“We still have a problem” Sheryl Sandberg alarms us in her influential 2010 TED Talk,Why we have too few women leaders. “Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world.” While women are getting more college degrees and graduate degrees, and more women are entering the workforce than ever before, when it comes to leadership positions, women do not come close to matching their male counterparts. “The blunt truth is that men still run the world.”
Sandberg believes that the key to fixing this problem is to keep women in the workforce. In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead, she points out that the way to prevent women from dropping out of the workforce is by focusing on change at the individual level. She asks that we all do our part to change the messages we tell ourselves, the women we work with, and what we share with our daughters.
Lean In offers 3 valuable pieces of advice for all women who want to stay in the workforce and pursue leadership:
- Sit at the table.
- Don’t leave before you leave.
- Make your partner a real partner.
While Lean In is a book about advice for women and the workplace, it also serves as a pseudo-memoir where Sandberg outlines her pathway to a successful professional life starting with her childhood, descriptions of her mentors, highlights of critical moments in her college and post college years, and the variety of jobs she held before COO of Facebook. Each chapter focuses upon an important lesson illustrated with personal examples, critical references, and hard numbers. Through the book’s dialogue the reader learns that Sandberg’s decisions along her career path were not merely intuitive, but based upon considerable deliberation and weighing of priorities. Sandberg skillfully balances her own experience with numerous examples from other colleagues, mentors and friends – both men and women – in attempt to provide a more widespread discussion of her conclusions about the United States current work culture. The book, of course is published before the widely known tragic death of her husband Dave Goldberg in May of 2015. However, because the book is written as a means to start a conversation, the reader is encouraged to Lean In and go further. The reader walks away from the book, not necessarily an expert, or with the tools to exactly obtain success, but rather with considerable evidence to ponder upon as they determine what “Lean In” means to them, their life partner, and their personal and professional goals.
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