Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Rate this book
Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theatres, dominated opinion pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership. Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they'd feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in. The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, are certainly not in women's favour – of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meagre eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women in Business – draws on her own experience of working in some of the world's most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.

217 pages, Hardcover

First published July 7, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sheryl Sandberg

36 books2,985 followers
SHERYL SANDBERG is chief operating officer at Facebook, overseeing the firm's business operations. Prior to Facebook, Sheryl was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank.

Sheryl received a BA summa cum laude from Harvard University and an MBA with highest distinction from Harvard Business School.

Sheryl is the co-author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy with Wharton professor and bestselling author Adam Grant, which will be released April 24, 2017. She is also the author of the bestsellers Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates. She is the founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build a more equal and resilient world through two key initiatives, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org (launching April 2017). Sheryl serves on the boards of Facebook, the Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, ONE, and SurveyMonkey.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
88,537 (34%)
4 stars
94,087 (36%)
3 stars
51,209 (20%)
2 stars
13,490 (5%)
1 star
7,389 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,108 reviews
Profile Image for Hillary.
80 reviews
March 14, 2013
I highly recommend this book. As a single mom near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, the negative reviews would have led me to believe 'Lean In' wasn't for me and that only an elite few could relate. To the contrary, I found that Sandberg lends a clear, relevant, necessary voice to issues of leadership and equality for women and men and understanding for parents working in and out of the home.

It's a quick yet engaging read. She's the first author I've read who shared what may be our generation's earlier view of feminism - yep, good, done, thanks - and the fear I always had of being labeled a feminist. But I am.

The issues she raises are important. The inequality, far reaching. Sandberg makes excellent points on this being an issue of equality for both sexes. I have a son in college - I want his options wide open.

Several years ago I had to start from scratch, to put my public university master's to work waiting tables and then claw to get back into a professional position. Somewhere in there, I chose to lose my voice. I became afraid. I need this job. But what would I do if I wasn't afraid? It's an excellent question.

My choices have been different from Sandberg's yet the book still resonated with me. I look forward to participating and taking a seat at the table.

Lean In is a call for leadership, an invitation to participate in creating a society that values women, mothers, men, fathers, and in which women value and support each other and ourselves. Bravo, Ms. Sandberg, and thank you.

I'm Leaning In.
Profile Image for Erica.
14 reviews20 followers
December 4, 2013
Read this book if you want to get inside the head of a power elite. Read this book if you want to hear about all of the things that women do wrong, to make sure you don't make the same mistakes. And then, read this book if you want to read all about why Marissa Mayer should be supported and treated as our hero, as opposed to our oppressor.

I really wanted to like this book. As a working Mom who has leaned into opportunities, even with a child, I felt the message would resonate with me. And at some points, it did. When she recommended we work our tails off up to the point of giving birth, I agreed. When she said we should demand job security when we take our maternity leave, I agreed. And when she said that we must demand more from our partners, I also agreed. But there was just too much about this book that I did not like. By the time I got to the last chapter and had to hear all about how great Marissa Mayer is, I stopped reading. Are you kidding me? She is great? Taking off two weeks is great? For who, exactly? Her? So great that she had to build a private nursery next to her office to accommodate her childcare needs? This book does what every feminist diatribe does - fails to give recognition to the great job a women does - motherhood. Why don't women want to be feminists? Because of this. I am a professional who is excelling up the career ladder, but I also embraced the most important part of my life, which is being a Mom. I forced myself to take 7 months off, most of which I loved, but some of which was harder than working a job, and I did it for my child. I am sorry, but there is nothing that can replace the importance of this. Not a Nanny, not a Dad. And why do we have to act like this is an anti-woman position? Because if you do, you'll lose respect and fall off the career ladder. B.S. Not true.

I would read about the first half of this book and then stop. The rest is just garbage. Reading about a powerful woman dressing her kids in school clothes at night to save 15 minutes, brilliant says Sandberg. Really? Sounds like selfish child abuse to me. But some of the message is good. Push yourselves women to do better. Don't take yourself off the ladder (or jungle gym) until you actually give birth, not before. There is no reason to. And find your own mentors without asking. Put yourselves out there. But then stop at that. Because I truly believe that the job of motherhood is way more important than this woman gives credit to, and you can and should treat motherhood as important as your quest for power and recognition.
Profile Image for Ben Jaques-Leslie.
265 reviews36 followers
December 4, 2013
Lean In... Oh Lean In... the book of the moment. There are some large complaints about this book. That it should be men who change their behavior at work. That this book undermines the need to make structural changes in work to diminish barriers to women. That women are to blame for the inequality at work. All of these are important, but they aren't what the book is about. This is a book about how women can change their individual behavior to help them succeed in business as it currently exists. Maybe this isn't the best way to reach equality and maybe it's not the most important thing, but that is what the book is about. And, to be fair, Sandberg does talk about the need for structural and cultural change as well as that men should change their behavior. The author talks about how getting women into positions of leadership will help to change structure and culture, which is probably true.

What bothered me about this, it the author's blindness to her own privilege. She casually notes that she has a nanny. She talks about how, when she was a new mother, she and her husband had two year period where he worked in LA and she in the bay. It was resolved when he became CEO of SurveyMonkey and moved the company from Portland to San Francisco in order to be closer to his family. (Uprooting or firing how many people in this process!) She shares an anecdote about taking her children with her on the eBay private jet. It's not that she took her children with her, but that a non-elite would have to pay for two plane tickets for his or her children to do something. Wealth makes a huge difference in constructing a life that balances the desires for a career and a family. She does not appreciate this.

Couple of other thoughts:

1. The book gets more annoying as you read it. It you want the best that it has to offer read the first three chapters, then give up.
2. Sandberg shares an anecdote about a friend who devised a test to see whether a guy was worthy to date. Step 1: cancel first date for a made up business meeting and see how he re-acts. If he is not bothered, then proceed to date. Step 2: ask him to come to Sao Paulo for a date. Both of these are designed to test how accommodating the man is to her career. Yes, this is a good way to start a relationship, by testing the person and lying. Also, a date in Sao Paulo! Another example of Sandberg's complete obliviousness to wealth.
3. Last thought. Towards the end of the book Sandberg is trying to say that the choice to stay at home with children is as valid as staying in work. The main way that she makes this point is by saying that women who stay at home can volunteer in all of these different ways, benefiting the world. Which sugests to me that justification for a personal decision is only valid to the degree that there is some social benefit. I'm committed to trying to improve the world, but doing that makes me happy. People are justified in making decisions that increase their joy in life. It doesn't matter how much their decision benefits society. For most of us there is some overlap between doing good in the world and feeling good about that, but there doesn't have to be. The decision to stay home or work is justifiable to the degree that it is the right decision for the individual.

Profile Image for Yukari Watanabe.
Author 17 books173 followers
March 13, 2013
I feel sad that so many people criticize Sheryl's book WITHOUT reading it. When I told my husband that I was reading "Lean In", he said, "Oh..., but people say it's for only rich elite women who can afford full time nannies." That is a result of malicious rumors.

I'm not a businesswoman and my background is very different from Sheryl's, but I agree with almost everything she says in this book. I have struggled with the same things for the last 50 years. I'm not competitive and I never wanted to become a big shot. But, I wanted to work and when I did a good job I wanted to be recognized. I wanted to continue working after I had a baby even though my husband made 5 times as much as me and financially didn't make sense to hire a nanny. I thought I was selfish to feel sad about not working. I became depressed for a long time. Now I have a great work (even though it doesn't pay well) because my husband understood my needs and started to support me full-heartedly. Wouldn't that be better if it happens to every woman?

I believe that's the reason Sheryl wrote the book. We have to help change the world so that our sisters and daughters don't need to go through the same thing. Men will also benefit from women who are happy because they can fulfill their desire to work and achieve.

