The book is fairly easy: Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender. Back when I read it I said it made me want to go stand on a random street corner giving away copies to anyone who walked by, and I still stand by that. It’s one of those rare books where pretty much every page makes me want to stand up and shout, “THIS, THIS, THIS!”
The six influential people part is a bit more difficult. I would generally want as many influential people in education as possible to read it - people responsible for drafting policies; people who make key decisions; people whose investment in bogus ideas about how boys and girls are “wired” differently affect kids’ lives on a day to day basis. But I’ve come to realise that just having someone read a book like this is not enough. It’s not that Fine’s writing isn’t clear and persuasive; it’s not that she doesn’t do a wonderful job of presenting the facts and inviting readers to see for themselves how they add up. But the way people make up this minds about contentious subjects (and gender is definitely one) is complicated, and emotional factors often come into play.
I’m not placing myself above this, btw - I obviously think I’m factually right in rejecting gender essentialism in favour of a social approach to gender roles, but the process through which I came to develop my current stance is more complicated than just being presented with information and making a correct, rational decision based on facts alone. Basically, I needed context for those facts, and the whole of my personal, political and educational background was what provided this context. All this to say that a single book, no matter how accessible it seems to me, is never going to be enough. I still want as many people as possible to read Delusions of Gender, and if they’re influential people, all the better. But I know this will always be a small step in the development of a more nuanced understanding of gender in our society.
Now, is asking you the exact same question considered cheating? :P