Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.
Pages: 217 (hardback)
Publisher: Published March 11th 2013 by Knopf
Rating: 8 out of 10
Source: Checked out of library and then borrowed from a book club member
Date Completed: January 31, 2014
Even before I read Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, I heard so much about it that I already had the idea that I would generally agree with her points, but have some issue with the nuance. I did appreciate the conversation the book generated and the general premise that more should be done to empower and support women to reach their full potential.
The biggest surprise for me was how many of her suggestions and approaches I could apply RIGHT NOW. In particular, I was struck with how much I apologize for things which are not my fault. Even as I strive to be confident, when I feel nervous or anxious (which happens often in a new environment) my default mode is to apologize. Some of my favorite chapters of the book were about like ability (again could relate to this desire), true partnership (certainly striving for this ALL THE TIME in my marriage), and having it all (love that she emphasized the definition of this varies from person to person and will evolve).
The most surprising and helpful section to me was on Don't Leave Before You Leave. I fight the urge to worry constantly about a future where all of my fears have come true becoming a reality. I also tend to create anxiety about how I will manage in the future. See worrying about going to law school and not being able to get a job after graduation because of the possibility of a recession. See also being in the first trimester of pregnancy and being concerned with how we were going to pay for our daughter's education. There are some genuine concerns in there, but giving so much energy to a worst case scenario can as Sandberg suggests create limitations and reduce possibilities.
I appreciate the criticisms that she has a very privileged life which influences her perspective, but overall I think that there is something in the book which can be applied to everyone. Plus, I love the work Lean In.Org is doing to create systematic change, including Ban Bossy and changing stock photos to portray women and girls in powerful ways.