Prather's Pick: "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead"

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Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook. She’s also the author of this week’s featured book: “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”

According to the brief biography on the inside front jacket of the book, Sandberg is ranked on “Fortune’s” list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and one of “Time’s” 100 Most Influential People in the World. She is well-known for a TEDTalk which focused on women in the workplace and how women hold themselves back in their causes. This talk (on social media) has been viewed more than two million times.

Before Facebook, Sandberg was vice-president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and chief of staff at the United States Treasury Department. She is a wife and mother of two, and part of this book deals with what she has learned about balancing her personal life and career.

“Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” is published by Alfred A.Knopf (2013). All of the proceeds of the book are being used to establish Lean In, a nonprofit organization that encourages women to “lean in.”

There’s so much to this book that it’s hard to write what the book is “about” in a sentence or two. Perhaps it can best be summed up as a book that has a wealth of information about how women can lean in to their ambitions and how men can support them.

In the book, Sandberg discusses the way society views women in the workplace and the ways women hold themselves back. It’s about the internal barriers — negative messages — that cause women to pull back when they should be leaning in. Sandberg believes that each woman is unique and as such should define her own goals, whether it be to work inside the home or outside the home, and women should validate each other. She also believes that men should support women, both in the workplace and at home.

In the introduction, Sandberg writes that the book isn’t intended as a memoir or a self-help book or a book on career management. However, she does offer advice, and she does include some stories about her personal experiences. The stories, some of which are humorous, not only allow for enjoyable reading but also help the reader realize that we all make mistakes and we can learn from them. There is honesty about Sandberg’s writing style, and as a result, the reader trusts what she has to say.

Not only does she give her opinions, but Sandberg cites statistics and the research of others as well. There are 34 pages of notes at the end of the book, which cite sources used in the book and, in many cases, provide more information about what was cited. Very impressive!

The book is divided into an introduction and 11 chapters. Some of these chapters include: •What Would You Do if You Weren’t Afraid?

• Success and Likeability’: It’s a Jungle Gym, Not a Ladder

• Make Your Partner a Real Partner

•The Myth of Doing it All

These chapters provide the reader with plenty to think about. For example, there’s the Tiara Syndrome. Sandberg credits Carol Frohlinger and Deborah Kolb, founders of Negotiating Women, Inc., with their description of this syndrome where women “expect that if they keep doing their job well someone will notice them and put a tiara on their head.”

And that’s just a sampling as to what is included in the book.

Following the chapters, in “Let’s Keep Talking…” Sandberg invites the reader to continue the book’s discussion with her and explains how this can be done. The reader can also create and join in Lean In Circles.

This is an inspirational book that can be read over and over. I think it’s terrific!

The hardcover book costs $24.95. It is also a new book at the Craig Moffat County Library.

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