confidence is not a generational or a gender issue. Yes, there are cultural barriers that women face and which have shaped their modus operandi in the world but I know many men who are also uncomfortable to speak their mind and heart. Maybe confidence is not just a women’s issue but an aspect that some people struggle more with than others. I think it has more to do with how comfortable we are to own our whole selves rather than our gender identity. 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a summary review of interesting scientific studies, the book will likely appeal to you. If you are looking for something more practical and less biased, I’m sure you can find better options. Toward the end, the authors nailed what it takes to be confident and we can embody it more often but then they opted for making recommendations that, in my opinion, are not the best route to follow through. All in all, I would give this book a 3-star rating. It’s not a book I will use as a reference for my clients or students but I recognize it as a good introduction to what we know from a scientific point of view about confidence. 


Published by The Wellbeing Blogger

Wellbeing Designer, here to help you make Art with your Life

2 thoughts on “The Confidence Code [Book Review]

  1. Interesting comments and I love your honesty, which is refreshing in a book review. I agree with you on the point about the millennials, who raised them? Surely it is a society thing, and it grates on me that certain areas of our society take no responsibility for their actions and choose to blame others for the state of the world.


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