Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I've had this book hidden in one of my floor stacks at home for months.  Wanted to read it, but couldn't find it.  Finally found it a few weeks ago.    Slowly transitioning into a new career made me want to see what Sheryl Sandberg had to say about women and the workforce.  It was very eye opening, and as a woman more than  half-way through my working life,  a lot of it rang true for me.

Sheryl works at Facebook.  She's a big kahuna there and has had an impressive work life.  She's a big advocate for women supporting women, and speaking up for yourself in order to be successful.  Most of what she has to say for women comes from personal experience.  We still have to fight for promotions, still have to fight against stupid sexism, and have to believe in ourselves.  One point Sheryl makes has rung so true to me that I keep it in mind all the time. She talks about men applying for positions at work that they don't necessarily qualify for; women will look over a job description and if they don't fit all the criteria they  won't apply.  More men get better paying jobs because they actually try for positions above and beyond where they are now.  Women need to apply a fashion rule to the whole job seeking thing:  don't be too matchy-matchy.  This is painful for me, since I have no fashion sense and don't like to take fashion risks--by golly my shoes and shirt had better fall in line with the rest of my color scheme.  Heck no.  Wear the yellow shoes; wear that bold shirt.  I've learned to have the courage to apply for positions at school that are outside my comfort boundaries.  I have to take a leap of faith that what knowledge I do have will be the springboard to learning something completely new.   After all, I know the answer will be "no" if I don't try at all.  Putting myself out there is my way of "leaning in ".  I'm learning to have the courage to send myself out there, even for opportunities that I may not be perfectly matched to--take a deep breath and jump!

This book has had many fans and many haters.  I am a fan.  I wish I had this book when I was much younger, but much of it still applies.  All women need to support each other and build a network.  And by doing this, that doesn't mean ignore the men.  Your network includes them, too.  Hopefully we can all work in a place where honesty, collaboration, and fairness are a normal, everyday practice.  Sometimes speaking up can be dangerous; I think we've all be in those situations.  Knowing how and when to pick your battles certainly is an art.   I enjoyed Sheryl's book.  It opened my eyes to things I've seen and heard for years in the workplace, and given me some tools for my professional work tool belt.  

I will say some of the book didn't apply to me, a single woman with no children past the age of having kids.  But whether or not you have a husband or kids, you still need to balance your work and home life.  We are all busy.  

I, for one, am a fan of Sheryl Sandberg.  Read the book, take from it what you want.  I certainly learned a lot!

Rating:  7/10 for a business book that gives sound advice for working women with personal stories told to illustrate key points.  

Available in hardcover, e-book, and audio.


  1. Than for reviewing this. I've been wondering about it for a while.

  2. This looks like a book that I would love to read...
    Enjoyed your review


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