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  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Sheryl Sandberg
    • Narrated By Elisa Donovan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2719)
    Performance
    (2394)
    Story
    (2407)

    Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business - has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

    Claudia says: "Make your life count - no matter what you do"
    "Ivory tower lessons for startup billionaires"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Hidden among the cliche, name-dropping, political-career-foundation-building bulk of this book are legitimate lessons for women and men. A few valuable aspects:-The importance of leaning in, grabbing opportunities.-The importance of family and culture in creating the foundations for success (including the segment in which she - GASP - stresses the importance of two-parent families in raising children.The above represent less than 10% of the book, and would be better suited to an article rather than $20 publication.Now the problems:-The book begins with endless statistical victimization. Although she contradicts herself on this point a couple times - she clearly endorses the quota-esque view that until 50% of CEOs are women, 50% of men stay home to raise the kids, and 50% of world leaders are women -- we will inherently be a sexist, victimized society.-Never does she acknowledge that differences in % representation of men - or in an individual woman's interests and capabilities - may actually represent inherent differences in what men and women want to do with their lives; actual differences in how people are wired.-Strangely, she continually makes women feel that if they do not want the same things she wants in life - and if they do not want to pursue an aggressive executive career - then there is something wrong with them. This is indicative of a broader lack of perspective that there may even be an industry to work in outside of technology/social media - or even that there may be companies that are not incredibly successful, multi-billion dollar enterprises.-There are continual complaints about the cost of child care and how that impacts the ability of women to have children and careers. Her prescriptions are always based on how a vaguely defined "they" need to do more to pay for child care and provide more financial benefits for women. This is highly advisable as a recruiting and retention tool for companies that thrive on creativity and the ability to attract talent. Absolutely.-However, she seems oblivious to the cost of these services to the people who actually pay for them. She even acknowledges that, in her family life, she lets her husband pay the bills while she'd rather organize kids parties. I was surprised to see how blithely she lets her inattention to financial details slip out. Perhaps this is why she can so eagerly demand that the male-dominated corporate society pay for more and more benefits so that women AND men can continue to live convenient lives without paying the full cost of what they consume. Frankly, as you can tell, this is just a case of knee-jerk liberalism vs economic conservatism here. If you're a liberal who thinks that there is always OPM to finance your adventures, you'll be fine with this. If you're fiscally conservative, you'll reel back a bit at all the expenses she want other people to commit to.-Most importantly, if you run a business that is less successful than Facebook or Google - and if you have to meet payroll by selling product rather than selling stock - you may be a little more circumspect about her demands.-This issue seems out of place in a book that is largely positioned as a self-improvement book. In these passages, she's reverting to blame-the-man mode and blame-society mode. My reaction was that this is the worst possible advice and mindset to give women. It was strange to see a "self made" woman with so much to teach other women reverting to this approach.-Creating absurd, horrible caricatures of men to prove her points. This is perhaps the most annoying and frustrating aspect. She uses examples like the man who brags about playing soccer the afternoon his child was born. This, and examples like it, are overplayed throughout the book. Its like... this is what we are fighting against, girls! She counters with a few sensitive-man examples, to show us how men can recover and improve. Perhaps these examples are applicable in some working class culture where men still demand that women do the cooking - ok, that would be fair. But her continued railing against 1950s sexism (her words) seem increasingly out of date as the book progresses.-Ultimately, if you are the type who is prone to engage in the drama of ongoing race/sex struggles against oppression that you don't think is any different from a hundred years ago, you will gloss through all this nodding your head in fury against The Man.-However, if you're looking to succeed in a society that is largely fair and presents opportunities everywhere - you will have to skip through all of this to get to the productive part of the book - Where she actually provides wisdom and examples on how to Lean In.

    One final item:Crying. I'm sorry Sheryl. I don't care if Mark Zuckerberg gave you a hug. You're being purposely melodramatic and foolish to equate an executive "crying" over a humanitarian tragedy versus you crying because someone was saying nasty things about you at the office. I tear-up at a funeral, or on 9/11, or an SPCA commercial. For you to equate this type of "crying" to your reaction when someone at Facebook told someone you were a B**** or whatever is narcissistic and for those prone to be offended, offensive.Women: Do not cry at this sort of umbrage in the office. Lean In -- don't get sad, don't get even - Get ahead. Sheryl is not doing you any favors with this advice.You should read the book. (Incidentally the Audio narrator is horrible - she's like 15). But you should understand the context, and then remedy the damage by reading a book by a business leader or world leader. Condoleeza Rice, Martin Luther King, and Clarence Thomas had to endure much greater injustices than Sheryl Sandberg. You should juxtapose their struggles and advice against hers.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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