This book is a great conversation starter. You might want to read it with your partner, and talk about the issues you have always wanted to bring up and couldn't.
Profile Image for Hanne.
224 reviews318 followers
August 14, 2013
Little story: In my previous department we all got nicknames, all of them meant to be very descriptive of the person but also really positive. They were brainstormed and then voted on, which actually was a really fun team-building. But while most people did indeed get some amazing nicknames, my final one was… ‘Ms Bossy’.
After hearing that, I remember heading to the toilets for a good cry, which is something I hardly ever do (when there are no books/movies or music involved that is). Of everything that I am, they picked Bossy as my most descriptive quality, thought it was funny and in some twisted way thought they were doing me a favour as well.
So when I read the following quote, I was already sold:
”When a girl tries to lead, she is often labelled bossy. Boys are seldom called bossy because a boy taking the role of a boss does not surprise or offend. As someone who was called this for much of my childhood, I know that it is not a compliment. The stories of my childhood bossiness are told (and retold) with great amusement. “

I had many mixed feelings while reading this book. On one hand it is ridiculously sad that society is still where it is, and on the other hand I kept nodding so hard and sometimes I felt like I was hit by alien attack. That's the impact some chapters had on me. Aliens, here, right now, in my head!

Similarly to Quiet by Susan Cain, I just felt that it was important for me to read this book. Not that I have CEO ambitions (far from it, I actually really dislike managing people, which makes the whole ‘bossiness’ an even bigger conundrum!) but as a working woman it still struck a chord with me.

What i liked about this book, is that it isn't a let's-sit-all-together-and-whine about the situation. Sandberg gives you some insights into our own brain, and how we are often doing this to ourselves as well.
For me, she did so especially in the first few chapters. The later chapters are more about families and kids, which is a bit less applicable to me now. Nonetheless, she made me think, and made me realize a few things about myself I didn’t really know. There were many alien lightning attack moments, but the most striking one for me was the paragraph about ‘feeling like a fraud’:
“She explained that many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are – impostors with limited skills or abilities.”

So true. No matter how many good performance reviews, no matter how often peers tell me they like me on their project because they’ll know that it’s in good hands with me – I still think I will be ‘discovered’ some day for the imposter I am.
Sometimes when people to ask me to send an old study to them, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to. Not because I don’t like sharing, but because I’m convinced it’ll be wrong. I would love to re-look at all the data just to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid in the first place. How silly is that?

I sometimes even feel like that on Goodreads. It’s is a mystery to me why people would follow me, or ask to friend me out of the blue, or like my reviews.
Really, I’m not a smart person and I don’t understand literature at all, I’m just a robot who puts random words behind one another and somehow so far I have regularly managed to trick people into thinking that my review makes sense.
Aren't I lucky?
Profile Image for J.
74 reviews
March 23, 2013
This is a great start on this particular conversation, but Sandberg leaves out two large groups of women; women of color and women who are not wealthy. While many women want to sit at the table and lean as far in as the rest of those at the table many women are not invited and/or do not have the means to take the risk. When you are worried about how you are going to pay for today, it is difficult to take the plunge especially if you have others who are dependent on you.

I applaud Sandberg for writing this book in the most authentic way she may know, but in order for me to give her a standing ovation I need to feel included.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews577 followers
December 4, 2013
2.5 stars to be more precise. Sandberg is far more likeable than I expected and I appreciated her self-deprecating sense of humour, honesty about her insecurities and enthusiasm for supporting other women. I nodded along quite a bit when she talked about crying at work (been there, done that) and was happy to see her dismantle the guilt-trip fallacy that is "women having it all". Sadly, Lean In is corporate feminism with an extremely narrow focus that excludes most women.

Corporate feminism is the idea that if we put enough women in CEO positions then that'll trickle down to the rest of the gender. Sadly, it just doesn't work that way. Sandberg is at least self-aware enough to acknowledge how privileged she is but that still blinds her a little. Her focus is narrow & ignores costs of education, childcare, women in part-time work, lack of mentors, sexual harassment in the workplace, the exclusion of women of colour from business and discrimination in the workplace, etc. Some of these issues are briefly touched upon, and I emphasise "briefly" a lot there, but it's just not enough. For example, Sandberg talks about finding good mentors because studies have proven how effective they are in maintaining morale, seeking promotion and so on, but no solid solutions are provided. I don't expect Sandberg to do so because that's tough enough for any one person to do, but it's disappointing to see this book going on the right track then suddenly swerve off course.

It's clear that Sandberg understands, or is at least aware of racial issues in the corporate machine and the huge disparities in race and gender present in CEO and COO positions. Her frequent use of footnotes backs that up. That's what makes it all the more aggravating when she just doesn't go into these issues further. She makes a lot of sensible points, particularly the issue of internalised patriarchy and how women are more prone to doubting their abilities than men, but once again, the solutions are few and far between. I wish it was as easy as just bucking up and demanding my seat at the table but the numbers aren't in my favour. I'm not COO of Facebook, nor did I go to Harvard Business School and get mentored by Larry Summers.

Sandberg acknowledges her privilege but doesn't seem to understand that not all women can lean in because we're leaning on too many other women to help us deal with the load. She praises Marissa Mayer, who became CEO of Yahoo whilst heavily pregnant then built a daycare centre for her son in her office, and declares that we must band together and support other women instead of criticising them like Mayer was. She does this will conveniently omitting Mayer's decision to ban working from home and demanding everyone come into the office to work. These women weren't given the option of personal daycare like Mayer allotted for herself, and remember the USA is the only country in the developed world without fully paid maternity leave. Childcare costs, one of the big barriers to women remaining in the workplace, was totally ignored in favour of the "sisterhood" argument to support Mayer. Feminism doesn't need to suck up to women in power; it needs to hold them accountable and make sure we all get a fair shake.

The book isn't bad, it just feels like an extended TED Talk, which it essentially is. It's a disjointed but readable mish-mash of memoir, feminist tract and business guide, and there are admirable points in there. I just can't support a fallacy that claims if we support the women at the top then soon we'll all benefit. Real life doesn't work that way.

EDIT: Downgrading my rating because I don't like hypocrites.


Lean in, Sheryl! Right on top of all those unpaid interns who must come from privileged families in order to be able to afford such an opportunity. Because it’s not as if women of lower classes are shut out of positions like this based on their social standing.

This is why corporate trickle down Lean In feminism is a con. Unfortunately, most of us can’t lean in because we’re not even allowed to sit at the table.
Profile Image for Lena.
Author 1 book349 followers
April 21, 2013
While this book by the COO of Facebook is ostensibly about women in the workplace, it's really about subconscious cognitive biases. A majority of Americans may consider women and men to be equal on the surface, but the fact that women still lag significantly behind men in both pay and leadership positions points to the fact that there is something else going on.

In this book, Sandberg does an excellent job at shining light on exactly what is standing in the way of full equality. She offers many examples, both personal and from referenced studies, that highlight why women who start even slightly ahead of men out of college rapidly fall behind when they enter the workforce. Some of these are systemically entrenched gender biases that favor men, such as identical resumes being rated as more qualified when they had a man's name on them than they were when they had a woman's name on them, while others are ways women limit themselves as they make choices about their careers.

I suspect those who criticize Sandberg as blaming women for not being more successful have not actually read this book. While she does tackle head on behaviors she's seen women engage in, such as failing to apply for promotions at the same rate as men because they rate themselves as less qualified even when they aren't, choosing to take on less responsibility to leave time for a family they hope to have someday, and draining energy on the judgment battles between moms who work and moms who stay home, she also addresses the jaw-dropping sexism she's battled from her time in government to meteoric rise in the tech industry. Even the New York Times was guilty of minimizing her accomplishments when they attributed her success to luck and mentoring, factors that impact men just as much but are hardly ever mentioned when male success is profiled.

This book is a manifesto designed to get both women and men to recognize that women's equality has badly stalled and how we are all the worse off for it. Despite that, it is not remotely preachy or militant in tone. Sandberg is immensely approachable, laying her own struggles bare as examples and making it clear that one of the most powerful businesswomen on the planet is fighting the same insecurities and doubts as the rest of us. Her personal stories are some of the richest parts of the book; she gives stress a new definition as she relates the tale of bringing her two children onto the Ebay corporate jet along with a bunch of other Silicon Valley execs only to discover mid-flight that both her kids had lice.

