The Glass Closet

Why Coming Out Is Good Business

John Browne

Book

"I wish I had been brave enough to come out earlier during my tenure as the chief executive of BP. I regret it to this day. I know that if I had done so, I would have made more of an impact for other gay men and women. It is my hope that the stories in this book will give some of them the courage to make an impact of their own."
—John Browne

Today gay men and women in the Western world enjoy greater acceptance and more legal protections than ever before. Yet an alarming number of businesspeople choose to remain closeted at work. In The Glass Closet, John Browne, the former chief executive of BP, argues that whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight, it's better for you and your business when you bring your authentic self to work.

Browne draws on the latest research, his own experience as a closeted gay man in the oil industry, and interviews with gay and lesbian leaders to expose the lingering culture of homophobia in corporations around the world, and to inspire the LGBT community to share who they are with their employers and coworkers. Courageous and thought-provoking, this call to arms demonstrates that the hidden cost of hidden lives is far greater than we have previously thought.

Author

John Browne

John Browne

John Browne was the CEO of BP from 1995 to 2007, which he transformed into one of the world's largest companies. He was the president of the Royal Academy of Engineering and is a fellow of the Royal Society, a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the chairman of the trustees of the Tate galleries. He holds degrees from Cambridge and Stanford Universities, was knighted in 1998, and made a life peer in 2001. He is now a partner at Riverstone Holdings, and is the author of the memoir Beyond Business and of Seven Elements That Changed the World.

Reviews

“Culturally significant....[Browne] has taken pains to provide strikingly honest personal narratives and uses them to put a face on the problems at hand.” Library Journal

“A courageous and salutary reminder that despite huge progress, we still have a long way to go to create the kind of tolerant and inclusive society of which business-as this book powerfully argues--must be a driving force.” —-- Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

“Personal and instructive, The Glass Closet provides a compelling roadmap to what, as a society and as individuals, we can achieve if LGBT men and women are completely free from prejudice and anxiety because of who they are.” —--Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman Sachs

The Glass Closet by John Browne is a brave and fascinating book that shows how businesses can lead the way in promoting gay rights and why being yourself is best for business and for you.” —--Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group