Title: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Release Date: March 11, 2013
Publisher: Random House Audio (Audio) / Knopf (Print)
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Social Issues
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has been troubled by the status of women in the workplace for her entire career. In this book, she details missteps that many women (including herself) make in regard to their careers and how women can “lean in” to support each other and themselves professionally.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is not only an empowering book about women in the workplace, but Sheryl Sandberg’s excellent advice can apply to every facet of a woman’s life.
I’ll admit it. When Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was first released, I had absolutely no interest in reading it. I wasn’t interested in hearing what I was doing wrong and why I was undermining my own career, which is basically what I’d heard it was about. Plus, as a freelancer, I have a very different job than the traditional office workplace. I just didn’t think it would apply to me. But, when I saw the audio available at my library, I decided to check it out on a whim. I figured that if I wasn’t enjoying it, I could quickly move on to something else. Little did I know that I’d be riveted, finding any and every excuse to listen to this audiobook as much as I could.
Lean In is a sort of manifesto about women in the workplace. It’s not aggressive; while Sandberg does tell us what we’re doing wrong, she’s inclusive. She understands these mistakes because she’s made them over and over again in her career. It’s interesting to listen to her stories and anecdotes, to understand her experiences on what it is to be one of the few females in such a powerful business position. She has a lot of good advice, and she speaks from a place of knowledge. It’s worth listening to.
But what surprised me about Lean In is how much it applied to other areas of my life. I’m not an aggressive person by nature; I tend to shy away from conflict and accept unfair treatment simply because I don’t want to make a fuss. Over the past year, I’ve been working to develop my voice and stand up for myself, and let me tell you: It’s not always been easy. I was shocked at how much what Sandberg had to say was relevant to this. It’s not just advice for the workplace, even though that’s how the book is framed. It’s a new way to live your life; I very much appreciated this message.
The audio production of Lean In is unabridged and runs about 6 and a half hours. The narrator, Elisa Donovan, is confident, with a great voice. In my head, she really became Sheryl Sandberg. This is an excellent choice for an audiobook, as the many different stories and anecdotes break up the book well.
What I also liked about Lean In is that it’s not a self-help book. This is not a step-by-step guide on how you’re going to succeed in the workplace. Instead, it’s a collection of thoughts, experiences, and (shocking) statistics that lead to one conclusion: Women must help themselves and each other, rather than settling for second best. In Sandberg’s view, half the companies should be run by women and half the households should be run by men. This isn’t about women being better than anyone; it’s about true equality, a message I can definitely get behind.