09 May Book Review: Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg
The Book That Has Become a Movement
To be totally truthful, I’ve had this book for a long while now, but was put off reading it by the cover. It’s just so old fashioned and, well, ungrabby. But, after two people had mentioned the book in the same week I dug around and dug it out.
Now I’m extremely glad that I did so. Sandberg’s Lean In is a call to arms for women to contribute to the workplace, and “lean in” to leadership and high profile positions. She calls for equal parenting, and for senior men to actively mentor young women. Sandberg argues that the norm is to mentor those who are like you, so men are traditionally drawn to mentoring other men, younger versions of themselves.
One story haunted me in particular: that of the working business lunch where the women withdrew with their plates to the side of the room while the men sat up at the boardroom table. Even when nudged to join the men at the table, the women still kept to the sidelines. It’s a frightening metaphor and a reminder of how hard it is to break out of the same old behaviour.
I did find myself muttering now and again, as yes, she is one of those woman who seemingly has it all (not that she hasn’t worked for it), but was very sad to hear of her husband’s death, which I didn’t know about while I was reading Lean In. Even now Sandberg is thinking bigger than just her self and her own life and campaigning for single mothers and paid maternity leave, just like she stepped up for pregnant women at Google when she realised they hadn’t been allocated closer parking spaces.
Sandberg is a real Scarlet Thinker, with both insight and energy and an inspiration to anyone, whatever sex, and I love the fact that there are now Lean In circles all around the world. Just one more achievement for this very talented woman.