3 Key Tips from One Question – Titles are everything, Lean In is for Men, and Company Bookclubs are Cool!

I read an Influencers article the other day on Linkedin, by David Measer titled “Go Ahead, Man, Lean In”, posted on MediaPost.com.  Unless you have been sleeping under a rock lately, the article focused on Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.

The article highlights statistics and findings as it pertains to the disparity of women in business; but more refreshing is the fact it was a man raising up the issue. That certainly impressed me. So be sure to read the article HERE.

However, David makes note of one key finding he uncovered in his research for the piece, then completely overlooks explaining it or providing the details that went behind the comment. It goes like this – “And, while many men have probably heard about the hoopla surrounding Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, it seems that very few have read it. An informal survey of 20 of my male colleagues found that zero men had read the book, and none planned to.”

Now, as a woman reading this, I rushed through scanning the remainder of the article seeking out the explanation for this informal survey result. But there was none. My earlier enthusiasm was deflated. I mean come on; his circle of colleagues have NO plans to read the book, but he doesn’t ask them the more critical question – WHY? That sounds like avoidance to me.

This question was screaming for answers!!!  So, I set out to find my own……and posed the following on Linkedin:

Men, would love your feedback. Article by @David Measer, ref: the book Lean In, he states “An informal survey of 20 of my male colleagues found that zero men had read the book, and none planned to.” His article failed to provide feedback on that finding, and I’m positive many women would love to understand why that is – why would men choose not to read the book?

So far, only one gentleman has stepped up, and yet he provides some very interesting observations for both women, as well as authors everywhere:

From Ken Uehara

Hi Bernadette, my gut response for not wanting to pick up the book is the title itself. It seems like a book written specifically for women. To me, it’s an issue of relevance. This is the same reason I had bypassed Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for so long, simply because I’m not interested in motorcycles. The topics covered in that book, however, expand on many more relevant topics, much like David’s argument that Lean In IS actually relevant for men.

That being said, Lean In is the current book we’re reading and discussing in our company bookclub. When the topics that span gender lines are highlighted (which has been done in the bookclub), it makes for an easier sell to read. I hope that helps!————————————

I responded to Ken that his answer was very helpful…and here are 3 reasons why:

1) He highlights that Titles of books mean everything; and could mean the success or failure of reaching the intended audience, if not clearly defined. And being an author, that means everything to me.

Now, Sheryl may not have been targeting men, only to soon realize how relevant a message it is for them. But if her intention was to educate both women and men, then more work obviously was needed to ensure the Title, SubTitle or context on the book cover and/or marketing messages was clear.

2) Yes, many men have read the book, and definitely agree it is relevant for them to read; highlighting a greater understanding of women, the challenges they face, and the hangups or bitches as I call them, they deal with in business and at home.

3) Lastly, I personally found it really cool that Ken’s company, Denison Consulting (shout out!!!!), has a bookclub AND their reading spans gender lines. HOORAY to them!!!

All of that said…. I love when 1 question can spur multiple learnings…. What are your thoughts? And if you are a man reading this, why would or wouldn’t you read Lean In? We would love to know.

Bernadette Boas is the ball of fire behind Ball of Fire Consulting, Ball of Fire Inc. (media/publishing) and her book Shedding the Corporate Bitch, Shifting Bitches to Riches in Life and Business. Bernadette is a speaker, radio personality of Shedding the Bitch Radio, business growth consultant and coach, and the leader of the Shedding the Bitch® movement; transforming individuals, businesses and their company cultures to one of RICHness and profitability.


One Response to “3 Key Tips from One Question – Titles are everything, Lean In is for Men, and Company Bookclubs are Cool!”

  1. Ken Uehara says:

    Thank you for the company shout out, Bernadette. The summary points of my babbling were well done; makes me seem like I know what I’m talking about.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge