We are living in a world of almost unparalleled separation. People are no longer disagreeing, but are instead disavowing each other’s rights to an opinion. What is driving this polarization, and how can we overcome it? Howard Ross says that ironically it’s our profound need to belong. He delves deeply into the powerful psychological, neurological, and biological forces that drive us to want to identify so strongly with a group we’re sometimes even willing to sacrifice our individual identity.

Drawing on his decades of leadership in the diversity and inclusion field, Ross probes the depth and impact of this growing tribalism, the role social media plays in exacerbating it, the ways it impacts every aspect of the daily lives, and how to combat it. Readers will gain tools for exploring contentious dialogue in healthier ways and guidelines for breaking down barriers and building bridges across difference. Organizations and institutions will be able to develop approaches that can open dialogue and encourage mutual understanding.

 

Howard Ross

Howard Ross is a lifelong social justice advocate and the Founding Partner of Cook Ross. He is considered one of the world’s seminal thought leaders on identifying and addressing Unconscious Bias.  Howard authored the Washington Post best seller, Everyday Bias:  Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives (published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2014) and ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance, (published by Rowman and Littlefield in conjunction with SHRM in 2011).

In acknowledgement of his significant contributions, Howard was the recipient of the 2009 Operation Understanding Award for Community Service, the 2012 Winds of Change Award from the Forum on Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, the 2013 Diversity Peer Award from Diversity Woman Magazine, the 2014 Catalyst Award from Uptown Professional Magazine, the 2014 Catalyst for Change Award from Wake Forest University, and the 2016 Leadership in Diversity Award by the World Human Resources Development Conference in Mumbai, India.

 

JonRobert Tartaglione

JonRobert is a behavioral scientist whose expertise encompasses the domains of human cognition, decision-making, and behavior. JonRobert has worked to help leaders of community non-profits through Fortune 500 organizations understand the psycho-social underpinnings of unconscious bias as well as how to mitigate such biases personally and systemically.

JonRobert holds a Master’s (MSc) with Distinction in Social Cognition from University College London, and is currently pursuing his second master’s (focusing on Consumer and Political Psychology) from The University of Chicago.

From the Forward

 

How are we to engage in healthy bonding and healthy bridging? In this book on belonging, Howard’s response to this critical question is similar to the approach he takes in his book Everyday Bias. He draws on the neuro-cognitive science that explains how bonding, like biases, is a natural process that all human beings engage in. He then explains how bonding, like our biases, can take unhealthy, destructive and dangerous forms. And to avoid the negative consequences that can result from our biases and our bonding we must be conscious of them. Of course, self-awareness is not enough. For when we do not mitigate against negative biases and unhealthy bonding, they feed bigotry and systemic oppression. As difficult as it is to combat unhealthy bonding, we must do so if we are to ever experience in our personal lives,  our workplaces, our communities, our nation and our world the kind of peace and justice that we all deserve.

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole

Principal Consultant, Cook Ross

Accolades for Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart

Howard Ross transformed our understanding of both bias and Unconscious bias with his wonderful book Everyday Bias:  Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives.   Now he is transforming our understanding of why we have people in America both tribalizing and too often fighting each other in damaging and dysfunctional tribal ways.  This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the mess we are in today and what we need to do now to give us a better future for our organizations, our communities and even our nation.  This will be another iconic book.

George Halverson

Former CEO, Kaiser Permanente

Howard Ross transformed our understanding of both bias and unconscious bias with his wonderful book Everyday Bias:  Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives.   Now he is transforming our understanding of why we have people in America both tribalizing and too often fighting each other in damaging and dysfunctional tribal ways.  This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the mess we are in today and what we need to do now to give us a better future for our organizations, our communities and even our nation.  This will be another iconic book.

George Halvorson

Former CEO, Kaiser Permanente

Our Search for Belonging is a powerful statement of hope in a disquieting time.  Our social divide is creating major challenges on college campuses, workplaces and in society itself.  By helping us understand the reasons for the divide, and the things we can do about it, Howard Ross has provided guidelines for a future that does not have to be limited by our past.  A must read!

