Journal article

Why are Self-Help Books with Career Advice for Women Popular?

Isabel Metz, Savita Kumra

Academy of Management Perspectives | Academy of Management | Published : 2019


Self-help books with career advice for women who aspire to leadership are popular. This popularity is somewhat surprising, in that the advice appears to take us back to the “fix the women” approach to career advancement of the 1960s and 1970s. Sheryl Sandberg’s (2013)Lean In is a vivid example of this popular genre. In this paper, we use Sandberg’s book to examine why a focus on personal agency is resonating with so many women. We explain the success of Lean In from the working woman’s perspective, comparing and contrasting the academic and popular literatures. We then reflect on the relevance of individual action as a catalyst for change in relation to the more difficult-to-change barriers ..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers