CONCEPT: 4.5/5


Julia Boorstin, the debut author of When Women Lead, has herself worked in a highly power-imbalanced environment as a reporter at CNBC.

For this book, she interviewed various women in business about the discrimination they faced and how their leadership changed things. Workplace discrimination is not limited to the boardroom alone; it is in fact the reflection of the pervading gender norms in the world.

What is the book all about?

To explain how women founders and company heads face blatant discrimination, Julia uses social experiments, statistics as well as personal experiences as proof. She also talks about why it is beneficial to have more women on the board of directors and in leadership positions.

Now, this isn’t a new concept and has been previously affirmed by various sources.

In this book, we get to know not only the woman entrepreneur but the woman within her too – her passion, purpose, and what led her to the business.

The book touches upon aspects like workplace diversity, business research, and scaling, but more from a societal angle.

The author emphasizes how women in business have not only made profits for themselves but created a real change in the world. This is not only in the areas of business across myriad sectors but also in non-profit and social responsibility sectors.

Some of the women spoken about in this book are Whitney Wolfe Herd (Bumble), Reese Witherspoon (Reesesbookclub), Jennifer Hyman (Rent the Runway), Sallie Krawcheck (Ellevest), etc.

Writing style and criticism

Julia’s presentation and details are in an extremely generic format with hardly any financial analysis or jargon. So, one doesn’t need to be from a finance or business background to understand the book. The language is also very simple and broken down for a layman to comprehend.

As for the length of the book, it is quite bulky. Also, because it is nonfiction and doesn’t have a story, this is a book not meant to be rushed in one sitting. I took my own time, reading a few chapters a day, and my recommendation to you would be to do the same.

What I liked and didn’t 

My favourite part of the book was the discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace. Workplace harassment has a lot to do with the skewed power equation, and unless that changes, the laws can’t do much for the victims. 

What I felt was insufficient about the book is that it doesn’t mention the reason why women are not the CEOs they could be – because of the expectation to run the household and have kids and raise them.

While the author does talk about how a woman’s worth is downsized after she announces her pregnancy, there is no further discussion of what happens later. Millions of women leave the workforce to care for their families (not like they have an option) and hence the minuscule percentage of women in power. However, this isn’t considered in the book.

When Women Lead is a book that can be read by anyone but is an enlightening and worthy read, especially for women entrepreneurs, employees, and investors.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of When Women Lead by Julia Boorstin using the link below