Dr. Kristina Johnson

Chancellor, State University of New York

In a compelling narrative style that rests on a foundation of cutting edge research, Howard Ross describes a paradox of belonging: a psychological need to be embedded in a group has produced an ideologically segregated America. To erase those tribal boundaries requires a deeper sense of belonging, which Ross suggests we might first achieve in an unexpected place: at work.  At work, people see and experience difference as beneficial.  And at work, people can learn behaviors that produce a more inclusive belonging.

Scott E Page, PhD

Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics, University of Michigan, Author, The Diversity Bonus and The Difference

Our Search for Belonging is a timely and wonderful gift to our national community as we struggle to find connection in the disparate views and feelings that divide us. It offers a guiding light of innovative and creative thinking grounded in impeccable research and scientific observation. This book is a necessary “must read” to those wishing to further connect with the better in themselves regarding the isms and biases that we all carry as baggage in our lives. Our Search for Belonging is beautiful, powerful, and uplifting as it shares that goodness is latent in us all and how to achieve it.

William H. "Smitty" Smith

Ed. D., Founding Executive Director, National Center for Race Amity

In this thought-provoking book, Howard Ross delves into one of the most important issues of our time, namely, how the human yearning for belonging can paradoxically sow the seeds of division. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of disciplines, the book delivers potential solutions for mending our fractured society. This book should be required reading for anyone wishing to chart a better course for humanity – in this regard, it could one of the most important books of the year.

Sukhvinder S. Obhi

PhD, Director, Brain, Body and Action Lab, McMaster University

In this groundbreaking book, Howard Ross uses his keen insight and decades-long experience in the field of diversity and inclusion to explore how the human tendency to belong and include also leads to tribalism and exclusion. Calling the latter “bonding against,” Ross uses research in behavioral and cognitive science to show how these “us vs. them” tendencies spring from our evolutionary heritage; in the modern world, they gravely threaten our civic and faith communities, our workplaces, our information ecosystem, and our politics. Unlike many books that diagnose the problems without providing solutions, Ross spends two chapters on how we can bridge our divides by focusing on mutual understanding and coexistence, both as individuals and perhaps even more importantly within institutions. From my perspective both as a scholar and consultant on emotional and social intelligence and effective decision-making, this book is a must for leaders who want to ensure that the institutions they lead avoid the disastrous consequences of “bonding against”.

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky

Author, The Truth-Seeker's Handbook: A Science-Based Guide, President of Intentional Insights, Co-Founder of the Pro-Truth Pledge; Assistant Professor, Ohio State University; Speaker and COnsultant on emotional and social intelligence and effective decision-making

Once again Howard Ross has clearly illuminated the details of an incredibly important conversation. This book is a creative and compelling explanation of why and how we connect, and don’t connect, as people; great depth will be added to the institutional and professional legacies of those able to effectively develop pathways to belonging in the places where we engage every day. Howard offers the keys to maximizing collaboration, innovation, productivity and effectiveness in an increasingly complex world.

Chevy Cleaves

Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer, U.S. Air Force

The increasing polarization that exists in our society today can be a real impediment to producing the results we need and want in business and in politics.  In this book, Howard Ross helps us understand the importance of breaking down those barriers, and provides powerful tools for how to do it. Manny Chirico

Chairman and CEO, PVH Corp

Our country’s divisive climate is stifling both our public and private discourse. In Our Search for Belonging, Howard Ross offers actionable steps on how we can begin to dismantle the walls between us for the benefit of our workplaces and our society. An insightful read for all leaders.

