Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Gave Lean In a Chance

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When my Meetup group announced that our next event would center around Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, I thought, “Oh no. No way am I reading a book written by some high-powered female executive. And a Facebook one at that. I’ve got enough books to read.” I immediately wrote the book off and did not want to give it a chance because I assumed it would be filled with feminist jargon that did not concern me. I didn’t even read the book description our organizer provided from Amazon.

Thankfully, the universe intervened, and forced me to listen to someone else talk about the book. When I bothered to listen and be open-minded, I realized that I did want to read a book about women, work, and leadership.

I still approached Lean In warily. Perhaps Sandberg would drone on about women’s rights and the unfairness she’s experienced in the workplace. These are things that don’t usually concern me. Rarely in my professional life have I thought I was treated a certain way because I of my gender. Normally, I don’t doubt that I can execute at work. It doesn’t bother me a whole lot to be the only woman in a room full of men at work. Yet, I found some perspective through Sandberg’s book.

Yes, she talks about equality in the workplace, and at home. But I didn’t find it to be didactic, or whiny for that matter. She takes her reader through her professional and personal experiences, and admits to the times when she could have done better. Sandberg also discusses her shortcomings, her doubts and her struggles. She even points out some very interesting studies. My favorites being the 2003 Heidi/Howard study conducted by a Columbia Business School professor and a New York University professor; along with a study conducted in the UK about employment and socio-emotional behavior.  I would go into detail, but I really want you to read this book.

Maybe I liked Lean In so much because like Sandberg, I have been called bossy for my entire life. Maybe it’s because I work full-time, and I’m in a leadership position at my current job. Whatever the reason(s), Lean In resonated with me, and it’s an important book for everyone to read. And I mean everyone.

If you work in your home or outside your home; if you’re a woman or a man; if you’re entry level, middle management or in the C-Suite, there is something you can take away from this book. If you have a daughter (or three like my parents), then my guess is you probably want her to become a confident woman who find success and happiness in life. This book isn’t the end-all, be-all, but it’s headed in the right direction.

My favorite Lean In excerpts:
  • Think personally, act communally (when negotiating)
  • If you’re offered seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat, you get on (career advice)
  • Done is better than perfect (Facebook poster)
  • The best way to make room for both life and career is to make choices deliberately – to set limits and stick to them
View all my reviews

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