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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Paperback – 6 Aug 2015
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"A landmark manifesto" (New York Times)
"Lively, entertaining, urgent, and yes, even courageous … Lean In is both a radical read and incredibly accessible … While it’s obvious that women have much to gain from reading Sandberg’s book, so do men – perhaps even more so" (Guardian)
"A brave book to write … direct, funny and critical" (The Economist)
"The business manual of the year" (The Times)
"Any woman should welcome Lean In as a guide to cracking the glass ceiling" (Independent)
From the Inside Flap
In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In became a massive cultural phenomenon and its title became 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.
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Key tips: 'sit at the table' (ie put yourself forward and don't hold yourself back - 'what would you do if you were not afraid?"); be aware of gender stereotyping and explain why you are going to negotiate before you do negotiate - but don't fail to negotiate (men negotiate naturally and it is expected of them); 'make your partner a real partner' (and, for example, don't go in for gatekeeper behaviour at home and ask him to step aside and let you do it when he's making a mess of things - let him do it himself and learn); generally in finding a job look at the growth potential of the company (as the author did with Google) and think what you can offer an employer that the employer actually wants/needs; and on living your life understand that time is a scarce resource and you can't have or do it all - the whole essence of the thing is trade-offs and decisions.
So, there's a lot of interest here; and the book gives every appearance of being well researched as well as full of personal material. The author tells us in the afterward that she has a co-writer; and that even so writing the book has taken out of the time she spends with her husband. This also has the ring of truth - but it does to some extent underscore the idea that the author is something of an exceptional human being.
I would recommend cross-checking her thinking against the recent book The XX Factor by Alison Wolf. That carefully explains that there are three life styles for women today - one fot the top 1%, another for the remainder of the top 20%, and a third for the other 80%. Sandberg is definitely part of the top 1% in that grouping. So perhaps her thinking is not entirely for everyone....
Recommended to: All women who care about their work, professional life and career satisfaction and all men who care to play their role to make it a better world. Together we can make the difference.
It does highlight inequality in many areas which still exist between men and women in the work place today as well as at home and wishes for women to accept each others choices and for men to step up on the home front but also be free to choose a more unconventional path.
Sheryl highlights the fact that we still have too few women on the top levels in management and in politics and believes addressing this gender gap will lead to a more balanced society with more choices.
She hopes more women will "lean in" and give it all before deciding to step back rather than to "pre decide on how to manage motherhood" as they wont have as much to go for by the time they have kids and could be coming back to an interesting/challenging job.
But wow, did it get me now! Well written, insightful, full of stories and advice.
Best book I've read in ages!
So inspiring - I've talked to many people about it, recommended to many female friends and colleagues - and to male too!
It really makes you take stock and not only want to lean in, but feel like you have to!
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