Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theatres, dominated opinion pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine,...

Title:Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0385349947
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:217 pages

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Reviews

  • Hillary
    Mar 09, 2013

    I highly recommend this book. As a single mom near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, the negative reviews would have led me to believe 'Lean In' wasn't for me and that only an elite few could relate. To the contrary, I found that Sandberg lends a clear, relevant, necessary voice to issues of leadership and equality for women and men and understanding for parents working in and out of the home.

    It's a quick yet engaging read. She's the first author I've read who shared what may be our genera

    I highly recommend this book. As a single mom near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, the negative reviews would have led me to believe 'Lean In' wasn't for me and that only an elite few could relate. To the contrary, I found that Sandberg lends a clear, relevant, necessary voice to issues of leadership and equality for women and men and understanding for parents working in and out of the home.

    It's a quick yet engaging read. She's the first author I've read who shared what may be our generation's earlier view of feminism - yep, good, done, thanks - and the fear I always had of being labeled a feminist. But I am.

    The issues she raises are important. The inequality, far reaching. Sandberg makes excellent points on this being an issue of equality for both sexes. I have a son in college - I want his options wide open.

    Several years ago I had to start from scratch, to put my public university master's to work waiting tables and then claw to get back into a professional position. Somewhere in there, I chose to lose my voice. I became afraid. I need this job. But what would I do if I wasn't afraid? It's an excellent question.

    My choices have been different from Sandberg's yet the book still resonated with me. I look forward to participating and taking a seat at the table.

    Lean In is a call for leadership, an invitation to participate in creating a society that values women, mothers, men, fathers, and in which women value and support each other and ourselves. Bravo, Ms. Sandberg, and thank you.

    I'm Leaning In.

  • Yukari Watanabe
    Mar 11, 2013

    I feel sad that so many people criticize Sheryl's book WITHOUT reading it. When I told my husband that I was reading "Lean In", he said, "Oh..., but people say it's for only rich elite women who can afford full time nannies." That is a result of malicious rumors.

    I'm not a businesswoman and my background is very different from Sheryl's, but I agree with almost everything she says in this book. I have struggled with the same things for the last 50 years. I'm not competitive and I never wanted to b

    I feel sad that so many people criticize Sheryl's book WITHOUT reading it. When I told my husband that I was reading "Lean In", he said, "Oh..., but people say it's for only rich elite women who can afford full time nannies." That is a result of malicious rumors.

    I'm not a businesswoman and my background is very different from Sheryl's, but I agree with almost everything she says in this book. I have struggled with the same things for the last 50 years. I'm not competitive and I never wanted to become a big shot. But, I wanted to work and when I did a good job I wanted to be recognized. I wanted to continue working after I had a baby even though my husband made 5 times as much as me and financially didn't make sense to hire a nanny. I thought I was selfish to feel sad about not working. I became depressed for a long time. Now I have a great work (even though it doesn't pay well) because my husband understood my needs and started to support me full-heartedly. Wouldn't that be better if it happens to every woman?

    I believe that's the reason Sheryl wrote the book. We have to help change the world so that our sisters and daughters don't need to go through the same thing. Men will also benefit from women who are happy because they can fulfill their desire to work and achieve.

    This book is a great conversation starter. You might want to read it with your partner, and talk about the issues you have always wanted to bring up and couldn't.

  • Jasmine
    Mar 13, 2013

    This is a great start on this particular conversation, but Sandberg leaves out two large groups of women; women of color and women who are not wealthy. While many women want to sit at the table and lean as far in as the rest of those at the table many women are not invited and/or do not have the means to take the risk. When you are worried about how you are going to pay for today, it is difficult to take the plunge especially if you have others who are dependent on you.

    I applaud Sandberg for wr

    This is a great start on this particular conversation, but Sandberg leaves out two large groups of women; women of color and women who are not wealthy. While many women want to sit at the table and lean as far in as the rest of those at the table many women are not invited and/or do not have the means to take the risk. When you are worried about how you are going to pay for today, it is difficult to take the plunge especially if you have others who are dependent on you.

    I applaud Sandberg for writing this book in the most authentic way she may know, but in order for me to give her a standing ovation I need to feel included.

  • LDJ
    Mar 15, 2013

    Although this book is certain to help many women, I gave it 4 stars because some of the advice has already been shared in similar books (perhaps without as much research and statistics to back things up) but still...