Ron Shaich

Founder and Chairman, Panera Breads

This book, like Howard Ross, is brimming with substance and soul. It is an important work that invites courageous conversations and difficult dialogues with ourselves and with others. Page after page offers us the wisdom, inspiration and tools we need to be effective advocates for diversity and inclusion. At last, here is the book we have been waiting for! Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole

President Emerita, Spelman College and Bennett College for Women

Our field has an abundance of talkers, folks who have an opinion they feel obligated to share. We don’t need more of either. We need more thinkers, more analysts of substance. In a world where national and tribal boundaries impose a defensive obsession with our differences, Howard has stepped into fill that void. Legendary IBM CEO, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. said that “We serve our interests best when we serve the public interest.” In my own work I have focused on the thought, “ We talk to one another, not about one another.” In Our Search for Belonging, Howard is connecting  those dots at a time when our societal survival is threatened. Global, national, local, or tribal—connect and respect are challenges we seem unable to execute. In this book, Howard is providing a mirror that makes us confront that picture, and frames how we can navigate a treacherous road to higher, safer  ground—a place where your place is not a bad place, and my place is not the only place for me.

J.T. (Ted) Childs

Former Chief Diversity Officer, IBM

The increasing polarization that exists in our society today can be a real impediment to producing the results we need and want in business and in politics.  In this book, Howard Ross helps us understand the importance of breaking down those barriers, and provides powerful tools for how to do it.

Manny Chirico

Chairman and CEO, PVH Corp

If you are at all concerned about how we can pull our polarized nation back together, buy this book. Get copies for coworkers, friends, and especially your children. Howard Ross illuminates practical pathways for courageous leaders to shape a better future for us all.

Bonnie St. John

Paralympic Medalist and CEO, Blue Circle Leadership Institute

Once again, Howard Ross has tackled the thorny divisive issues of our day–demographic diversity, politics, social justice–by shining the light of humanity on them. Through solid examples, he gives the reader space and context for understanding how and why we all have the potential to create “us” versus “them” dynamics. His book serves like a roadmap that takes the reader on an empowering journey toward owning our part in creating inclusive cultures and helping others to belong.

Natalie Holder

Diversity Executive, Federal Law Enforcement Agency

The economic and political middle have been carved out of the United States.  Now the cultural middle (the values and norms that hold us together as a society) is threatened.  Howard Ross offers a compelling observation of how we associate with those most like us, and how it’s created a dangerous polarization.  More importantly he offers a different path forward.

Brian A. Gallagher

President & CEO, United Way Worldwide

Our contemporary conversations about discrimination often focus on individual bias but fail to show how those biases relate to our need for belonging. Howard Ross’s accessible book makes this important connection. He examines current events, social science, and neuropsychology to explain this irony—how our twenty-first century quest for community separates us from each other. But this isn’t a dry academic survey. Ross offers insight gained from his rich experience, candor, awareness, and most importantly, realistic solutions for ourselves and our workplaces to address this paradox. This book should be read by organization leaders, professionals concerned about human relations, and anyone interested in building community consciously and carefully.

Atiba R. Ellis

Professor of Law, West Virginia University

Deep knowledge of the science behind unconscious bias and a rich tableau of experience working with the world’s leading organizations leads to remarkable practical insight! That is the essence of this much needed and timely new book by Howard Ross. A must read for all of us as individuals who increasingly need to decode the complex implications and unintended consequences of our obsession with social media connectivity AND for leaders and businesses seeking to build inclusive flourishing cultures that bind rather than divide us.

Shubhro Sen, Ph.D.

Director, School of Management and Entrepeneurship, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida, India; Co-Founder, Conscious Capitalism Institute

Howard Ross has done it again! In Our Search for Belonging Ross puts a human face on America’s 21st century conundrum and in doing so shows a path out of our current quagmire. He delves deeply into our psyche and neurobiologic drive to connect and shows how that drive to belong overshadows political or other external realities dividing us as a country into warring factions. And he shows us pathways toward healing the divide. This is must reading for everyone across the political spectrum who really wants to make America great again. Robert Wm. Blum, MD, MPH, PhD

William H Gates Sr Professor Emeritus Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Director, Johns Hopkins University Urban Health Institute

We are certain we are ‘one’ person, not a thousand different selves reacting unconsciously to thousands of different stimuli. Everyday Bias is an important guide to seeing oneself the way others might. Ken Burns

Filmmaker, Walgreens

Our Search For Belonging serves as GPS for the human condition and daily navigation of this thing called life. Howard offers an empowered and emboldened perspective on how we can simultaneously find ourselves and find ourselves within others. This book has something to help everyone where they are, and there’s not a person out there who wouldn’t benefit from the guidance this book provides.

