Rising Together (Book Review)

Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace

Sally Helgesen. 2023. Hachette Book Group. ISBN: 9780306828300. 215 pages.
30.00 (hardcover).

The Wall Street Journal stated that Sally Helgesen wrote “one of the best books on leadership of all time” and credited her with “bringing the language of inclusion to business” (back cover). Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace builds on Helgesen’s previous writing about inclusion as she offers practical ways to build inclusion into the workplace. She does not focus on why inclusion is important. Instead, she has a focus on how to create a more inclusive workplace. This is in response to what audiences have asked her to talk and write about.

Before providing practical tips, Hegelsen gives a big picture comment by effectively arguing that a focus on inclusion in today’s workplace is not surprising and instead a logical evolution. With the Great Resignation, companies are scrambling to find enough workers (p. xviii). An inclusive workplace where “everyone rises” can attract and keep top talent. This explains the interest today in how to create an inclusive workplace.

The organization of Rising Together revolves in part around what Helgesen calls triggers. For example, if a woman proposes an idea, and it falls on deaf ears, she may find a man expressing the same idea with a positive reception. Instead of this triggering the response – what a jerk he is or feeling for the woman that the situation is “impossible” – the woman can speak up and say she is happy to hear someone agreeing with her idea (p. 10). Yes, this is a bit of a work-around, yet Helgesen argues that this can be effective for the woman to get the credit she deserves instead of getting no recognition or simply venting to a sympathetic ear after the meeting.

If you are a manager wanting to improve on a poor track record of hiring and/or retaining people who create an inclusive workplace, a manager who wants to keep a currently effective inclusive workplace, an employee who wants to rise in the workplace, a student or teacher wanting to learn more about inclusivity, or any countless variation of this audience, you will find something of value in Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace. You will find practical information as well as an idealistic vision of how to rise together and bridge divides.

By Jeanette Evans

A version of this review appeared in Technical Communication.