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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Hardcover – 12 Mar 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 408 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WH Allen (12 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753541629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753541623
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (408 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"If you loved Sheryl Sandberg’s incredible TEDTalk on why we have too few women leaders, or simply believe as I do that we need equality in the boardroom, then this book is for you. As Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg has first-hand experience of why having more women in leadership roles is good for business as well as society. Lean In is essential reading for anyone interested in righting the injustice of this inequality" (Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, the Virgin Group)

"Sheryl provides practical suggestions for managing and overcoming the challenges that arise on the “jungle gym” of career advancement. I nodded my head in agreement and laughed out loud as I read these pages. Lean In is a superb, witty, candid, and meaningful read for women (and men) of all generations" (Condoleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State)

"Sheryl Sandberg brilliantly explains how she believes women must put themselves forward if the gender gap is ever to be closed – I agree, but I would add women should not only lean in, but also stand up and cheer." (Martha Lane Fox)

"Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.’ With stories from her own life and data carefully researched, Sheryl Sandberg reminds women that they have to believe in themselves and reach for opportunities. More women than men may need that advice, but I'd bet that both genders would profit from this very well-done book" (Marjorie Scardino, Former CEO, Pearson PLC)

"For the past five years, I've sat at a desk next to Sheryl and I've learned something from her almost every day. She has a remarkable intelligence that can cut through complex processes and find solutions to the hardest problems. Lean In combines Sheryl's ability to synthesize information with her understanding of how to get the best out of people. The book is smart and honest and funny. Her words will help all readers―especially men―to become better and more effective leaders" (Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook)

Book Description

A provocative and inspiring work on overcoming the obstacles facing women on the path to leadership

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Top Customer Reviews

By Julia Flyte TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has written a book about why she believes women need to be better represented in leadership positions in government and industry and the steps that they might take to improve their chances of doing so. While she draws on her own experiences - and those of her friends and colleagues - she also cites copious research (personalised for the edition that you are reading, whether it is the US, UK or Australian/NZ edition). The book is not long, nor difficult to read, and it is guaranteed to get you thinking.

Sandberg makes some really interesting points about the ways that men and women are judged differently (by people of both sexes) and that like it or not, women need to understand this and work with it rather than fighting it. Women can't behave in exactly the same ways that men do and get away with it. She also talks about mistakes that women make, like avoiding new jobs or responsibilities because they plan to have a family soon. She makes the point that the time to cut back is after the baby arrives, not before - and that possibly, if the job is satisfying you, you may make different decisions to the ones that you anticipated.

This is very much a book that is encouraging women to climb corporate ladders (Sandberg's point being that the more women there are at high levels, the more that all women in the workforce will benefit). What she doesn't address is the issues that women may face if they don't want their lives to be so career driven. While she is an advocate for paid parental leave, she talks about taking off weeks (maybe a few months). Her idea of cutting back is leaving work at 5.30pm but then putting in several more hours later at night.
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I bought this book because I had read some reviews of it - and was intrigued - what was this woman saying that had wound some people up so much ?

What she has said is: I am a working woman with kids who wants my daughter, and every other woman's daughter, to have equal opportunities as she grows up. And I believe a world where woman are in positions of power and influence will be a better world for everyone.

This clear and simple message seems to have got lost in a row about who she is - too successful, too rich, too white, too first world. All arguments that she deals with graciously and thoughtfully in the book. In fact having read it, I assume that the people who have weighed in with the most criticism just haven't bothered to read and considered what she has written. I would read it and consider it on its merits. As a book, it does quote a lot of research, and it doesn't always flow well. But it still contains some important messages. Well done her for taking the risk in putting her head above the parapet and starting a debate about what it means to be a woman in the 21st Century.
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I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (SS) last weekend. I found it accessible, compulsive reading and surprisingly radical. I would recommend it to both women and men as it's full of enlightening and useful insights as well as constructive advice.

A lot of what SS says chimed with me. I don't believe we have perfect equality yet, but I certainly believe that I've had opportunities that weren't available to my mother or her generation, let alone to women in less developed parts of the world. I am thankful to earlier generations of feminists for their work and for being born in the UK.
I was also brought up with the expectation that I would work and support myself; that my parents would support me through my education, but then the rest was up to me. Finding a rich husband wasn't encouraged...nor discouraged for that matter. I am grateful to them for letting me discover my own path.

I do agree there are subtle differences in how girls are brought up and how we are treated in the workplace. "Benevolent sexism" Sheryl calls it. Girls are encouraged to be good and nice and not assert themselves too much, especially around boys. Women in powerful positions are judged far more harshly than their male counterparts by both men AND women. It always shocks me how appearance seems to matter so much more for women than for men for example. Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel all had to modify their appearance. John Prescott could certainly afford to, but never did!

But I also agree that we hold ourselves back, or don't "lean in" as Sheryl would say. I can think of countless times when I let male colleagues dominate in meetings or didn't put myself forward for things. I didn't want to get noticed too much.
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I was expecting (and was very well prepared) to hate this book. Books by high profile and usually egotistical business leaders based on their volcano-like career path and single view of the world usually make me slightly nauseas just looking at the book jacket photo and bio. As a fat white bloke and Nice Guy Mysoginist (thanks for that one Sheryl!) bathed in the scientific fact and the diversity consultant rhetoric of the ‘gender agenda’ I wondered what new evidence led ideas and perspectives a busy COO had to bring to the table. Usually COOs talk the talk but don’t invest their time and reputation in diversity issues unless there is some self promotion.
I hoped that was not Sheryl’s ‘thing’.
Just how I came to have ‘Lean in’ in my holiday suitcase I am not sure, but a respected client had mentioned it as having been instrumental in developing their women in leadership programme and I had bought it as a ‘skimmer’ book for one of my many train journeys. In the rush to pack and wanting some light relief from the neuroscience books already packed I placed it at the bottom of the reading list knowing that by the time it reached the top some other distraction would hopefully have trumped it.
How stupid was (am) I? I started to read it on holiday, day 9 of 14, whilst in Cannes. I am a little shamed to say that I missed many of the town delights, including my planned trip to the famous beach, because this book was totally enthralling. Firstly, this is not your usual ‘How Sheryl got to the top’ book. Nor a gospel according to Sheryl. You have to pick around the chapters to piece together the author’s career and the central tenets are laid out as the chapter headings. And there is not one duff chapter.
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