Lean In (Sandberg)

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Sheryl Sandberg, 2013
Knopf Doubleday
240 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780385349949



Summary
Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—August 28, 1969
Where—Washington, D.C., USA
Raised—North Miami Beach, Florida
Education—B.A., M.B.A., Harvard University
Currently—lives in Northern California


Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American businesswoman, who has served as the chief operating officer of Facebook since 2008. In June 2012, she was also elected to the board of directors by the existing board members becoming the first woman to serve on its board.

Before Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. She also was involved in launching Google's philanthropic arm Google.org. Before Google, Sandberg served as chief of staff for the United States Department of the Treasury. In 2012, she was named in "Time 100," an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world assembled by Time.

Sandberg is the daughter of Adele and Joel Sandberg and the oldest of three siblings. Her father, Joel, is an optometrist, and her mother, Adele, has a Ph. D. and worked as a French teacher before concentrating on raising her children. Her family moved to North Miami Beach, Florida when she was two years old. She attended public school and taught aerobics in the 1980s while still in high school.

In 1987, Sandberg enrolled at Harvard College and graduated in 1991 summa cum laude with an A.B. in economics and was awarded the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. While at Harvard, Sandberg met then-professor Larry Summers, who became her mentor and thesis adviser. Summers recruited her to be his research assistant at the World Bank, where she worked on health projects in India dealing with leprosy, AIDS, and blindness.

In 1993, she enrolled at Harvard Business School and in 1995 she earned her M.B.A. with highest distinction. After business school, Sandberg worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. From 1996 to 2001, Sandberg served as Chief of Staff to then United States Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers under President Bill Clinton where she helped lead the Treasury’s work on forgiving debt in the developing world during the Asian financial crisis.

She joined Google Inc. in 2001 and served as its Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations, from November 2001 to March 2008. She was responsible for online sales of Google's advertising & publishing products and also for sales operations of Google's consumer products & Google Book Search.
Facebook

Facebook
In late 2007, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, met Sandberg at a Christmas party; at the time, she was considering becoming a senior executive for The Washington Post Company. Zuckerberg had no formal search for a COO but thought of Sandberg as "a perfect fit" for this role. They spent more time together in January 2008 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and in March 2008 Facebook announced hiring Sheryl Sandberg away from Google.

After joining the company, Sandberg quickly began trying to figure out how to make Facebook profitable. Before she joined, the company was "primarily interested in building a really cool site; profits, they assumed, would follow." By late spring, Facebook's leadership had agreed to rely on advertising, "with the ads discreetly presented"; by 2010, Facebook became profitable. According to Facebook, Sandberg oversees the firm's business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications.

Her executive compensation for FY 2011 was $300,000 base salary plus $30,491,613 in FB shares. According to her Form 3, she also owns 38,122,000 stock options and restricted stock units (worth approx. $1.45 billion as of mid-May 2012) that will be completely vested by May 2022, subject to her continued employment through the vesting date.

In 2012 she became the eighth member (and the first female member) of Facebook's board of directors.

Personal
In 2004, Sandberg married David Goldberg. The couple live in Northern California and have two children. (From Wikipedia.)



Book Reviews
Stand up. Step forward. Speak out. Be smart and strong, and don't torpedo your own efforts in the workplace. That's the assertiveness for which Lean In is a landmark manifesto. Writing this book was gutsy…Lean In will be an influential book. It will open the eyes of women who grew up thinking that feminism was ancient history, who recoil at the word but walk heedlessly through the doors it opened. And it will encourage those women to persevere in their professional lives.
Janet Maslin - New York Times


Sandberg...comes across as compassionate, funny, honest and likable. Indeed, although she refers early on in the book to a study showing that for men success and likability are positively correlated, whereas for women they are inversely correlated, she manages to beat that bum rap.... Sandberg’s advice to young women to be more ambitious...is framed here in more encouraging terms—“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”—addressing the self-doubt that still holds many women back.
Anne-Marie Slaughter - New York Times Book Review


