Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is an enormously successful businesswoman who is now the COO (chief operating officer) of Facebook. She decided to write Lean In to argue that in the last thirty years little has changed for women who hope to succeed in careers. Sandberg has been criticized for skimming over the murk-filled quarry of women’s issues with her multimillion-dollar jet of a self. Actually, ‘criticized’ is too mild a word. Many professional critics and pundits have slammed her.
There is merit in the criticism of Lean In because it often reiterates well-known studies and facts. But I think it’s a perfect book for teens because they are so busy with schoolwork that they probably don’t know much of what Sandberg has to say. Add to this that the book is short by adult standards—228 pages—and it’s as unthreatening as it is informative.
Sandberg takes on the fact that there are few women in very powerful positions. Something she says which is new in my reading is that nothing is going to change if women don’t help one another. Women see that one woman is in a powerful position in a company, and they want to be that queen bee. But they have to change the vision from queen bee to seeing half of the powerful people in any endeavor as women since they are half of the population. She also gives advice on what a mentor really is and how someone finds this life-changing person. She notes that too often women sacrifice for work when the sacrifice is wholly unnecessary—so they shouldn’t be afraid to find out what is necessary and then only make necessary sacrifices. She contends that women have a way of mentally leaving the group of successful people long before they leave the workforce by assuming that their futures will not allow them to succeed at a high level because they will become mothers, etc. She asks them not to leave before they leave—not to give up challenges even before they get married or becomes pregnant. She asks them to think differently. And that bit of new advice makes for interesting reading.
This is a good read for both guys and girls. Guys can see how to support women in future relationships (and that support will benefit the guys in many ways). Girls can take on a new mindset about their own success and about supporting one another to the benefit of all.