Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.
Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.
In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.
Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.
negotiations involve drawn-out, successive moves, so women need to stay focused … and smile. No wonder women don’t negotiate as much as men. It’s like trying to cross a minefield backward in high heels. So what should we do? Should we play by the rules that others created? Should we figure out a way to put on a friendly expression while not being too nice, displaying the right levels of loyalty and using “we” language? I understand the paradox of advising women to change the world by adhering to
scramble is the best description of my career. Younger colleagues and students frequently ask me how I planned my path. When I tell them that I didn’t, they usually react with surprise followed by relief. They seem encouraged to know that careers do not need to be mapped out from the start. This is especially comforting in a tough market where job seekers often have to accept what is available and hope that it points in a desirable direction. We all want a job or role that truly excites and
village to raise a child, but in my case, it took a village just to get the child out of me. My hours in labor went on … and on … and on. For my supporters, excitement gave way to boredom. At one point, I needed help through a contraction but couldn’t get anyone’s attention because they were all on the other side of the room, showing family photos to my doctor. It has been a running joke in my family that it’s hard to hold anyone’s attention for too long. Labor was no exception to that rule.
homes. My brother had a wonderful role model in my father, who was an engaged and active parent. Like most men of his generation, my father did very little domestic work, but unlike most men of his generation, he was happy to change diapers and give baths. He was home for dinner every night, since his ophthalmology practice required no travel and involved few emergencies. He coached my brother’s and sister’s sports teams (and would have happily coached mine if I had been the slightest bit
Its Families: Lack of Paid Leave and Work-Family Supports in the US (2011), http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us0211webwcover.pdf. 24. Ellen Bravo, “ ‘Having It All?’—The Wrong Question to Ask for Most Women,” Women’s Media Center, June 26, 2012, http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/having-it-allthe-wrong-question-for-most-women. 25. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Women Hurting Women,” New York Times, September 29, 2012,