    Someone asked me for a cliffs notes version and the best I can say is to search online for Sheryl Sandberg's TEDWomen talk in 2010. It is a 15 minute long speech that basically sums up her most pertinent points in this book.

    This isn't necessarily a book on how to climb the career lad

    Although this book is certain to help many women, I gave it 4 stars because some of the advice has already been shared in similar books (perhaps without as much research and statistics to back things up) but still...

    Someone asked me for a cliffs notes version and the best I can say is to search online for Sheryl Sandberg's TEDWomen talk in 2010. It is a 15 minute long speech that basically sums up her most pertinent points in this book.

    This isn't necessarily a book on how to climb the career ladder, as some might think, it offers some advice for your "home life" as well (especially about picking the right partner).

    I am glad she wrote this book and that it is getting so much attention because we (women) need to hear these things.

    I don't think anyone who actually reads this book will argue (much) with her points, despite some media/mommy bloggers trying to paint this as "blaming women". Ms Sandberg is actually not blaming anyone. She is simply sharing the current situation and suggesting ways we can solve existing problems.

    In a perfect world we would not need any books to discuss the "situation" but the reality is women have more education and less leadership roles. What are we going to do about that? I liked this book and I am also hosting a blog giveaway to share "the message".

  • Erica
    Apr 02, 2013

    Read this book if you want to get inside the head of a power elite. Read this book if you want to hear about all of the things that women do wrong, to make sure you don't make the same mistakes. And then, read this book if you want to read all about why Marissa Mayer should be supported and treated as our hero, as opposed to our oppressor.

    I really wanted to like this book. As a working Mom who has leaned into opportunities, even with a child, I felt the message would resonate with me. And at som

    Read this book if you want to get inside the head of a power elite. Read this book if you want to hear about all of the things that women do wrong, to make sure you don't make the same mistakes. And then, read this book if you want to read all about why Marissa Mayer should be supported and treated as our hero, as opposed to our oppressor.

    I really wanted to like this book. As a working Mom who has leaned into opportunities, even with a child, I felt the message would resonate with me. And at some points, it did. When she recommended we work our tails off up to the point of giving birth, I agreed. When she said we should demand job security when we take our maternity leave, I agreed. And when she said that we must demand more from our partners, I also agreed. But there was just too much about this book that I did not like. By the time I got to the last chapter and had to hear all about how great Marissa Mayer is, I stopped reading. Are you kidding me? She is great? Taking off two weeks is great? For who, exactly? Her? So great that she had to build a private nursery next to her office to accommodate her childcare needs? This book does what every feminist diatribe does - fails to give recognition to the great job a women does - motherhood. Why don't women want to be feminists? Because of this. I am a professional who is excelling up the career ladder, but I also embraced the most important part of my life, which is being a Mom. I forced myself to take 7 months off, most of which I loved, but some of which was harder than working a job, and I did it for my child. I am sorry, but there is nothing that can replace the importance of this. Not a Nanny, not a Dad. And why do we have to act like this is an anti-woman position? Because if you do, you'll lose respect and fall off the career ladder. B.S. Not true.

    I would read about the first half of this book and then stop. The rest is just garbage. Reading about a powerful woman dressing her kids in school clothes at night to save 15 minutes, brilliant says Sandberg. Really? Sounds like selfish child abuse to me. But some of the message is good. Push yourselves women to do better. Don't take yourself off the ladder (or jungle gym) until you actually give birth, not before. There is no reason to. And find your own mentors without asking. Put yourselves out there. But then stop at that. Because I truly believe that the job of motherhood is way more important than this woman gives credit to, and you can and should treat motherhood as important as your quest for power and recognition.

  • Ben Jaques-Leslie
    Apr 07, 2013

    Lean In... Oh Lean In... the book of the moment. There are some large complaints about this book. That it should be men who change their behavior at work. That this book undermines the need to make structural changes in work to diminish barriers to women. That women are to blame for the inequality at work. All of these are important, but they aren't what the book is about. This is a book about how women can change their individual behavior to help them succeed in business as it currently exists.

