Lean Out Book Summary - Lean Out Book explained in key points

Lean Out summary

Marissa Orr

The Truth about Women, Power, and the Workplace

Listen to the first key idea

Key idea 1 of 8
00:00
4.5 (46 ratings)
24 mins
8 key ideas
Audio & text

What is Lean Out about?

Lean Out (2019) is an impassioned critique of corporate feminism. Rather than “lean in” to the patriarchal structures and misogynistic systems of the corporate world, it suggests that women take a step back and stop trying to act like men in order to get ahead.

About the Author

Marissa Orr has extensive firsthand experience of misguided corporate attempts to close the gender gap – she worked at Google and Facebook for 15 years, all while she was a single mother of three. Here, the tech industry veteran dissects where corporate feminism is failing women and pinpoints what corporations should really be doing to promote equality in the workplace.

Table of Contents
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Masculine assertiveness isn’t something to celebrate or emulate.

    In 2014, Sheryl Sandberg launched the “Ban Bossy” campaign through her Lean In foundation. Sandberg shared that she’d been called “bossy” many times over the course of her career. Many of her female peers – also successful, high-powered executives – had been called “bossy” too. 

    According to Sandberg, men are celebrated when they act assertively. Women, on the other hand, are punished for exhibiting the very same trait that men are rewarded for.

    But, as author Marissa Orr argues, Sandberg’s strategy doesn’t quite stack up.

    The key message in this blink is: Masculine assertiveness isn’t something to celebrate or emulate.

    There’s a valid point underlying Sandberg’s campaign to ban bossy. There are different sets of cultural expectations that shape the way girls and boys are brought up. And these go on to shape the ways men and women behave in the workplace. 

    Girls are celebrated when they display so-called “feminine” qualities, like empathy, kindness, and patience. They’re celebrated for being good listeners and for sharing. By contrast, when they fail to embody these qualities, they’re often reprimanded and called “bossy” or “unladylike.” 

    Boys, on the other hand, are celebrated for displaying so-called “masculine” qualities, like leadership, decisiveness, and even aggression. When they fail to embody these qualities, boys are punished too. They’re labeled as “weak,” “girly,” or a “sissy.”

    There’s no doubt these gender stereotypes create huge problems for both women and men.

    But while Sandberg’s style of feminism identifies the stereotypes as a problem, it doesn’t offer a sensible solution. According to Sandberg, women need to get over their fear of being seen as “bossy” and adopt masculine qualities in order to get ahead.

    So, girls who don’t conform to feminine stereotypes get punished by society. Now, women who don’t strive to emulate masculine stereotypes are punished by corporate feminism, too.

    According to Orr, when women advance their careers by leaning in to conventionally masculine behaviors, they’re not agents of change. They’re not creating a better working environment for all women. No. They are part of an elite group in a corporate system that disenfranchises women as a whole. 

    Women shouldn’t be asking how they can succeed within these corporate systems. They should be asking how they can dismantle them.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Lean Out?

    Key ideas in Lean Out

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    Who should read Lean Out

    • Working women who are sick and tired of being told to “man up”;
    • Firms wondering why their top-tier employees all have a Y chromosome; and
    • Any employee who wants to do their bit for diversity.

     

    Categories with Lean Out

    What our members say

    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    25 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    91%
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial