discussion · non-fiction

Lean In? Kind Of


Lean In Women, Work and the Will to Lead

By Sheryl Sandberg

Published January 1st 2013

Kindle Edition 240 Pages

Lean In–Sheryl Sandberg’s provocative, inspiring book about women and power–grew out of an electrifying TED talk Sandberg gave in 2010, in which she expressed her concern that progress for women in achieving major leadership positions had stalled. The talk became a phenomenon and has since been viewed nearly two million times. In Lean In, she fuses humorous personal anecdotes, singular lessons on confidence and leadership, and practical advice for women based on research, data, her own experiences, and the experiences of other women of all ages. Sandberg has an uncanny gift for cutting through layers of ambiguity that surround working women, and in Lean In she grapples, piercingly, with the great questions of modern life. Her message to women is overwhelmingly positive. She is a trailblazing model for the ideas she so passionately espouses, and she’s on the pulse of a topic that has never been more relevant. (Synopsis from goodreads)

I decided to make this more of a discussion not a review. There are tons of reviews out there. I just felt like I wanted to put some thoughts down. Here goes.

To be completely honest Lean In did nothing for me. I am not a feminism expert but I still felt like this was just things I’ve heard before, recycled material. I kept thinking this book was for a very specific type of woman it just wasn’t me. That woman is fairly young, highly educated or about to be, fairly affluent and white. The idea that the things in this book would work for a woman of color (WOC) the way they would for a white woman is pretty doubtful. Even if a WOC met the other  criteria she would have many other challenges that a white woman wouldn’t to get through.   Excluding or forgetting WOC whether on purpose or accident is not a new theme in feminism, it’s always been there. I don’t believe that Sheryl Sandberg consciously set out to write a book that excluded a large segment of women, she was only writing what she knows.  I also don’t think that every book needs to be for every person in order to be a good book. The problem I have is that she sort of mentions  race and then quickly moves on I felt like it was almost a cop-out. Maybe she mentions it because she knows it would be a glaring void but not, because it’s something that seems to matter to her. The issue of education and wealth also figure prominently. Sandberg wants women to lean in and sit at the table but to get there you either need wealth or education on your side. Let’s face it if you are poor and undereducated you aren’t even getting in the building unless you’re the cleaning person.  To Sandbergs credit she does mention a few times how lucky she is to have what she has i.e.. money and help and sometimes friends with private jets who offer her rides.  Overall this book just didn’t do anything for me. I had the good fortune to grow up in an egalitarian home with 2 parents for the first 12 years of my life. My father worked outside the home but when he got home he cooked, cleaned read me books helped with homework, went on school trips and so much more.  He was also incredibly secure about it all and it never bothered him if, and when people gave him crap about it.  Because of the way I was raised I completely agree with Sandberg when she says that fathers being more involved in the home life is a great and necessary thing.  My mother was also the single most confident person I have ever known. The idea that she would ever approach anything thinking she couldn’t do it is unimaginable. Had my mom chosen a corporate career she would have advanced quickly and wouldn’t have given a second thought to whether or not people liked her. Perhaps that is why so much of this book just didn’t reach me.  For all my apparent dislike for this book I do think it valuable to someone. This book would be great for girls in their teens and young women in their twenties who don’t have that confident role model I had. I can see Sheryl Sandberg being a great model for those women in tech field or corporate world out there to turn to when they are just starting out.

So tell me are you going to Lean In?

Until Next Time


One thought on “Lean In? Kind Of

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