    Lean In... Oh Lean In... the book of the moment. There are some large complaints about this book. That it should be men who change their behavior at work. That this book undermines the need to make structural changes in work to diminish barriers to women. That women are to blame for the inequality at work. All of these are important, but they aren't what the book is about. This is a book about how women can change their individual behavior to help them succeed in business as it currently exists. Maybe this isn't the best way to reach equality and maybe it's not the most important thing, but that is what the book is about. And, to be fair, Sandberg does talk about the need for structural and cultural change as well as that men should change their behavior. The author talks about how getting women into positions of leadership will help to change structure and culture, which is probably true.

    What bothered me about this, it the author's blindness to her own privilege. She casually notes that she has a nanny. She talks about how, when she was a new mother, she and her husband had two year period where he worked in LA and she in the bay. It was resolved when he became CEO of SurveyMonkey and

    from Portland to San Francisco in order to be closer to his family. (Uprooting or firing how many people in this process!) She shares an anecdote about taking her children with her on the eBay private jet. It's not that she took her children with her, but that a non-elite would have to pay for two plane tickets for his or her children to do something. Wealth makes a huge difference in constructing a life that balances the desires for a career and a family. She does not appreciate this.

    Couple of other thoughts:

    1. The book gets more annoying as you read it. It you want the best that it has to offer read the first three chapters, then give up.

    2. Sandberg shares an anecdote about a friend who devised a test to see whether a guy was worthy to date. Step 1: cancel first date for a made up business meeting and see how he re-acts. If he is not bothered, then proceed to date. Step 2: ask him to come to Sao Paulo for a date. Both of these are designed to test how accommodating the man is to her career. Yes, this is a good way to start a relationship, by testing the person and lying. Also,

    Another example of Sandberg's complete obliviousness to wealth.

    3. Last thought. Towards the end of the book Sandberg is trying to say that the choice to stay at home with children is as valid as staying in work. The main way that she makes this point is by saying that women who stay at home can volunteer in all of these different ways, benefiting the world. Which sugests to me that justification for a personal decision is only valid to the degree that there is some social benefit. I'm committed to trying to improve the world, but doing that makes me happy. People are justified in making decisions that increase their joy in life. It doesn't matter how much their decision benefits society. For most of us there is some overlap between doing good in the world and feeling good about that, but there doesn't have to be. The decision to stay home or work is justifiable to the degree that it is the right decision for the individual.

  • Ceilidh
    May 31, 2013

    2.5 stars to be more precise. Sandberg is far more likeable than I expected and I appreciated her self-deprecating sense of humour, honesty about her insecurities and enthusiasm for supporting other women. I nodded along quite a bit when she talked about crying at work (been there, done that) and was happy to see her dismantle the guilt-trip fallacy that is "women having it all". Sadly, Lean In is corporate feminism with an extremely narrow focus that excludes most women.

    Corporate feminism is t

    2.5 stars to be more precise. Sandberg is far more likeable than I expected and I appreciated her self-deprecating sense of humour, honesty about her insecurities and enthusiasm for supporting other women. I nodded along quite a bit when she talked about crying at work (been there, done that) and was happy to see her dismantle the guilt-trip fallacy that is "women having it all". Sadly, Lean In is corporate feminism with an extremely narrow focus that excludes most women.

    Corporate feminism is the idea that if we put enough women in CEO positions then that'll trickle down to the rest of the gender. Sadly, it just doesn't work that way. Sandberg is at least self-aware enough to acknowledge how privileged she is but that still blinds her a little. Her focus is narrow & ignores costs of education, childcare, women in part-time work, lack of mentors, sexual harassment in the workplace, the exclusion of women of colour from business and discrimination in the workplace, etc. Some of these issues are briefly touched upon, and I emphasise "briefly" a lot there, but it's just not enough. For example, Sandberg talks about finding good mentors because studies have proven how effective they are in maintaining morale, seeking promotion and so on, but no solid solutions are provided. I don't expect Sandberg to do so because that's tough enough for any one person to do, but it's disappointing to see this book going on the right track then suddenly swerve off course.

    It's clear that Sandberg understands, or is at least aware of racial issues in the corporate machine and the huge disparities in race and gender present in CEO and COO positions. Her frequent use of footnotes backs that up. That's what makes it all the more aggravating when she just doesn't go into these issues further. She makes a lot of sensible points, particularly the issue of internalised patriarchy and how women are more prone to doubting their abilities than men, but once again, the solutions are few and far between. I wish it was as easy as just bucking up and demanding my seat at the table but the numbers aren't in my favour. I'm not COO of Facebook, nor did I go to Harvard Business School and get mentored by Larry Summers.