In addition to outlining the problem and addressing the multiple facets of it, this book is also full of actual, practical solutions. Becoming aware of subtle gender biases can go a long way towards eliminating them, and she gives numerous examples of how institutions who are committed to changing the status quo have made a real difference in this area both in general behavior and also corporate policy such as family leave. In addition, she provides women with a wealth of insight about how we can help create these changes by actively "leaning in" and taking a seat at the table at work, and being willing to expect more from our partners at home rather than assuming we have to (or are the only ones who can) take care of that front.

Changing such deeply entrenched dynamics is not going to be easy - the fact that Sandberg herself was caught engaging in a subtle form of gender bias while giving a talk on gender bias shows how pervasive the problem is. But by choosing to tackle the problem head on in such an approachable and pragmatic fashion, Sandberg is providing an excellent example of of just how it can be done.
Profile Image for Afsheen.
1 review6 followers
December 4, 2013
This book is terrible on all levels. It is written at a level beneath anyone who might hope to achieve the type of success she discusses. And the message is wrong. I consider myself a woman who is successful in the workplace, but not because I act aggressive like a man-- rather, because I recognize my strengths and weaknesses and behave accordingly. That should be a human way to succeed--not man vs. woman. I don't want advice from a woman who is so oblivious of her actions that she supposedly needed her executive assistant to tell her that she should own her accomplishments, not belittle them. And, all of the obvious statements in her book are lifted from headlines we have all read in the past 2 years; putting then in sentence form and then publishing doesn't make it new or compelling. And the main problem with this book: she is blatantly promoting herself, constantly. I could go on and on, but I've wasted enough time with this thing. What a joke.
Profile Image for Tim.
6 reviews6 followers
December 4, 2013
Putting aside critiques of her belief in corporate feminism, Sandberg's book reeks of unspoken privilege. Her message for women to transcend difference in the workplace through top leadership positions leaves behind many women who do not have the social agency, time, education, or good health to follow her example.

The whole time I was reading this book, all I could think of was, "Who is her nanny? Does she have the agency to do the things Sandberg talks about? Can her nanny afford a nanny to take care of her children?"

The applicability of Sandberg's book is intentionally selective. By only focusing on upper-class (white) educated women with substantial support networks, the book's recommendations are easy: bust ass, get a calendar to schedule home and work, and place the burden of childcare on your nanny. For anyone else outside this spectrum, it creates a path to success that is not only impossible to follow, but shaming to those who cannot.

It is badly written - an undercooked combination of autobiography, bad feminism, watery statistics, and career advice written from the 1%. If you're looking for a good weekend read, pass this one up.
Profile Image for Amy.
43 reviews
March 18, 2013
I went into the office today to find that one of my female managers sent this book to me as a surprise gift along with a thank you note for being a role model and mentor to her in her career over the years. She has two young girls like I do, and in my career field that is still rare. She and I have shared the trials and tribulations of having a career and simultaneously loving and hating it, traveling, being married, being soft but hard as nails when needed, and love, love, loving being a mommy too. I am so touched by her gesture today and grateful to be surrounded by her and the rest of my leadership team who are willing to grow and transform our business with me, along with our inner selves where the real power resides to keep the journey in life fun, xo.
70 reviews
January 9, 2014
If you are the daughter of two professional parents, have two siblings who are doctors, attended an Ivy League university and a prestigious business school where one of your professors was a future director of the World Bank and a Cabinet member, and you aspire to lead several world-class organizations, then this is the book for you. You'll learn that you should speak up at meetings, get your partner (who of course is male because lesbians don't become the CEOs of anything) to ideally stay home with the children but at best make their school lunches each morning, and that if you're in the upper echelon of your company and can fly to conferences on the private jet of the CEO of eBay, it's okay to occasionally cry at a meeting.

If you're anyone else, keep on keeping on.
Profile Image for Katie.
230 reviews117 followers
December 4, 2013
Interesting that I chose to read this book right around the time when I decided to lean OUT big time.

Prior to March 2013, I had a great job doing interesting work for (mostly) wonderful people, but that job happened to exist in NYC - aka the most expensive city in the country - and for all the job's plusses, "financially rewarding" it was not.

Post March 2013, everything changed. I had my first baby - a sweet, adorable bundle of baby boy joy - and upon crunching the numbers, I realized that post-tax and post-nanny, it didn't necessarily pay (financially, at least) for me to work. I knew we could live on my husband's salary alone without changing our lifestyle significantly (yes, my salary was that paltry), and I knew that if I were to continue to work, the cost of a nanny would have eaten all but about $5,000 of my post-tax income. Would you work full-time for that amount of money? Would $5,000 get you out of bed every day and help you overlook crowded smelly subways, meetings with people you kind of want to punch in the face, losing PowerPoint presentations when your computer crashes, having no flexibility to your life from M-F, 9am-6pm...$96 a week. $13 a day. No thank you.

That, paired with a rather inconveniently timed move to Boston, left me a stay-at-home mom who now spends her days singing "The Wheels on the Bus" at baby music class, playing with the parachute at baby-and-me class and doing downward dog while blowing kisses at baby yoga class instead of going to meetings, writing proposals and managing budgets.

It'd be nice to end that previous paragraph with a "...and I wouldn't have it any other way," but the truth is, I miss work. I miss the brain power involved, I miss being around adults, I miss solving problems...but the flip side of that truth is that if I were at work, I would miss my boy. What's a young professional gal to do?!

Sandberg acknowledges that having approximately $1,000,000,000 in the bank makes it a little easier to cover the childcare and other household help that greatly, greatly simplify the life of a working mother. Still, her message isn't one of an out-of-touch, idealistic celebrity boss - she's not Gwyneth, and this isn't Goop. The stats in Lean In aren't anything that someone with an interest in women's studies wouldn't have encountered, but they're upsetting to read, particularly given how numerous they are. (Most interesting to me is the case study where a successful woman was profiled, and a focus group gave her horrendous ratings on things like "would I be friends with this person," "I'd like to work with this person," etc. The exact same profile was given to another focus group, only this time the woman's name was changed to a man's. You probably aren't surprised to hear that this fictitious man got rave reviews for his business savvy, his drive, his success...all the things the woman was critiqued for.)

I think Sandberg's admonishment to "lean in" is exactly what women need to hear, and her book should be required reading for anyone in the workplace, particularly for those who think being a feminist is bad and/or that things already are equal because the women's rights movement already happened. (These are also the people who don't think racism is a problem anymore, either.) This book made me imagine what my life would be like if I don't go back to work - and if I do.

So, while I can see myself running board meetings and accepting Time's Person of the Year award, I - and millions of others - struggle with the reality of what life would be like with two parents working, and the thought of it makes me hyperventilate. The chaos! I am emphatically not a fan of chaos. After a long day of work, household duties still would need to get done, and while it's not glamorous, someone has to be sure that a healthy dinner is on the table every night and that all members of the household are bathed on a somewhat regular basis and that the dirty laundry gets washed and folded. Since my husband works crazy long hours, that someone would be...me. How some people do it, I have no idea. One of the women I respect most from my job is a C-level executive, has three great kids, works out, always looks impeccable in super chic clothes, cooks AND reads (and is on Goodreads!). For the life of me, I don't know how she does it.

I'm no closer to arriving at the answer - my answer, the one for me and my family - than I was when I started this "review," which is more a blog entry than an actual assessment of the book. I suppose, being a businesswoman, Sandberg can appreciate that economics necessitates that either choice - staying home or working - will result in the diminishment of something else, be it family time, a skyrocketing career, sleep...something's gotta give. I'm just not sure what I want that something to be yet.
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 120 books160k followers
March 13, 2013
Lean In is being bizarrely mischaracterized. It has issues but it isn't a harmful book to women from any walk of life, not by any stretch of the imagination. The biggest issue with this book is that there's nothing new here, but the retread is blandly interesting. Full review forthcoming,
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews34 followers
November 4, 2019
Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a 2013 book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and Nell Scovell, TV and magazine writer. Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be yes, but ask whether they'd feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in. Sheryl Sandberg looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.

