When Women Lead

What They Achieve, Why They Succeed, and How We Can Learn from Them


This groundbreaking, deeply reported work from CNBC’s Julia Boorstin reveals the key characteristics that help top female leaders thrive as they innovate, grow businesses, and navigate crises —“a must-read for all leaders as they consider the future of work” (Eve Rodsky, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Play and Find Your Unicorn Space)

Julia Boorstin was thirteen when her mother told her that, by the time she grew up, women could be just as powerful as men, “captains of industry, running the biggest companies!” A decade later, working at a top business publication and seeing the dearth of women in positions of leadership, Boorstin assumed her mom had been wrong. But over the following two decades as a TV reporter and creator of CNBC’s Disruptor 50 franchise, interviewing, and studying thousands of executives, she realized that a gender-equity utopia shouldn’t be a pipe dream. Yes, women faced massive social and institutional headwinds, and struggled with double standards and what psychologists call “pattern matching.” Yet those who thrived, Boorstin found, shared key commonalities that made them uniquely equipped to lead, grow businesses, and navigate crises. They were highly adaptive to change, deeply empathetic in their management style, and much more likely to integrate diverse points of view into their business strategies, filling voids that their male counterparts had overlooked for generations. By utilizing those strengths, they had invented new business models, disrupted industries, and made massive profits along the way.

Here, in When Women Lead, Boorstin brings together the stories of over sixty of those female CEOs and leaders, and provides “critical insights into how women-founded companies begin, operate, and prosper” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Her combination of narrative and research reveals how once-underestimated characteristics, from vulnerability and gratitude to divergent thinking, can be vital superpowers—and that anyone can work these approaches to their advantage. Featuring new interviews with Katrina Lake, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jenn Hyman, Whitney Wolfe Herd, Lena Waithe, Shivani Siroya, Julia Collins, and more, Boorstein’s revelatory book “lays out a new, inclusive vision for leadership and our world at large that we all will benefit from” (Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive).

About the author(s)

Julia Boorstin is CNBC’s Senior Media & Tech correspondent based at the network’s Los Angeles bureau, where she reports and conducts CEO interviews across CNBC programming, and plays a key role on CNBC’s bicoastal tech-focused program TechCheck, delivering reporting, analysis, and interviews around streaming, social, and the convergence of media and technology. In 2013, she created and launched the CNBC Disruptor 50, an annual list she oversees, highlighting the private companies transforming the economy and challenging companies in established industries. Additionally, she reported a documentary on the future of television for the network, “Stay Tuned...The Future of TV” and helped launch CNBC’s “Closing the Gap” initiative, covering the people and companies closing gender gaps, and leads CNBC’s coverage of studies on this topic. Before joining CNBC, Boorstin was a writer and reporter at Fortune magazine, as well as a contributor to “Street Life,” a live market wrap-up segment on CNN Headline News. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a BA in history. She was also an editor of The Daily Princetonian. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her two sons, and their two cats.



“Inspiring stories that provide critical insights into how women-founded companies begin, operate, and prosper.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Filled with top-notch research, practical insight, and stories from the most inspiring women in business, Julia Boorstin lays out a new, inclusive vision for leadership and our world at large that we all will benefit from.” —Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive

“As a pioneer in tech and media reporting, Julia Boorstin knows firsthand what it takes for women to break barriers and drive change.  In this engaging, fast-paced book, she takes you behind the scenes to show how some of the world’s most admired women have made their mark—and offers practical insights on what both men and women can learn from them.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

“Full of valuable takeaways and inspiring stories of female business leaders, Julia Boorstin’s When Women Lead offers many roadmaps for authentic leadership—a must read for all leaders as they consider the future of work.” —Eve Rodsky, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Play and Find Your Unicorn Space

“Women in business are finally stepping forward in unprecedented ways. Through the lens of her own experience, Julia Boorstin recounts their triumphs and setbacks and identifies the obstacles they overcame on their road to success. Any woman with a dream will be inspired by their stories.” —Katie Couric, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Going There

"Julia Boorstin has always been a meticulous journalist who quickly gets to the heart of the matter. Her reporting unpacks the industries that define our culture—technology, media and business—and what she does in When Women Lead is no exception. Her new book is a must-read, not only because it explores the commonalities that help women thrive in business, but also because she tells these stories in an actionable, insightful way. Businesses benefit when women thrive, and this book will help all leaders—men, women, everyone—build more successful, inclusive organizations." Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock

When Women Lead is a delightful read, and frankly a tonic -- one that so many of us need right now. Boorstin tells stories that will make you smile and often pause to check out the business she's describing. Here's to the day when the traits of  "women's leadership" she's describing will simply be "great leadership.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America and bestselling author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

“Impeccably researched and beautifully written, Julia Boorstin's When Women Lead lays out a roadmap for leadership success. Packed with revelatory insights and cogent analysis, it is essential reading for men as well as women in today's complex world.” —Joanne Lipman, bestselling author of That's What She Said 


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