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Be A Bitch for Biz Success?

Is there a hormonal glass ceiling? Are happy women just too nice to be successful?

That's the premise of this column by Deborah Hill Cone in the New Zealand Herald. Cone says that women's natural -- although not universal or all-the-time -- tendency to be loving connectors instead of hard-assed competitors may keep us from succeeding in the cutthroat world of commerce.

Cone writes,

So that's the choice, gals. You can either be happy and boring and grow fresh herbs or you can be a shrew with a six-figure income, quick wit and good shoes.

The difference, she says, is how much oxytocin is flushing your body. When you're loving and contented, you're happy to stay home and vegetate. Only the mean and bitter woman has what it takes to succeed in a man's world.

Except it's not true -- and a couple of men have used hard facts and figures to prove it. In several papers, Paul Zak (I'm a huge fan) and Stephen Knack showed that countries that had more trusting cultures also were more productive. (One of the things they looked at was the amount of estrogens circulating through the country, for example, through tofu consumption. For more, see their 2002 paper, Building Trust: Public Policy, Interpersonal Trust, and Economic Development