Facebook COO Sandberg examines the dearth of women in major leadership positions, and what women can do to solve the problem, in this provocative tome. While acknowledging that women have made great strides in the business world, she posits that they still have a long way to go and lays out a plan for women to get there.... The author’s counsel...includes suggestions for increasing self-confidence,...understanding the role of mentors, ...juggling marriage and children,...and the importance of taking risks.... A new generation of women will learn from Sandberg’s experiences [in] this thoughtful and practical book.
Publishers Weekly


Taking examples from her own experience, Sandberg shows how expected gender roles work against women seeking top jobs.... The failure of social provisions—extended family leave, flexible working hours, etc., which are the norm in many European countries—make life especially difficult for middle-income families (and single parents).... She argues the need for a redefinition of gender roles so that men expect to share primary responsibility for child care, parents receive social support to accommodate work and family responsibilities, and stereotyping of male and female behavior is recognized as pernicious. A compelling case for reforms that support family values in the continuing "march toward true equality."
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
1. What does “lean in” mean? Why do you think women need to be urged to lean in?

2. The first three words in the book are “I got pregnant.” What does this signal about the kind of business book Lean In will be?

3. When Sandberg says, “The promise of equality is not the same as true equality” (p. 7), what does she mean? Have you found this statement to be accurate?

4. Why is “ambitious” often considered a derogatory word when used to describe a woman but complimentary when used to describe a man?

5. In chapter 2, Sandberg discusses the impostor syndrome: feeling like a fraud, fearing discovery with each success. Why do women feel this way more often than men do? What causes the gender gap?

6. Sandberg believes that there are times when you can reach for opportunities even if you are not sure you are quite ready to take them on—and then learn by doing.  Have you ever tried this?  What have you tried?  What was the result?

7. What did you learn from the anecdote on page 36, about keeping your hand up?

8. Why did Sandberg respond so negatively to being named the fifth most powerful woman in the world?

9. When negotiating, Sandberg tells women to use the word “we” rather than “I.” Why does the choice of pronoun make such a difference?

10. On page 48, Sandberg says, “I understand the paradox of advising women to change the world by adhering to biased rules and expectations.” How do you feel about her advice?

11. What’s your take on Sandberg’s suggestion that we think of the path to a satisfying career as a jungle gym rather than a ladder?

12. Sandberg argues that taking risks can be important in building a career. How have you approached risk-taking in your life?

13. Sandberg argues that mentorship relationships rarely happen from asking strangers to mentor you, but rather from an opportunity to engage with someone in a more substantive way. How has mentorship worked in your own experience?

14. People who believe that they speak “the truth” and not “their truth” can be very silencing of others, Sandberg says on page 79. What does she mean by this?

15. When considering employment after motherhood, Sandberg suggests that women shift the calculations and measure the current cost of child care against their salary ten years from now. Why is this a more effective perspective than just considering current costs? If you’re a parent, would this change your attitude toward employment and money?

16. In chapter 9, Sandberg blasts the myth of “having it all,” or even “doing it all,” and points to a poster on the wall at Facebook as a good motto: “Done is better than perfect.” (p. 125) What perfectionist attitudes have you dropped in order to find contentment?

17. Sandberg and her husband have different viewpoints about parenting: She worries about taking too much time away from their kids, while he’s proud of the time he does spend with them. Would it help women to adopt an attitude more like his?

18. In chapter 10, Sandberg discusses how the term “feminist” has taken on negative connotations. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why?

19. Discuss this assertion: “Staying quiet and fitting in may have been all the first generations of women who entered corporate America could do; in some cases, it might still be the safest path. But this strategy is not paying off for women as a group. Instead, we need to speak out, identify the barriers that are holding women back, and find solutions” (pp. 146–47).

20. In the book’s final chapter, Sandberg talks about the need to work together to create equality—to allow women to thrive in the workplace, and to allow men to participate proudly in the home and child rearing. What steps can you take right now to begin to make this happen?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

top of page (summary)

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2014