Caroline A. Wanga

Chief Diversity Officer, Target

In a nation with so much division, Our Search for Belonging, is a much needed read to educate us all on the importance of the inclusion of women and men across all distinctions of diversity both personally and professionally.  Howard Ross explores and captures a broad range of topics and issues that I believe is crucial to uniting humankind and our divided nation.

Dr. Sheila A. Robinson

Publisher and CEO, Diversity Woman Media

This book is profoundly “for such a time as this.” In the book of Esther, we learn that as she contemplates the decision of her lifetime she is reminded, “For all that you know, all that you have has prepared you for such a time as this.”  At this time, we need this body of work to help us lead, follow, listen and learn.  Whether we are engaging in courageous conversations, moving towards bonding AND bridging, or seizing the opportunity to recognize and reconcile our urgent need for difference and belonging, this work is the go to for the “why” and the “how to.”  We must now admit that, “The past is never dead.  It’s not even past” and that “We can continue on the pathway to separation or take on the challenge…” I will use this as my favorite and most resourceful guide for content and context.  Belonging is your labor of love, and the timing is perfect.  We need this now!  God bless you Howard.

Wendy Lewis

Chief Global Diversity Officer, VP Community Engagement, McDonald's Corporation

Howard Ross has done it again! In Our Search for Belonging Ross puts a human face on America’s 21st century conundrum and in doing so shows a path out of our current quagmire. He delves deeply into our psyche and neurobiologic drive to connect and shows how that drive to belong overshadows political or other external realities dividing us as a country into warring factions. And he shows us pathways toward healing the divide. This is must reading for everyone across the political spectrum who really wants to make America great again.

Robert Wm. Blum

MD, MPH, PhD, William H. Gates Sr. Professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute

Many people know Howard for his research-based approach to implicit bias and his national and international work helping organizations better manage this unconscious human process.  With Our Search for Belonging, he combines research, philosophy, the insights of current and past leaders, into a powerful analysis of the current political, sociological and psychological forces that have contributed to the polarization that so many of us experience in this current national climate. With stories and evidence-based examples, Howard helps us better understand the powerful role of the human drive for that sense of belonging…that deep connection that is essential to human survival.  He shines a light on ways that belonging has contributed  to negative, even violent, movements in our history, but more importantly, he helps us appreciate the deep wholeness we experience when we truly connect, engage deeply with individuals, within our family, workplace or country. With specific, “pathways to belonging,” he charts a way forward for individuals, leaders of organizations of all types, and hopefully, those elected to represent our interests.

Benjamin D. Reese, Jr., Psy.D

Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, Duke University/Duke University Health System

The economic and political middle have been carved out of the United States.  Now the cultural middle (the values and norms that hold us together as a society) is threatened.  Howard Ross offers a compelling observation of how we associate with those most like us, and how it’s created a dangerous polarization.  More importantly he offers a different path forward.

Brian A. Gallagher

President & CEO, United Way Worldwide

This is what the world needs now.  Howard Ross articulates what many in the medley of humanity are feeling but struggle to process coherently—or, most importantly, act upon.  I hope that the sound research and suggested action plans found in this book will inspire millions of butterfly wing flaps that generate a gentle wind bringing higher levels of harmony for generations to come.

Dennis W. Quaintance

CEO and Co-Founder, Quaintance - Weaver Restaurants and Hotels

Countdown to the release of Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart

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