عنوانها: موفقیت حرفه‌ ای زنان: آسیب‌ها و راهکارها؛ زنان به پیش : طرحی برای ارتقای منزلت اجتماعی زنان و افزایش مفاهمه بین زن و مرد؛ قدم در راه بگذارید: زنان، کار و اراده کسب برترین جایگاه؛ پیش بروید: زنان، کار و اراده برای رهبری کردن؛ تغییر مسیر: زنان، شغل و میل به پیشرفت؛ دست به‌ کار شوید؛ بدرود دون پایگی: شناخت موانع پیشرفت در کار و حرفه و راهکارهای عبور از آنها‏‫؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهارم ماه نوامبر سال 2015 میلادی

عنوان: موفقیت حرفه‌ ای زنان: آسیب‌ها و راهکارها ؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ؛ مترجم: آزاده راد‌نژاد؛ تهران: انتشارات اوان، ‏‫‬‏1393؛ در 175 ص؛ شابک: 9786009458004؛ کتابنامه: ص. [165] - 175؛ موضوع: سندبرگ، شریل، مدیران زن؛ از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21 م
عنوان: زنان به پیش : طرحی برای ارتقای منزلت اجتماعی زنان و افزایش مفاهمه بین زن و مرد؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ؛ م‏‫ترجم: حمیدرضا آریان‌پور؛ تهران: انتشارات دنیای اقتصاد، ‏‫1393؛ در 247 ص؛ شابک: 9786007106471؛‬ چاپ دوم 1395؛
عنوان: قدم در راه بگذارید: زنان، کار و اراده کسب برترین جایگاه؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ؛ مترجم: رضوان صدقی‌نژاد؛ تهران: گل‌آذین‏‫، 1394؛ در 270 ص؛ شابک: 9786006414430؛‬
عنوان: پیش بروید؛ اثر: شریل سندبرگ؛ مترجم: بهاره بقایی؛ تهران: بهاره بقایی‌، ‏‫1394؛ در 282 ص؛ شابک: 9786000440671؛ عنوان روی جلد: پیش بروید: زنان، کار و اراده برای رهبری کردن؛
عنوان: تغییر مسیر : زنان، شغل و میل به پیشرفت؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ ؛ مترجمها: سارا ارجمند، مصطفی طرسکی؛ تهران: نوین توسعه، ‏‫1395؛ در 214 ص؛ شابک: 9786009597321؛
‬عنوان: دست به‌ کار شوید؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ؛ مترجم: سارا پنجی‌زاده؛ تهران : نشر فرا، ‏‫1396؛ در 160 ص؛ شابک: 9786006092447؛
عنوان: بدرود دون پایگی: شناخت موانع پیشرفت در کار و حرفه و راهکارهای عبور از آنها‏‫؛ نویسنده: شریل سندبرگ؛ ‏‫مترجم: آزاده رادنژاد؛ تهران: آموزه‏‫، ‏‫1397؛ در 174 ص؛ شابک: 9789645528612؛‬‬

