Short Summary: A controversial but very very good memoir from one of tech’s leading minds, Sheryl Sandberg.
Date Completed: June 29th, 2016
Where I read it: Birmingham, Alabama
Format: Audio book borrowed from library
Would I read it again: Probably
In my short summary above I mentioned how Lean In is considered controversial by many feminists and non-feminists alike, but I can’t really wrap my head around why. Perhaps it would have drawn less ire if it have been, instead, titled Lean ON?
Much of the premise of her book is how Sheryl believes the keys to success lie first in women surrounding themselves (and men in turn surrounding women) with support. Because behind every successful woman is a lifetime of other women and men who lift her up.
“Leaning in” is about is not about asking permission, it’s not about infiltrating the men’s world and trying to make tiny changes to make it more friendly. It’s not about propping yourself up with so many responsibilities you become both irreplaceable and completely paralyzed. And it’s not just applicable to rich white women.
It’s simply about the fact that we can’t change the rules of the game without freaking changing the rules of the game. Sitting back and waiting on others to do it means it will never get done.
Claim your place at the table, and instead of being put off by criticism or setbacks by someone else’s game, make it your own.
But we simply cannot do it by ourselves. As Mrs. Sandberg points out in her book, of all the successful women she knows only one does it without an egalitarian partner.
Reading this book knowing that within a few short years of its writing Sandberg would lose the loving and supportive husband to whom she dedicated so many words of affectionate praise was just short of heartbreaking.
So women, we can’t make it without changing the rules of the game, and we can’t make it by ourselves. Whether you lean in, lean on, or do the lean, I don’t care, let’s just stop tearing other women down, shall we?