Book Report: Lean Out

Lean Out Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture is an important and thought-provoking book that probably won’t get all of the attention that it deserves. While I’m not the target audience here (maybe I should be, but that’s a discussion for another time), I did find this to be a useful framework for thinking about some things that I’m pretty happy to have pondered.
The book is not as much of a rebuke of Lean In as the title suggests. It’s more just a collection of essays about the issues faced by women (and black and lgbt women) in technology. The book is (understandably) focused very much on Silicon Valley and Startup culture. As with any collection of essays the quality of the essays vary, as do the tone and message. In fact, that’s probably where this, as a book, most suffers- there isn’t one common agenda that emerges out of these essays.
Ultimately, that’s probably a reflection of where society is at this point in time, and also of the books efforts to be inclusive to many different viewpoints. The stories told in this collection are powerful, honest and sometimes painful to read.
Anyhow, if you work in technology, and care about making work in our field better for everyone, this a good book to read and reflect on. If you’re a leader, then this should absolutely be on your reading list.

2 thoughts on “Book Report: Lean Out

  1. “Like Best” is a difficult phrase for a book that describes sexual harassment, discrimination, and rape. I’ll cheat a bit here and answer which essay stuck with me the most, and as long as I’m cheating, I’ll give 2 answers:
    BEYOND THE BINARY: A/B TESTING TECH AND GENDER by Brook Shelly – Brook is a transsexual, who has worked in tech while presenting as both a man and a women. She has a unique perspective on the tech industry, as you might imagine.
    WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? by Lauren Bacon. Lauren is the only one to lay forth a complete agenda- even if the agenda is largely “let’s settle on a common agenda”, I respond well to this positive, path forward sort of thinking.

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