سندبرگ باور دارد، که زنان و مردان با آگاهی از انتظارات اجتماعی کلیشه‌ ای و از بین بردن موانع درونی‌ ای که تحت سیطرۀ این انتظارات ایجاد می‌شوند می‌توانند اوضاع را به نفع جامعه تغییر دهند. نویسنده با توجه دقیق به تحقیقات گسترده‌ ای که در غرب صورت گرفته و تجربیات شخصی‌ ایشان به ‌عنوان یک مدیر و رهبر موفق، مروری بر چگونگی پیشرفت حرفه‌ ای زنان و مردان، موانع پیشرفت حرفه‌ ای و نیز راه‌های خلاصی یافتن از آنها دارند؛ نقل نمونه متن: «از کتاب بدرود دون‌پایگی: 1: ترس و بلندپروازی؛ مادربزرگ من روزالیند آین هورن دقیقاً پنجاه سال پیش از من به دنیا آمد؛ یعنی 28 آگوست 1917 میلادی. خانواده او مانند بسیاری از خانواده های فقیر نیویورک سیتی، در مجتمعهای آپارتمانی شلوغ نزدیک بستگان دیگر خود زندگی میکردند. پدر و مادر او و عمه ها و عموهایش، پسرها را با اسمهای خودشان صدا میکردند اما او، خواهرش و دخترهای دیگر را «دخترک» صدا میزدند. به دلیل رکود اقتصادی، مادربزرگ را از دبیرستان موریس بیرون کشیدند تا از طریق گلدوزی روی لباسهای زیری که مادرش میفروخت، به اقتصاد خانواده کمک کند. آنوقتها معمولاً پسرها را از مدرسه بیرون نمیکشیدند؛ چرا که تحصیل آنها، راهی برای افزایش درآمد بیشتر خانواده و نیز رشد اجتماعی تلقی میشد. اما تحصیلات دخترها از لحاظ مالی کمتر اهمیت داشت، چون احتمال اینکه آنها بتوانند به درآمد خانواده کمک کنند کم بود. همچنین، از پسرها انتظار میرفت تورات بخوانند؛ در حالیکه برای دخترها کافی بود خانه ای را به خوبی اداره کنند. از بخت خوب مادربزرگ، یک معلم محلی به پدر و مادرش اصرار میکند که او را به مدرسه برگردانند و او نه تنها موفق میشود دبیرستان را تمام کند که میتواند دوره کالج را نیز در دانشگاه برکلی بگذراند. بعد از کالج، «دخترک» شروع به فروش کتابهای جیبی و لوازم تحریر در مغازه دیویدز میکند و میگویند وقتی «دخترک» کارش را رها میکند تا با پدر بزرگ من ازدواج بکند، دیویدز مجبور میشود چهار نفر را استخدام کند، تا کار او را انجام دهند. سالها بعد وقتی کسب و کار رنگ فروشی پدربزرگ با مشکل مواجه میشود، او میرود و چند گام مهم برمیدارد که پدربزرگ حاضر به برداشتنشان نبوده است، و خانواده را از بحران مالی نجات میدهد. یکبار دیگر در چهل سالگی فَراست کاریش را به نمایش میگذارد. به این ترتیب که بعد از غلبه بر سرطان سینه، زندگی خود را وقف جمع کردن پول برای کلینیکی میکند که در آن درمان شده است. او صندوق عقب ماشینش را پر از ساعت مچیهای زنگدار میکند و کنار خیابان میفروشد. «دخترک» با اینکار چنان سودی میکند که میتوانسته است اپل را به رشک وادارد. هرگز کسی را مثل او آن قدر پرانرژی و با اراده ندیده ام. وقتی وارن بافِت از رقابت با نیمی از جمعیت سخن میگوید، من مادربزرگم را به یاد میآورم و فکر میکنم اگر پنجاه سال دیرتر به دنیا میآمد زندگیش چقدر متفاوت میتوانست باشد. مادربزرگم روی آموزش و پرورش همه فرزندانش (مادر و دو دایی من) تاکید بسیار داشت. مادرم پس از فارغ التحصیلی از دانشگاه پنسیلوانیا و بررسی فرصتهای شغلی متوجه شد دو انتخاب برای زنان وجود دارد: معلمی و پرستاری. مادرم معلمی را برگزید. او شروع به تحصیل در مقطع دکترا کرده بود که مرا باردار شد و به ناچار دانشگاه را رها کرد. آنوقتها کار کردن زن برای تامین خانواده نقطه ضعفی برای مرد به حساب میآمد. از اینرو، مادرم در خانه مشغول انجام وظایف مادری شد و البته فعالانه به کارهای داوطلبانه هم میپرداخت. به این ترتیب، آن تقسیم کار صدها ساله بر جا و استوار ماند. من در خانواده ای سنتی بزرگ شدم ولی پدر و مادرم از من، خواهر و برادرم انتظارات یکسانی داشتند. هر سه ما به درس خواندن و داشتن فعالیتهای فوق برنامه، به ویژه فعالیتهای ورزشی، تشویق میشدیم و از همه ما به یک اندازه توقع انجام کارهای سخت میرفت. برادر و خواهرم وارد تیمهای ورزشی شدند ولی من استعدادی در ورزش نشان ندادم. به رغم کم آوردن در ورزش با این باور بزرگ شدم که دخترها مثل پسرها هر کاری بخواهند میتوانند بکنند و راه همه حرفه ها به روی آنها باز است. در پاییز 1987 میلادی که وارد کالج شدم، دخترها و پسرهای همکلاسیم همه به یک اندازه روی درسها متمرکز بودند. یادم نمیآید فکر کرده باشم حرفه آینده ام باید با حرفه همکلاسی های پسر متفاوت باشد. همچنین، در مورد برقراری توازن بین کار بیرون از خانه و بچه داری، هیچ بحث و گفتگویی را به یاد نمیآورم. فرض من و دوستانم این بود که از عهده هر دوی آنها میتوان برآمد. زنان و مردان میتوانستند آزادانه و با انرژی، در کلاسها، فعالیتها و مصاحبه های شغلی با یکدیگر رقابت کنند. تنها دو نسل از زمان مادربزرگم گذشته بود اما به نظر میرسید که عرصه رقابت بین دو جنس برابر باشد. اما پس از گذشت بیش از بیست سال از پایان تحصیلات دانشگاهی من، جهان طبق باور من پیش نرفته است. تقریباً همه هم کلاسیهای مذکرم وارد موقعیتهای حرفه ای شدند. تعدادی از همکلاسیهای دخترم شغلی تمام وقت یا پاره وقت بیرون از خانه پیدا کردند، اما بسیاری از آنها مادران خانه دار شدند و مثل مادرم به کارهای داوطلبانه پرداختند. این روند، سمت و سوی کلی را در سطح ملی نشان میدهد. تعداد زنان دارای تحصیلات عالی در نیروی کار در مقایسه با مردان رو به کاهش است. تعداد زیادی از آنها دارند نیروی کار را ترک میکنند. این اختلاف رو به افزایش، به سازمانها و نهادها فهماند که باید روی مردان سرمایه گذاری کنند، چراکه از نظر آماری احتمال ماندن آنها در نیروی کار بیشتر است. جودیت رادین، رئیس بنیاد راکفلر و اولین رئیس دانشگاه آیوی لیگ، زمانی در سخنرانی ای که مخاطبانش زنانی هم سن من بودند گفت: «نسل من به سختی جنگید تا همه شما بتوانید انتخاب کنید. اما هم نسلهای من فکر نمیکردند بسیاری از شما ترک کار را انتخاب میکنید.» پس چه اتفاقی افتاده است؟ نسل من در عصر افزایش برابری که گمان میرفت ادامه یابد، بالید اما مثل اینکه ما خام و ایده آلیست بودیم؛ چون ادغام انگیزه های شخصی و حرفه ای چالش برانگیزتر از حد تصور ما بود؛ در همان سالهایی که حرفه های ما بیشترین سرمایه گذاری زمانی را طلب میکردند، بیولوژی ما را به سمت بچه دارشدن سوق میداد. شرکای زندگی ما در انجام امور خانه و بچه داری با ما مشارکت نکردند و ناگاه ما خود را با دو شغل تمام وقت مواجه دیدیم. محلهای کار نیز چنان متحول نشدند که در مقابل ما انعطاف پذیری نشان دهند تا بتوانیم مسئولیتهای خود را در خانه انجام دهیم. ما هیچ یک از این موارد را پیش بینی نکرده بودیم. از اینرو، غافلگیر شدیم؛ اگر نسل من بیش از اندازه خام و بی تجربه بود، نسلهای بعدی بیش از اندازه عملگرا شده اند. ما بسیار کم میدانستیم و دختران امروز بیش از حد میدانند؛ دخترانی که امروز میبالند، نخستین نسلی نیستند که فرصتهای برابر دارند اما برای نخستین بار میدانند که داشتن فرصت، الزاماً به معنای موفقیت نیست؛ بسیاری از این دخترها که دیده اند مادرانشان تلاش میکردند همه کارها را خودشان انجام دهند، تصمیم گرفتند بخشی از آن همه را رها کنند و آن بخش رها شده چیزی نبود مگر شغل بیرون از خانه. شکی نیست که زنان در محیط کار دارای مهارت های رهبری هستند. در ایالات متحد عملکرد دخترها به گونه ای فزاینده در کلاسهای درس بهتر از پسرهاست. به طوری که 57 درصد دانشجویان دانشگاهها دخترند و 60 درصد مدارک کارشناسی را دخترها کسب میکنند. در انگلستان نیز 57 درصد از دانشجویان را زنان تشکیل میدهند. در کل اروپا 82 درصد زنان 20 تا 24 ساله دست کم یک مدرک تحصیلی دارند. در حالیکه این رقم برای مردان 77 درصد درصد است.این شکاف جنسیتی در موفقیتهای دانشگاهی حتی بعضی را نگران پدیده ای به نام «پایان جنس ذکور» کرده است. در حالیکه رفتار «دستت را بالا ببر و وقتی اجازه داده شد، حرف بزن» در مدرسه ها بسیار پسندیده است، در محیطهای کار چندان ارج و قربی ندارد. پیشرفت شغلی اغلب بستگی دارد به ریسک پذیری و تقویت خصیصه های شخصی که دخترها از بروز و نمایش آنها دلسرد میشوند. این امر شاید بتواند توجیه کند که چرا موفقیتهای دانشگاهی دختران هنوز به تعداد بالای زنان در شغل های بالا نینجامیده است. میتوان گفت تامین نیروی کار تحصیل کرده مجرایی است که در ورودی اش، بیشتر زنان و در خروجی اش، که خاص مقام های مدیریتی است، به طور قاطعی مردان دیده میشوند. این غربال شدن دلایل بسیاری دارد که یکی از مهمترین آنها اختلاف سطح جاه طلبی برای رهبری است. البته بسیاری از زنان هستند که مانند اغلب مردان جاه طلبی حرفه ای دارند اما اگر سلسله مراتب را به طرف پایین بررسی کنیم، داده ها نشان میدهند که در هر حوزه ای، مردان بیش از زنان رویای بالاترین شغلها را دارند. طبق مطالعه آماری سال 2012 میلادی شرکت مک کینزی روی 4000 کارمند شرکتهای شاخص، 36 درصد مردان این شرکتها میخواستند رئیس شوند، در حالیکه این رقم برای زنان 18 درصد بود. وقتی شغلها با ویژگیهایی چون قدرتمندی، چالش آوری و مسئولیت بالا توصیف میشوند، برای مردان بیش از زنان جذابیت پیدا میکنند. درست است که اختلاف سطح جاه طلبی در بالاترین سطوح شغلی به شدت آشکار میشود، اما دینامیک بنیادی آن در همه پله های نردبان شغلی (حتی سطوح پایینتر) خود را نشان میدهد. در یک مطالعه آماری روی فارغ التحصیلان دانشگاه مردان بیشتری نسبت به زنان رسیدن به سطح مدیریتی را به عنوان یک اولویت شغلی در سه سال اول بعد از فارغ التحصیلی انتخاب کردند. حتی بین مردان و زنان دارای تحصیلات عالی تر، مردان بیشتری به نسبت زنان خود را « جاه طلب » توصیف میکنند.»؛ پایان نقل. ‬ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Susan.
146 reviews1 follower
August 16, 2015
Question: When is a book not a book?

Answer: When it has 37 footnotes by the 24th page.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg is nothing more than a thesis paper thinly disguised and marketed by the publishing company as the next "it" book for women. Well...not all women; at least in my mind.

