Lyn, one of several Src-family tyrosine kinases in immune cells, is noted for its ability to negatively regulate signaling pathways through phosphorylation of inhibitory receptors, enzymes, and adaptors. Somewhat paradoxically, it is also a key mediator in several pathways of B cell activation, such as CD19 and CD180. Whether Lyn functions to promote or inhibit immune cell activation depends on the stimulus and the developmental state, meaning that the consequences of Lyn activity are context dependent. The importance of regulating Lyn activity is exemplified by the pathological conditions that develop in both lyn(-/-) and lyn gain-of-function mice (lyn(up/up)), including lethal antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases and myeloid neoplasia. Here, we review the outcomes of altered Lyn activity within the framework of B cell development and differentiation and the circumstances that appear to dictate the outcome.