Neurodiversity at Work Book Summary - Neurodiversity at Work Book explained in key points

Neurodiversity at Work summary

Theo Smith and Amanda Kirby

Drive Innovation, Performance and Productivity With a Neurodiverse Workforce

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What is Neurodiversity at Work about?

Neurodiversity at Work (2022) is a practical guide to recruiting neurodiverse employees and creating work environments that allow them to thrive. Thanks to the digital revolution, the world of work has changed dramatically over the last decades. Yet corporate culture has remained trapped in archaic hiring practices that don’t work for the neurodiverse. By updating these practices, you’ll create a more inclusive workplace, which will yield more successful and innovative teams.

About the Author

Theo Smith is a talent acquisition leader and a member of the Resourcing Leaders 100. He led recruitment strategy at NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. 

Professor Amanda Kirby is a doctor, tech entrepreneur, and experienced researcher. Her previous books include How to Succeed in Employment with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism and ADHD and How to Succeed in College and University with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism and ADHD

Both authors identify as being neurodivergent.

Table of Contents
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    What is neurodiversity, and why does it matter?

    In a sense, we’re all neurodiverse. After all, each of us has 100 billion brain cells, firing and making connections every second of the day. No two brains are exactly the same. They’re like our thumbprints – each one is wholly unique. 

    But often, being “neurodiverse” is taken to mean that someone has a specific diagnosis, like dyslexia, ADHD, or autism. The term indicates that their brains work differently in the specific ways that are associated with that particular diagnosis. 

    Like with any definition, there’s a lot of controversy about what the exact meaning of neurodiversity is. But what’s commonly agreed is that the term points to the fact that we don’t all process information and think in the same way. In fact, the ways our minds work are affected by a number of factors: past experiences, our specific neurobiological makeup, the kind of education we’ve received, the traumas we’ve been exposed to, and a host of other things. Of course, all of these factors affect how we think and work. 

    That’s why it’s such a problem that workplaces are designed to be one-size-fits-all. Not everyone can function well in an open office, or between the hours of nine and five. Not everyone is able to come up with answers on the spot, or lead a presentation with aplomb. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a lot to contribute to the workplace. On the contrary, some of our greatest entrepreneurs have described themselves as being neurodiverse. Seeing the world differently can mean having unexpected solutions to complex problems. 

    That’s why companies like Microsoft, JP Morgan, and IBM, among others, are working furiously to recruit and support neurodiverse talent in the workplace. But how exactly do you adapt hiring practices to support neurodiversity? 

    To answer this question, let’s explore the three steps you can take to begin building a neurodiverse team in your workplace. 

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    Who should read Neurodiversity at Work

    • Hiring managers seeking to attract neurodiverse candidates
    • Leaders looking to create a communicative, trusting workplace
    • Anyone who wants to learn how to advocate for themselves in a corporate environment

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