Why, you ask? The reality is that most women are never going to get the opportunity to work in a Fortune 500 company as an executive. Now that's not to say that women won't have opportunities to work in large or mid-size corporations. Let's face it. Most top level jobs are already taken, and if the company is worth its salt, the chance for advancement is slim because those at the top like their jobs and tend to stay, especially when the company is well established and appreciates their staff.

So what kind of message is Ms. Sandberg sending to the average American woman? On the surface, I can't quite figure it out. Perhaps we need to dig a little deeper here. If her book is merely a dissertation on the battle between the sexes and the inequality of paychecks, then sadly, the author is really behind the times and she hasn't told us anything that we haven't already heard.

However, if she is saying that we, as women, will never be happy unless we occupy every top level executive position in the country, well then, I beg to differ! What if our mothers decided they didn't want to be our mothers and just wanted to climb that corporate ladder, then where would we be? What if I don't want to be a top level executive at a Fortune 500 company? Can't I be happy doing exactly what I am doing right now? What if I don't want to be a leader? What if there are other women who don't want to be leaders? Is being a leader the only road to happiness? I think not. I have a lot of will and ambition, but my desires don't necessarily point me in that direction.

But, let's take this a little further. Ms. Sandberg says on page 10 (Kindle version) that she "would never advocate that we should have the same objectives. Many people are not interested in acquiring power, not because they lack ambition, but because they are living their lives as they desire....We each have to chart our own unique course and define which goals fit our lives, values and dreams." This is great, however, the overall message of the book makes it seem that the only correct life choice that we, as women, should have is to be on that corporate ladder climbing toward the top rung to obtain equality. She says on page 10 (Kindle version) "If we succeed in adding more female voices at the highest levels, we will expand opportunities and extend fairer treatment to all."

Now that the author has highly advocated that we, as women, should go for that top rung, and we succeed in adding more women to top level positions, where's the guarantee that fairer treatment and equality will occur? Also, while I thank her for supporting us in making choices, but then tell us in the next breath that we, as women, should all be leaning into our careers to level the playing field just seems to send out a mixed message. And, let's not even talk about the underlying subtext of the "you should be doing it this way because this is the way I did it, I know it works, and you will be successful and happy if you do it this way." With so many inconsistencies throughout this book, it makes it difficult to see what the real point is here.

To circle back around to the very beginning of my review, this entire book reads like a master's thesis paper for one of Sandberg's Harvard classes. While I can appreciate the fact that she loves to "rely on hard data and academic research" (page 9, Kindle version), some of us would have just preferred her thoughts on the subject backed up by her real life experiences. The 227 footnotes is a little excessive and limits the audience from any opportunity to flush out the details, not to mention the loss of flow while reading due to constantly having to flip back and forth between the book and the footnotes. How are we as the readers suppose to know if these thoughts are really hers or those that were referenced? And, who really has time to read through, in depth, all of these footnotes, including researching the sources of those said footnotes? Certainly not myself.

Now, I will admit that there are some principals in this book that can be followed and adapted to fit every women's life. (Note: It took until almost the last couple of chapters to find some kernels of wisdom. Any hope of finding something earlier in the book is simply lost within the text stemming from the research and footnotes.) Perhaps these few morsels were the real intent of the book, but the message simply was too muddied up in her intelligentsia. As a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business school, there is no doubt that Sheryl is a smart woman; however, she would have better served her audience if she had spoken to us and not above us. As a college graduate, I have the capability of dissecting and extrapolating information; however, others might not be able to do so, or if they were it would be with great difficulty. Perhaps there is something here, I just don't see it. Maybe it got lost in the translation.

Overall, I think the message to "lean in" to "whatever" could have been delivered with a little less reliance on statistics and information from other sources. The one thing the book failed to mention is after we, as women, work so hard to get to the top rung, what do we do when we get there? It seems that the author and her colleagues have spent too much time climbing the corporate ladder, missing out on having some fun and losing the opportunities to be truly creative and produce something that will leave a lasting mark on the world, other than to say, I was the CEO/COO (or some other high level position) of such and such company. As for me, I would rather not strive for the top rung, but hang back a few steps, and enjoy the creativity and fun afforded to me at that level while enjoying life a whole lot more.
Profile Image for Celeste.
84 reviews7 followers
April 14, 2013
With all the conversation surrounding Sandberg's work, as a modern feminist and working mom, I really wanted to dislike this book. But as it turns out, I loved it and am closing the cover feeling invigorated to continue along my career path. Those who have cursory knowledge of Lean In (because of Sandberg's recent media coverage) will miss the larger point of this important work.
Some have criticized Sandberg as a victim-blamer- associating her book with the idea that if women somehow tried harder, they could make it to the top of their professional fields. Sandberg does indeed assert that women do more to hold themselves back than they realize. But, she posits that if women Lean In, challenge themselves ALONG WITH challenging the cultural norms that prevent us from realizing our full potential, then all of us will all be a lot better off. She encourages that by advocating for ourselves, whether through the need for flexible working hours, or voicing the meaningfulness of our work if we choose to stay home, that we are acting in coalition with one another as working mothers- no matter what the nature of our work is.
The most important part of this book is one that encourages men to take part in domestic life just as vigorously as women do. In order for women to lean in at the conference room table, men need to lean in to the kitchen table. However, for women that don't have this kind of support at home I can see how this advice would fall flat. I personally feel very lucky that I have a partner that is fully engaged in domestic and childrearing tasks, but I cant imagine fully positioning myself to tackle both career and family without his partnership. For women without this kind of partner or home life, this book may feel like more of a fantasy novel than a mapped out path for a post feminist future.
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews658 followers
September 7, 2022
In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.
An interesting read. I was encouraged to read Lean In by a former co-worker who thought it would help me understand some of the career obstacles faced by the women in our office. I wasn’t sure that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg would have much to say about the plight of a typical working woman, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Lean In is a mix of personal anecdote and research. It tackles big-picture questions about institutions and individual questions about how women hold themselves (and each other) back. It is not strident or a polemic. Yet it offers a number of specific things that women and men can help level the field. It is certainly not perfect—Ms. Sandberg has a tendency to view things through her own experience, and her billionaire life is pretty uncommon. In her next book, Option B, she takes herself to task for some errors of omission in Lean In—particularly overlooking the challenges facing single mothers. Still, I would recommend the book to anyone who is a working woman, or has one in their life.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,720 followers
August 12, 2015
This book has received so much hype and media coverage that by the time I sat down to read it, I already knew most of the contents.

Sheryl Sandberg, as you probably know, is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is frequently ranked on Most-Powerful-Women lists. This is her so-called feminist manifesto about inspiring women to grab at opportunities in their careers, instead of being filled with self-doubt or assuming that having children would hold them back. She cites a number of different studies that illustrate gender inequality, not just in the workplace but throughout our society.

Sandberg raises some good questions about the gender socialization of children, and why we treat girls so differently than boys. While this is not new information, maybe the hype surrounding this book is a good thing and will inspire more women to try and crack the glass ceiling.

My rating: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books59.8k followers
December 29, 2018
4 stars for an interesting, well-written book, +1 for the game-changer factor.
Profile Image for Courtney Johnston.
402 reviews153 followers
March 30, 2013
How do you say anything about the most reviewed book of 2013? Sheryl Sandberg’s call for women to lean in and take control of their careers has been roundly and lengthily discussed on newspaper sites and blogs, often at a level I find to be unhelpfully and personally focused: who does she think she is, a multi-millionaire with options in Facebook and painfree childcare, telling us how to live our lives?

Only, she’s not. Sandberg comes across as warm and driven, brave and vulnerable, self-aware and occasionally oblivious, smart and self-conscious. Her message, to my ears, is one of personal responsibility and motivation that sits well with me. When Sandberg quotes figures about the lack of women on boards and in leadership positions, my first thought is “Well, I can help fix that. I can be one of those people.”

