Sheryl Sandberg had me at, “I gained 70 lbs!”
I had heard a lot about this book, but I really wasn’t sure that I could relate to this woman. At all. I expected a book by a carefully made up, wealthy, privileged woman with an excellent education in a token leadership position. I expected someone with a lot of help who could “do it all”, with little – if any – credit to the people who helped her do it.
I, on the other hand, joined the Army for the college benefits, and I put myself through law school. I don’t aspire to manage a corporation. In fact, indirectly, I work for one of the people she mentions in her book. I am an attorney, and I want to be the best litigator I can be. I am also the proud mother of two teenagers, and I worry that I shouldn’t have worked outside of the home – but that wasn’t a choice I had.
I was wrong about Sandberg. Like me, and the rest of us, she is real. Sandberg’s a sociologist, a critic, a coach, a realist. Sandberg gives props to important leaders from Warren Buffet to Betty Freidan, and to her administrative assistant and her friends. Bravo! Sandberg, get out your pom-poms - Tip O’Neil is calling from the grave.
Sandberg doesn’t mention “Games Mother Never Taught You” by Betty Lehan Harrigan (1987), but that is analogous to some of the tactics she recommends. Yes, it would be better if we (women) didn’t have to bend to the (male) rules, but we do. Harrigan’s book is a guidebook, and as helpful as Freidan’s “The Feminine Mystique” in some ways.
There is a hysterically funny tale involving an eBay corporate jet and an itchy child’s head, but for real fun, skip to Chapter 6 (7 on audible) and listen to the first minute. Sandberg reminds us even while we should do what we would do if we weren't afraid, motherhood keeps us grounded.
Oh, and did I mention – Sandberg is the COO of Facebook – and she really does know what she’s doing?
This book is fantastic. Lean In!
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My first reaction to Andrew M. Grant’s “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Management” was “You’ve got to be kidding! Are you really telling me that if we hold hands, sing ‘Kumbaya’, and share our shovels in the sandbox, everything will be okay at the office?”
That’s not what Grant was saying - at all – but it took an uncomfortably long time for him to get to that point.
Grant advances the position that those who give generously, both professionally and personally, are more likely to be successful than “takers” (about 15% of people) or “matchers” ( about 70%). It’s a compelling argument, and Grant backs up his position with widely regarded studies and valid statistics. According to Grant, a business organization is well served by finding and developing givers (sharers), whose collaborative work with other givers often returns far more than the work of takers or matchers.
Grant also points out an important fault of givers: Statistically, givers are also more likely to be low achievers or failures, if they become “doormats.” Grant has some valuable tips for doormats to recognize takers, and extract themselves from “no sum” or “negative sum” relationships.
I listened to “Give and Take” on the heels of Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” I wondered until halfway through the book if Grant was even considering women in the workplace. Many of the “giver” techniques he recommends are the very techniques that, when used by women leaders, erode whatever leadership foundation they have.
Grant eventually points out that the communication techniques he is recommending will not work for anyone presenting in a leadership role (at a board meeting, for example), although they will work for a leader as a team member.
Grant has some invaluable tips for how women can effectively negotiate higher salaries and gain respect in an organization, even while they are “givers” (or “sharers”, in my parlance).
This book didn’t have the impact “Lean In” did for me, but it had some invaluable suggestions I will incorporate into my life. I am now much more confident about being a “giver” and recognizing “takers”.
I had an unexpected issue with the narration of this book: Brian Keith Davis, the reader, is so smooth, he reminded me of Casey Kasem, the host of American Top 40. I listened to that radio show every Sunday night as a teenager, eagerly waiting to find out what the new Number 1 song was. Several times, after an especially positive anecdote in “Give and Take”, I expected to hear a current pop song. As I write this review, the Number 1 Billboard song Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” That is especially apropos for this book.