By Sheryl Sandberg
So, clearly, there has been a ton of buzz about this book, which tends to turn me off a bit, but when it came up at Rebecca’s work, we decided to bite the bullet and read it (I just beat her to it here on the blog). I entered with super low expectations—I had imagined some sort of 80’s powersuit, dog-eat-dog type of guide—but I have to admit that I very quickly changed my mind.
After reading the introduction, where Sandberg directly addresses how complicated and potentially problematic it can be to try to give blanket professional advice to women across all lifestyle choices and financial situations, I thought, okay, this might not be so bad. After the first couple chapters, I started to find points relevant to my own work behavior, and by a third of the way through, I was completely sold on Sandberg.
Now, I did have to tailor the advice to my own situation, of course. I am not a particularly aggressive or ambitious person, pretty much directly opposite to Sandberg herself, but one of the most important take-aways for me was guidance on how to work with aggressive and ambitious people (especially being vigilant about not letting cultural indoctrination lead me to react poorly to women in particular being this way).
So, I guess I’m just jumping on the very crowded bandwagon to say that this book is both a worthwhile read and actually a pretty entertaining one, as well. (In the acknowledgments page, she thanks her editor “who never heard an anecdote that couldn’t be expanded on” and I’d like to extend my thanks to her, too, since I love a good anecdote!) So even if you don’t think it is your type of book, you may very well enjoy it.
I was really impressed (and surprised) by how good this book was. However, I read a later edition, titled “Lean In for Graduates” which had several extra chapters written by other people. While the short anecdotes from readers of the first edition telling their stories were good, none of the other advice writers were on par with Sandberg, and the book ended weak and annoying. I definitely recommend the the portion actually written by Sandberg though!