Title: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Fun Fact: When shown resumes identical except for gender, people tend to consider the man more qualified.
Review Summary: I can’t promise everyone will love this book as much as I did, but the world would be a better place if everyone read it. Definitely an eye-opener!
It’s not often I agree completely with the hyperbole found in book cover blurbs, but Lean In is in fact both “an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth.” After getting in on the ground floor of Google and working as the chief operating officer at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has plenty of experience as a working a woman. She’s seen firsthand the challenges women face in the workplace, including the way women sometimes hold themselves back. This book includes some great advice for helping women overcome their own fears and others’ steretypes to become stronger participants and potential leaders in the workplace.
This book had all the hallmarks of a great self-help book. As I’ve said before, to me that means solid research which teaches you something interesting and leads to actionable advice, all spiced up with some interesting personal stories. Lean In nailed it on all counts. Sheryl makes a very strong argument for why it’s better for everyone if more women become leaders. Even if you personally don’t want a high-powered career, it’s nice to have someone at the top who will think about things like pregnancy parking. Companies with women leaders are more successful and people are happier working in diverse teams. She presents a ton of studies showing the stereotypes women have to overcome to be successful and she also does an incredible job giving practical advice for dealing with stereotypes without perpetuating them.
Given the focus of the book, Sheryl talks most about areas where women are more likely to be weak in the workplace, but a lot of her advice seemed to me like it would be useful to anyone. She also includes suggestions that nearly anyone can implement, whether you are currently a leader or in a more junior position, male or female, business woman or academic. I enjoyed reading this book so much! I gained a lot of insight into myself and a lot of helpful suggestions for ways I can personally do more to push myself at work. This is one of the few books I’ve read that makes me want to just buy everyone I know a copy, because I truly think the world woudl be a better place if we were all aware of the insidiousness of stereotyping. For instance, did you know that women who negotiate for a higher salary are more likely to be disliked as a result than a man who does the same? Or that men are more likely to raise their hand in class? Or that women perform more poorly on math tests if they have to fill in their gender before doing the test? Because I think everyone knowing is an important first step in changing things. So, read this book. Then give it a to a friend.