Lean Out

The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture

Book reviews

Written by: Ellen Young


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By: Elissa Shevinsky

Modern Essays  

It’s no secret I am a fan of the essay-style book format. Lean Out is the perfect evidence as to why. And, if you work in tech or have experience in start-up culture, this book will, of course, be right up your ally.  

Shevinsky put together this collection a few years before Mark Zuckerberg’s “pale and male” fiasco. You might remember back in 2019 when Zuckerberg held several recorded interviews with tech experts, in which he interviewed nine guests who were all white, including only one woman. Zuckerberg’s quest “to further understand the future of tech” was quickly criticized for its lack of diversity. This public display further elucidates the need for books such as Lean Out.  

With Silicon Valley having so much influence over the rest of the world, it’s no wonder the sexism and racism experienced there may indeed bleed over and feel relevant to the rest of us. With start-ups providing a whole new way of doing business, let’s give up the typical ways of doing things and read up on how we may further gender equality in the industry. Not just because “women are an untapped market,” but simply because it’s the right thing to do.  

Perspectives You May Never Have Read Before 

Shevinsky has certainly provided a wide array of opinions, experiences, and voices where you are sure to find something relatable. I particularly enjoyed the essay, “Notes from a Game Industry Outcast,” by “Squinky.” They speak to those who “don’t fit the stereotype” and I found this encouraging as opinions and experiences from a Genderqueer Person is distinctly impactful and powerful within this group of essays and of course, this subject matter. 

Squinky further penned the essay, “Making Games is Easy, Belonging is Hard,” where they further discuss the art of fitting in, belonging, and the sheer amount of energy it takes to simply belong.

To finish up, the final essay, “Where Do We Go from Here?” by, Lauren Bacon, discusses today’s feminism and tries to answer the questions, “What are our collective goals, and how will we get there? What if we worked together?”  

If I could describe this book in one word, that word would be, “significant.” •