The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know Book Review

When I first picked up “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, I expected to read a book primarily focused on empowering women. What I didn’t anticipate was the profound impact it would have on my own understanding of confidence and self-assurance. This book transcends gender boundaries and speaks to anyone seeking to unlock their full potential by harnessing the power of confidence. In this article, I’ll share my personal insights and reflections on this empowering read.

1-Sentence Summary: “The Confidence Code” is a thought-provoking exploration of the science behind confidence, emphasizing that it’s not an innate quality but a skill that can be cultivated, and it provides actionable steps for readers to boost their self-assurance.

The Confidence Code The Science and Art of Self-Assurance---What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

TitleThe Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know
AuthorKatty Kay, Claire Shipman
GenreSelf Help
Publication DateApril 15, 2014
Length256 pages

Where to Purchase

Best Quotes from the Book:

  1. “Confidence… it’s the stuff that turns thought into action.” – Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

This quote is a fundamental concept in the book, highlighting that confidence is the driving force behind turning our aspirations into reality. It emphasizes that confidence is not just a passive state of mind but an active catalyst for action. The book delves into the science of confidence, explaining how it can be developed and harnessed, ultimately enabling us to achieve our goals.

  1. “Competence is vital, but confidence is decisive.” – Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

This quote underscores the importance of confidence in determining our success. The authors emphasize that competence alone is not enough; we must have the confidence to showcase our skills and abilities. It challenges the notion that competence should automatically lead to self-assurance and highlights the need for deliberate efforts to boost confidence.

  1. “Action separates the timid from the fearless.” – Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

This quote speaks to the transformative power of action. It reminds us that true confidence is not about erasing fear but about taking action despite it. The book provides valuable insights into the role of risk-taking in building confidence and dispels the myth that confident individuals are devoid of fear.

  1. “Confidence is life’s enabler, but it can also be life’s disabler.” – Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

This quote is a reminder of the delicate balance between healthy confidence and overconfidence. The authors emphasize that while confidence is essential, excessive confidence can lead to arrogance and blind spots. It highlights the importance of self-awareness and continuous self-improvement on the path to confidence.

Book Summary

“The Confidence Code” is a comprehensive guide that delves into the science and art of self-assurance, shedding light on the inner workings of confidence. The central premise of the book is that confidence is not an inherent trait but a learned skill. Through extensive research and interviews with experts, the authors make a compelling case that confidence can be developed, cultivated, and mastered by anyone.

The book explores the intricate interplay between nature and nurture in shaping confidence, with a focus on the impact of genetics, upbringing, and societal expectations. It presents a fascinating argument that, while genetics play a role in one’s confidence level, the environment and upbringing have a more significant influence. This revelation offers hope to those who may have thought they were destined to remain perpetually lacking in confidence.

One of the book’s strengths is its emphasis on the importance of action in building confidence. It dispels the myth that confidence must precede action and instead advocates for action as a means to boost confidence. The authors provide practical advice on how to break the cycle of self-doubt and hesitation, encouraging readers to embrace discomfort and take risks.

Throughout the book, Kay and Shipman weave in relatable examples of well-known figures who have struggled with confidence, including Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg. These real-life stories serve as powerful illustrations of the book’s principles and make the content more relatable and engaging.

Book Review

The writing style of “The Confidence Code” is engaging and accessible. Kay and Shipman have a knack for presenting complex psychological concepts in a way that is easy to understand, even for readers without a background in psychology. Their use of relatable anecdotes and real-world examples helps bring the concepts to life and keeps the reader engaged.

The book’s greatest strength lies in its ability to resonate with readers on a personal level. It offers valuable insights into the psychology of confidence and provides practical steps for readers to apply in their daily lives. The authors do an excellent job of striking a balance between scientific research and practical advice, making the book both informative and actionable.

However, there are some areas where the book could have delved deeper. While it provides a solid foundation for understanding confidence, some readers may crave more in-depth exploration of specific topics. Additionally, the book’s focus on women and confidence, while valuable, may leave some male readers feeling as though they are on the periphery of the conversation. A more inclusive approach that addresses confidence challenges faced by individuals of all genders could enhance the book’s relevance.


This book is part of my list of best confidence books. Check out the list for more books on this subject.

This book is recommended for:

  1. Women seeking to boost their confidence and self-assurance.
  2. Men looking to understand the challenges women often face in building confidence.
  3. Anyone interested in personal development and self-improvement.
  4. Educators and mentors who want to support others in developing confidence.
  5. Leaders and professionals seeking to enhance their leadership skills.

Small Actionable Steps You Can Do:

“The Confidence Code” offers a wealth of actionable steps that readers can incorporate into their lives to enhance their confidence. Here are a few key takeaways and practical steps:

  1. Embrace discomfort: Make a conscious effort to step out of your comfort zone regularly. Whether it’s volunteering for a challenging project at work or trying a new hobby, embracing discomfort is a key step in building confidence.
  2. Practice self-compassion: Replace self-criticism with self-compassion. Acknowledge your strengths and achievements rather than dwelling on your shortcomings. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer to a friend.
  3. Set achievable goals: Break down your larger goals into smaller, more attainable milestones. Celebrate your successes along the way, no matter how small they may seem. This incremental progress can boost your confidence over time.
  4. Cultivate a growth mindset: Adopt a mindset that embraces learning and improvement. View failures and setbacks as opportunities to grow and develop, rather than as indicators of inadequacy.
  5. Find a mentor or support network: Seek guidance and mentorship from individuals who have mastered the art of confidence. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, colleagues, or mentors who can provide encouragement and guidance.

“The Confidence Code” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman is a compelling and enlightening read that goes beyond its gender-focused title. It offers valuable insights into the science of confidence, dispelling myths and providing actionable steps for anyone looking to bolster their self-assurance.

While it may have some room for deeper exploration and a more inclusive perspective, its impact on personal development is undeniable. This book has the potential to empower individuals to unlock their full potential by harnessing the transformative power of confidence.


  • Michael Corbin

    Michael Corbin stands out as a dynamic content writer which combines his dual passions for self-help and digital marketing literature. A fervent believer in the transformative power of books, Michael delves deep into self-help titles, extracting valuable lessons and insights that he actively integrates into his daily life. Simultaneously, his keen interest in digital marketing books has not only expanded his knowledge but has also played a pivotal role in the success of his business ventures. Always on a quest for self-improvement and growth, Michael's reviews are a testament to his commitment to personal and professional development. His writings offer readers a unique perspective, as they are infused with real-world applications and experiences derived from the books he reviews. For those seeking to elevate their personal lives or enhance their business strategies, Michael Corbin's reviews serve as a trusted guide, pointing them to the most impactful and actionable books in the realms of self-help and digital marketing. His relentless pursuit of knowledge and betterment makes him an invaluable asset to the literary community and an inspiration to readers and entrepreneurs alike.

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