As I read through the book, I realised how familiar Sandberg’s points had become to me. Impostor syndrome. That successful women are often seen as unlikable - in a way that men aren’t. That women tend to apply only for jobs they feel fully qualified for, whereas men are happy to apply for jobs they are not. As one of my friends - one of the most competent and smartest people I know - said to me recently, he feels like he’s making it up every day. Me too.

I have to admit my interest waned as I moved through the book; for other people, the opposite will be true. Chapters of balancing parenting and partnerships with demanding and rewarding jobs are pretty much irrelevant to me. The last chapter - a generic call to arms to change the world - is a bit of a whimper finish. But two early sections spoke particularly strongly to me.

The first is the chapter on mentoring. This turned on a whole bunch of lights for me. Sandberg writes about women who will come up to after a speech and ask if she will mentor them.

Searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming... Now young women are told that if they can just find the right mentor, they will be pushed up the ladder and whisked away to the corner office to live happily ever after. Once again, we are teaching women to be too dependent on others.
... Because it is harder for young women to find mentors and sponsors, they are taking a more active role in seeking them out. And while I applaud assertive behaviour, this energy is sometimes misdirected. No matter how crucial these connections are, they probably won’t develop from asking virtuals strangers “Will you be my mentor?”.

Good mentoring relationships, she says, grow from a “real and often earned connection”. Mentors select proteges on the basis of performance and potential. They must be focused, use their time well, and be open to feedback. Approach a potential mentor with a tailored questions, she advises. Ask for early input and actionable assistance. Sandberg also addresses how senior men can be reluctant to mentor junior women “because of how it looks”, and gives examples of how this can be dealt with (one business leader, for example, who only does breakfasts and lunches and never dinners).

Sandberg also writes about the value of peer mentoring. I certainly get the best advice from people who have met similar challenges to the ones I am facing in recent years. Advice from those 30 years older than me - while often valuable, appreciated, and sometimes hilarious - is often coloured with a “back in my day” or a “I see myself in you” tone that makes it into an emotional rather than informational exchange.

The second was Sandberg talking about crying at work. Ina speech to Harvard Business School last year, she said

I don't believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today's world, with a real voice, an authentic voice, it makes even less sense.
I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. And it’s been reported in the press that Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg’s shoulder, which is not exactly what happened. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself. Honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.

In her book, Sandberg expands on this. In moments of high stress at work - usually, when she feels betrayed (a strong word, but given her startling career, I daresay she’s felt this way a few times) - she has gone to a senior colleague to talk about the situation and ended up in tears. It has tended to bring her closer to these people - and not have undermined their professional relationships. She doesn’t quite argue that when people know what is going on in your personal life it can make your professional life easier. She does argue for the value of authentic communication.

I’ve had an experience along these lines just this week. My husband died exactly a year ago. He was an art curator at New Zealand’s national museum. He killed himself. I started a new job, as director of an art gallery, five months ago. Only a few people in my workplace knew my husband, but they all knew my backstory. This backstory carries with it a certain amount of doubt and curiosity - but it is something I very rarely talk about.

This week, the museum opened a major new art exhibition. It was the last show my husband worked on, leading the conceptual development. On Wednesday I went to both the staff blessing and the official opening. It was a hard day. On Monday, I told my team that I would be taking Wednesday off to do this. I told them I thought it would be hard, but that I thought it would be okay. I told them I was looking after myself, but would tell them if I needed help.

Telling my team - being vulnerable - was the best thing to do. Instead of insisting on being strong and isolated, I let them care about me. I gave them the information and the emotion, and they could act on it. They knew what was going on, and they could be part of it. It was a much better way of dealing with things - even if it made me feel exposed. I guess I’m learning.

One thing puzzled me. Throughout the book, Sandberg refers to her decision to finish work at 5.30pm every day in order to have dinner with her family. She hid this for years - going to the extent of having her PA book meetings outside the office at the end of the day so other Facebook staff would be less likely to see her leaving. When she finally spoke about it at an internal event, she felt exposed. Sandberg frequently refers to this decision, and it is obviously a major decision and tipping point for her. When she joined Facebook, she already felt like “the old person” in the office, and it was an engineers culture of late night and hackathons.

But fuck me. Really? Finishing work at 5.30pm in America is such a big deal? She takes a couple of hours with her family and then she’s back on email. How sick - or more to the point, how homogeneous - is Facebook’s culture that this is a big deal. Is this what working in America looks like? For years, I have actively encouraged my teams to GO HOME at the end of the day. I would rather they are balanced and refreshed than putting in empty hours to prove to me how valuable they are. If they can’t get their work done in 40 hours a week, there’s a problem with (a) their workload (b) their ability or (c) prioritisation of work - none of which are well addressed by working 60 hours a week. If achieving work-life balance in the States really means finding a way to work 60 or 80 hours a week and not feel guilty, I’m staying put.
Profile Image for Beth.
129 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2013
One of the most effective things about Sheryl Sandberg's new book is that she followed the principles of KISS--keep it short and simple. In less than 175 pages, Sandberg puts forth a manifesto for a new generation of feminists--a generation that may not even be comfortable calling themselves feminists. Women are smart and capable, and while we face very real obstacles (pay inequality, gender discrimination), it is the our internal obstacles that may be what is truly holding us back. Sandberg provides copious statistical evidence in this well-researched book that support her idea that women are holding back rather than leading in, taking ourselves out of the game rather than getting on the field. Rather than coming from a position of judgment, she comes from a place of empathy. Her personal stories of insecurity and fear lend amazing credibility to her ideas. She readily acknowledges that she is in a better position that many women in the US and most women around the world to take on more challenging roles in her career. Her point, though, is that until all women lean in--whatever that means for them--she will remain relatively alone in the C-suite. Rather than telling women to pursue their careers at the expense of their personal and family lives, she puts forward some very real ideas of how women and men can work together to make balance more possible and acceptable for people everywhere. My great hope is that all women, but especially young women, will read this book as soon as they can. I am glad to have Sandberg's advice now; I would have greatly benefited from having this advice 20 years ago.
Profile Image for Anna.
261 reviews
May 23, 2013
I give a lot of kudos to Sheryl Sandberg for bringing up a lot of topics that I think are important, under-discussed, under-recognized, and in some cases, did not really have a voice (at least not all in one work). This isn't necessarily a "how-to" book (like 'how to become an amazing woman leader') but more of a book on how to recognize certain traits, characteristics, and behaviors that both men and women possess, and the impact it has on women in the workplace. I applaud Sandberg for stepping outside of her own comfort zone, as she writes early in the book, to bring these issues to the table. She is correct in that the women's movement has somewhat stagnated and that the movement has become complacent, and more women struggle with the "work-life" balance in their careers. I thought her discussion of the topics were fresh, engaging, and insightful. I could have done with less copious praise of Facebook throughout the book, but overall I got a lot out of it - more than I admittedly thought I would. I hope that it truly does spark a larger conversation.

I had to go back and change my rating from a 4 to a 5 - because since I have finished reading this book, I have kept talking about it, thinking about it, and attempting to put the concepts into practice.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,389 reviews1,470 followers
August 26, 2021
Sheryl Sandberg stresses the need for collaborative approaches and teamwork because both strategies lead to greater success and gender equality in business. She then takes that idea a step further and ventures to say that if this collaborative model could be applied both on the job, in relationships, and at home that this could change the world.

It probably could. I'm certainly willing to give it a try.

The part of Lean In that I was most receptive to was the discussion about the Queen Bee syndrome of females in upper management and how, sometimes, women keep other women down because of the attitude that "there can only be one".

Probably because of my background, I've always approached friendships with other women with the mind set of a "world family" and do my best to help others with their needs in whatever capacity I can. I have rarely found a friend or business associate who responds with the same level of support. I suspect that this tendency in life to look out for number one is caused by the lack of unconditional love that a supportive family unit provides first developmentally as a child and then into adulthood.

It is no wonder that women, if made to feel inferior to other family members at home, react in an aggressive way when "competing" with other females on the job rather than reaching out a hand in welcome.

