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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
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October 2017: Society > Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg - 4 stars

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8291 comments Lean In is about women not being afraid to move forward in their careers, if they desire to do so. Sheryl Sandberg tries to do the impossible (as women are oft to try to do.) Her book attempts to talk about the myriad of complicated issues that leave women behind in their chosen fields, and the incredibly complicated choices and tradeoffs we women have to make. Her concept does speak about the inequalities of our current societal norms and perceptions, but a crucial theme is the underlying psychology that we women impose on ourselves. It is our own internal expectations and perceptions that we need to change. She advocates for a community of men and women to help us think differently about our options, ambitions, capabilities, and desires. It was fascinating to me in this day and age, how internalized the problem actually is. I found myself even having to challenge my own judgements and perceptions (towards myself and others) as I read, so I recognize that she is onto something. I appreciated many pieces of this work, one being the impossibility of having it all, and doing it all well. There are indeed tradeoffs - so I guess we have to consider our tradeoff's carefully, and make the bargains we can best live with for ourselves and families. But this book argues that its possible to consider the options, and our own capacities - which often get lost in the tradeoff before the conversation even starts. I thought it was a brave work, and I liked it.

Shocked at how much non-fiction I've read this year. Not my usual genre, I like to get wrapped up in a story and a tale. But these have all engaged me, and many of them have read like non-fiction.

message 2: by Denizen (new)

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments Amy wrote: "Lean In is about women not being afraid to move forward in their careers, if they desire to do so. Sheryl Sandberg tries to do the impossible (as women are oft to try to do.) Her book attempts to t..."

My daughter read this a few years ago (about 30) and thought it was excellent. I received almost daily reports. Having had her first child this past winter, she is wrestling with many of the issues.

I try to lend her a sympathetic ear but am personally at the age and stage of my life that I'm focused on just staying upright:-(

message 3: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments This book has been vaguely on my radar, but since I left the formal workforce long ago, it doesn't seem that pertinent to my life. But the way you describe it totally makes me want to read it!

message 4: by AsimovsZeroth (new)

AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments Yeah, I've heard of this one before, but it never really interested me. I come from a nonprofit background and my childhood was inundated with a lot of books that seemed similar. It does sound interesting, from the way you describe it, but like Denizen and Anita, it doesn't seem like it's very relevant to me. I may not be in my 30's quite yet, but I'm disabled, so like Denizen, I'm more focused on staying upright, than worrying about a career!

Still, you do have me closer to the fence on this one, than I was before. I'm curious, what are a couple of the perceptions you've found yourself questioning?

message 5: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8291 comments That's such a good question, about my challenging of my own perceptions. Well first, I would add that have been recently read and reviewed Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert has a similar contention, that we have all these fears inside of ourselves that keep us from being the person we want to be, from creating her own brand of big magic with whatever dream we have. Looking at the list of fears in her book from pages 13 to 15, I thought about how we as women can relate to so many of these, but also how often these themes are one's men struggle with too. I found this similarly to reading Sandberg's book, that one focused on how it's actually our internal perceptions that have a huge role in keeping us back, I actually also thought of several male patients who have similar internal struggles. And I found that was interesting to me, that many women question our abilities and capacities, but that it is not always just our gender that struggles with this.

Back onto what you are asking, perhaps I took that slight diversion to delay, I think we all have to justify our own choices and our own decision-making when it comes to life work balance, family versus career, ambition versus contentment. I think I do try to be sensitive about the mommy wars – meaning the judgments that we make to one another, about who is working too hard and not paying enough attention to their families, and at what cost, and who we maybe think never really got it together to work at all. And there are still plenty of women who have their own questionings about why they never fought hard enough for a career. In general I try very hard not to judge others, or have bias. And I often hope that I get compassion rather than judgment from others for the choices that I make. I also thought about how I am in a professionally female dominated career, and while some of the questions are still the same, and the challenges are of course the same, I am not dealing with executives as colleagues. Nor fortune 500 companies, nor social media, and ambition and success in my field looks very very different. But did I have to question some of the judgments I was making? Sure, I'm human. Just because my life probably doesn't and will never look like Sheryl Sandberg's, I'm not in a position to judge her. Or make judgments. I have to admit though, I found myself doing that in a few places, and I had to pull myself back into check. It's important for women to support each other in these difficult choices and not judge each other. And it's important for us to become aware of one we have. There were a few moments in my mind that I had to observe myself having a reaction to the author and to some of the stories that she described. On the other hand, much of it also the inspirational. So there you have it, I hope I've well answered the question.

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