mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Manager Reads - Whistleblower

Three years ago Susan Fowler published an explosive blog post detailing sexual harassment at Uber. Two weeks ago, she released an autobiographical book on her life including her time at and after Uber called Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber. In this episode of Manager Reads, we dive into this book!

Who recommended the book? This book was selected, in partnership with the Women+ Guild at Twitch, as March’s Leadership Book Club book. March is Women’s History Month so we wanted to pick a book highlighting women in the workplace. I turned to Karen Catlin, author of Better Allies, and Katrina Jones, Diversity and Inclusion Leader at Amazon, for recommendations. They provided a list of great recommendations. Many thanks! We decided to go with Whistleblower as it fit in with a recent Twitch panel discussion on the ramifications of speaking out but I’m sure we’ll be reading the other books Karen and Katrina recommended in the near future.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? This cover is clean. It features a headshot of the author, Susan Fowler, in the background. I really like how the title, subtitle, author name, and the lines separating these things are all justified with each other. It looks very clean. Inside features a standard serif font, really thick pages, and generous leading. Fowler is a fantastic writer and a page-turner with great quality paper makes for an excellent page turning experience.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? I loved this book; I started it on Sunday afternoon and wrapped it up by Monday evening. Lots of people have read Fowler’s blog post which highlights harassment at Uber but it was incredibly, incredibly disheartening to read this was not the first occurence of harassment or inequality she experienced. Her time at the University of Pennsylvia, Plaid, and PubNub had a variety of nightmarish stories.

Sadly, as egregious as Uber’s flagrant disdain for the law and basic human decency was Uber is not a one-off. It is not the first company to treat women unjustly and it won’t be the last. Reading Whistleblower I kept asking myself, “What would I do if I worked with Susan and heard about the things she was experiencing?” The status quo simply isn’t good enough, and everyone must be change agents for more equitable workplaces. Where to start with this seemingly daunting mission? Karen Catlin’s Better Allies is a fantastic guide filled with things you can do everyday to build more inclusive workplaces.

Favorite quote from the book? “You should be in the world, but not of the world.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? Fowler’s story of succeeding in the face of adversity from her childhood without compromising her values is both moving and will galvanize you to contribute to safer and more equitable workplaces. We cannot settle for the status quo; we can and must do better.

Notes in Evernote? Notes from this autobiographical book are somewhat sparse but feel free to check out my notes on 🐘.

Most of the world’s wisdom is written down in its best books. Manager Reads is a series covering books on management and leadership, focusing on books that can improve your own leadership with the wisdom of others. Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Check out more at Manager Reads.