    Sandberg acknowledges her privilege but doesn't seem to understand that not all women can lean in because we're leaning on too many other women to help us deal with the load. She praises Marissa Mayer, who became CEO of Yahoo whilst heavily pregnant then built a daycare centre for her son in her office, and declares that we must band together and support other women instead of criticising them like Mayer was. She does this will conveniently omitting Mayer's decision to ban working from home and demanding everyone come into the office to work. These women weren't given the option of personal daycare like Mayer allotted for herself, and remember the USA is the only country in the developed world without fully paid maternity leave. Childcare costs, one of the big barriers to women remaining in the workplace, was totally ignored in favour of the "sisterhood" argument to support Mayer. Feminism doesn't need to suck up to women in power; it needs to hold them accountable and make sure we all get a fair shake.

    The book isn't bad, it just feels like an extended TED Talk, which it essentially is. It's a disjointed but readable mish-mash of memoir, feminist tract and business guide, and there are admirable points in there. I just can't support a fallacy that claims if we support the women at the top then soon we'll all benefit. Real life doesn't work that way.

    EDIT: Downgrading my rating because I don't like hypocrites.

    Lean in, Sheryl! Right on top of all those unpaid interns who must come from privileged families in order to be able to afford such an opportunity. Because it’s not as if women of lower classes are shut out of positions like this based on their social standing.

    This is why corporate trickle down Lean In feminism is a con. Unfortunately, most of us can’t lean in because we’re not even allowed to sit at the table.

  • Hanne
    Aug 08, 2013

    Little story: In my previous department we all got nicknames, all of them meant to be very descriptive of the person but also really positive. They were brainstormed and then voted on, which actually was a really fun team-building. But while most people did indeed get some amazing nicknames, my final one was…

    .

    After hearing that, I remember heading to the toilets for a good cry, which is something I hardly ever do (when there are no books/movies or music involved that is). Of everythin

    Little story: In my previous department we all got nicknames, all of them meant to be very descriptive of the person but also really positive. They were brainstormed and then voted on, which actually was a really fun team-building. But while most people did indeed get some amazing nicknames, my final one was…

    .

    After hearing that, I remember heading to the toilets for a good cry, which is something I hardly ever do (when there are no books/movies or music involved that is). Of everything that I am, they picked Bossy as my most descriptive quality, thought it was funny and in some twisted way thought they were doing me a favour as well.

    So when I read the following quote, I was already sold:

    I had many mixed feelings while reading this book. On one hand it is ridiculously sad that society is still where it is, and on the other hand I kept nodding so hard and sometimes I felt like I was hit by alien attack. That's the impact some chapters had on me. Aliens, here, right now, in my head!

    Similarly to Quiet by Susan Cain, I just felt that it was important for me to read this book. Not that I have CEO ambitions (far from it, I actually really dislike managing people, which makes the whole ‘bossiness’ an even bigger conundrum!) but as a working woman it still struck a chord with me.

    What i liked about this book, is that it isn't a let's-sit-all-together-and-whine about the situation. Sandberg gives you some insights into our own brain, and how we are often doing this to ourselves as well.

    For me, she did so especially in the first few chapters. The later chapters are more about families and kids, which is a bit less applicable to me now. Nonetheless, she made me think, and made me realize a few things about myself I didn’t

    know. There were many alien lightning attack moments, but the most striking one for me was the paragraph about ‘feeling like a fraud’:

    So true. No matter how many good performance reviews, no matter how often peers tell me they like me on their project because they’ll know that it’s in good hands with me – I still think I will be ‘discovered’ some day for the imposter I am.

    Sometimes when people to ask me to send an old study to them, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to. Not because I don’t like sharing, but because I’m convinced it’ll be wrong. I would love to re-look at all the data just to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid in the first place. How silly is that?

    I sometimes even feel like that on Goodreads. It’s is a mystery to me why people would follow me, or ask to friend me out of the blue, or like my reviews.

    Really, I’m not a smart person and I don’t understand literature at all, I’m just a robot who puts random words behind one another and somehow so far I have regularly managed to trick people into thinking that my review makes sense.

    Aren't I lucky?


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