I was fortunate to grow up in an all female household (plus Dad) so gender equality wasn't an issue that I ever had to consider until I had a child of my own and had to make decisions about work and childcare. My sisters and I weren't compared to brothers or ever told that we couldn't have something that we wanted or be successful simply because we were female.

In fact, my mother's father was on the forefront of the integration of females into the Air Force. He gave his daughter a male name (Allyn) because his thinking was that gender equality was going to shift to a more equal stance during her lifetime. But, it was going to take some time for attitudes to change. In the meantime, he wanted her resume and career to be judged and advanced on its merits, which, he figured, would be smoother and avoid all the pitfalls of sexism if recruiters thought she was a man.

Clever Grandpa and hooray for me that my mother had a positive, feminist role model for a father.

I'm also lucky in that, because of my many female siblings, I have a ready-made "sisterhood" of support. Many of the issues that Sandberg discusses in Lean In, I've encountered, but I was lucky enough to have solutions for in the embodiment of my family. I know that not everyone has that type of support in their career and personal life, and I fully appreciate that I'm spoiled in my lifestyle.

If you enjoyed Lean In, I'd suggest Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own (a discussion of feminist issues in relationships and marriage) and Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman (a feminist dissection of a few mythological archetypes to empower women through the exploration of the subconscious mind).
Profile Image for Britany.
991 reviews434 followers
July 27, 2017
3.5 Stars

At times this books was encouraging and dazzling and made me shake my fist in camaraderie. At other times, I found myself rolling my eyes at Sheryl's life and trying to imagine her ever living an ordinary life, working her way up the corporate ladder with no white privilege. Alas, I must do what Sheryl tells me to and support her as a woman. We have enough people trying to hold us back and crush us down, women must support other women in every aspect of their lives.

A book filled with statistics and wonderful anecdotes supporting the message to lean into your life and take more control of your future. Woman can accomplish anything that their male counterparts aim to achieve, we just need to exude more confidence, and take a stronger demeanor to get it done. Overall a good book, with a strong message.
Profile Image for Hilary.
6 reviews
March 17, 2013
This is a very inspiring book for women from all walks of life. I think the first impression that I had was that all women need to Lean In to job opportunities. However, Sheryl emphasizes that every woman has different aspirations. If staying at home with your children is fulfilling, then you should Lean In to the opportunity; likewise if you want to pursue a career. However, the true point is that as women, we should work together and lift each other up. The negative views of women who work and leave their children at home versus women who leave work to take care of their children need to end. We must appreciate each other and work together to make all opportunities and choices available so that we may succeed and push ahead- for women of all nationalities, ethnicities, creeds, etc.
Profile Image for Eastofoz.
636 reviews346 followers
August 25, 2013
When I first started seeing ads promoting this book it was really the subtitle "Women, Work and the Will to Lead" that grabbed me. I looked around the Internet and found Sandberg's TEDTalk which raised some interesting issues but it didn't leave me bowled over like a lot of other people. Having seen some phenomenal TEDTalks in the past I figured hers would be on par. Well the ideas were but the delivery didn't make me go "wow" --but it did make me get the book and good thing I did because it definitely made me go "wow" and more than once.

The book is very well-written and everything she says that could be questioned is backed up by proof with succinct and easy to follow endnotes so she's not just throwing around grand ideas she's actually gathered ideas from far and wide and brought them together in a concise and very thought provoking way without sounding condescending or ivory tower like. She comes across as a regular smart woman who has the same concerns and worries as other women and mothers which was what I found made the book a very accessible and interesting read. She didn't come across as the COO of Facebook that you would imagine to be a slave to her job, has tons of cash so it's easy to say "be more involved in your work" because someone else is looking after your kids at home. She was a normal woman with normal fears, career setbacks, mishaps and OMG I am a spaz stories and that in itself was wow for me.

Her main message is that often women don't get fully involved (lean in) enough when they choose to do something out of fear of not being liked or coming off as too smart or thinking that they can't really do it instead of just trying or winging it plus a myriad of other reasons. It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. She gives examples from her life and other successful women's lives that if you really give it your all you can succeed and happily too. Her three main questions were basically:

*Why aren't you leaning in?
*Why aren't you sitting more at the table instead off at the side?
*What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Now this sounds a bit too "rah rah rah come on girls we can do it" but it's not at all like that. The questions in context ring very true. When I first read those few lines I thought "whatever" but she gives example after example of why women don't do enough of these things and that it has to stop because everyone would benefit and she clearly shows how for all walks of life. You might want to get to the top at work or maybe as a volunteer in your community or maybe at home and you can without feeling guilty. She makes a good case about how the women's movement of the 60s was supposed to give women choice not guilt which is what several women feel when they stay home to raise their children or go out to work.

This is far from the kind of book I'd ever think to read but I'm very glad I did because it really encourages you to get up and give it a shot when really you have nothing to lose and that's something that both women and men can benefit from. The ending especially was excellent and had me tear up for how you feel like she's really speaking to the reader and says come on and just try and you can start by something as simple as leaning in wherever you are.

Sheryl Sandberg is definitely a fresh and strong voice for women and men together. It's win win all around the way she tells it and if anything you go away from the book thinking hey maybe I can --and while I'm at it let me go tell my friend because I know she can too and my other friend because he needs a new perspective too and suddenly you have a whole new movement. It's very "wow" the way something so simple can be so powerful and profound.
Profile Image for Yuki.
223 reviews53 followers
March 8, 2017
I have written this book to encourage women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, and achieve their full potential. I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto. And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and in the home, also with gusto. As we start using the talents of the entire population, our institutions will be more productive, our homes will be happier, and the children growing up in those homes will no longer be held back by narrow stereotypes.

What irks me is how uninclusive this is to women - the book's very intended audience. Sheryl Sandberg seems to be painfully unaware of her own privileges, casually mentioning from nannies and frequent flights to relocating[!] your workplace. Most American women do not have the resources to be able to do so, and while Sandberg is a successful businesswoman and has every right to her earnings, writing about this without further commentary certainly doesn't resonate well with working women.
Remember that mom who pointed out that my son should be wearing a green T-shirt on St. Patrick's Day? She is a tireless volunteer in the classroom and our community. So many people benefit from her hard work.

Is Sandberg suggesting that the only beneficial thing that could come out from being a stay-at-home mom is volunteer service? Feminism means giving women choice - and these women damn well have the right to choose to spend time with their child, choose to save money from childcare, choose to embrace motherhood, and choose not to "benefit society" every moment that they are breathing.

tl;dr: pseudoinspirational bullcrap, like those motivation quotes on Facebook. 1 star.
Profile Image for Greg B.
155 reviews28 followers
December 9, 2014
If Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In was a person, it wouldn't be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company: it would be that overbearing middle manager everyone loves to hate. The one that spends Monday morning talking way too loudly around the coffeepot about the higher-ups he rubbed shoulders with that weekend. The one with a sports car and a wife too young for him who tries desperately to be "with it." The one whose greatest joy in life is boiling down complex problems to a platitude you could fit on a desk calendar. This is a caked-over mess of schmaltz and self-promotion, with just enough girl power quotes sprinkled throughout that hungry young people in thankless entry-level corporate helljobs will use them to decorate their cubicle walls for the next decade. Lean far, far away.
Profile Image for Liz Ratto.
14 reviews2 followers
June 3, 2013
I have to admit that I picked this up mostly because I felt I was obligated as a feminist, and especially as a woman working in tech. I wasn't entirely convinced that the en vogue movement of the moment with the semi-cutesy name was going to be terribly applicable to me. I could not have been more wrong.

By the day after I started reading this, I already felt more self-aware both at work and outside of the office. I was actively recognizing many of the habits and pitfalls Sandberg describes and warns against in myself and even the tiniest decisions I make every day.

I feel this is an absolute must-read for everyone, especially women working in or out of the home, partners of women, and men in senior leadership positions or those with direct female reports.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,108 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.