Lean In

Lean InLean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Synopsis: Power, equality, and all that jazz.

Thoughts: I typically steer a bit clear of these rather controversial books. You know, keep this little ditty somewhat light-hearted. But after all the buzz surrounding Sheryl Sandberg’s new(ish) book – and really just Sheryl Sandberg in general, I sort of felt like it was my duty to give this book a try. And for the most part, I’m really glad I did. Sandberg clearly has a powerful voice and expresses her thoughts well. As a self-proclaimed data nerd, I also really appreciated that her claims were almost always backed up with studies or numbers of some sort.

Unexpectedly, some of my favorite passages in the book involved her work relationship/pseudo-friendship with Mark Zuckerberg (not someone who I would typically think of as a feminist/equal rights advocate/all around awesome person). It seems like they have a very open and effective relationship, and he comes across as a pretty with-it guy (Given his success, I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised by this.). One of his nuggets of wisdom that really resonated: “He said that when you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress”.

I really only have two complaints, which aren’t huge, but definitely did alter my overall view of the book. First of all, I felt like some of her points were a tad contradictory…i.e. she blabs on about how women should not settle for anything less than what they want because a man would not be willing to settle. Yet then goes on to cite an example of a woman who took a big demotion in a field she wasn’t interested in just to get her foot in the door of Facebook. Now I’m not saying that one point is more valid than the other, however I felt that those kinds of contradictory points took away from some of the validity of Sandberg’s message.

The second thing that bugged me a little was that throughout the book I felt that a lot of her points sort of perpetuated some of the age-old stereotypes of women in the workplace. Maybe it was just her mentioning said stereotypes over (…and over…and over…) again that made me feel this way, but I walked away from the book questioning whether deep down inside, little miss Facebook doesn’t fully buy into everything she says. Eesh, drama!

Overall Grade: B

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