Lean In

Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Narrated by: Elisa Donovan
Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Business, Leadership
4.5 out of 5 stars (13,782 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg's provocative, inspiring book about women and power - grew out of an electrifying TED talk Sandberg gave in 2010, in which she expressed her concern that progress for women in achieving major leadership positions had stalled. The talk became a phenomenon and has since been viewed nearly 2,000,000 times. In Lean In, she fuses humorous personal anecdotes, singular lessons on confidence and leadership, and practical advice for women based on research, data, her own experiences, and the experiences of other women of all ages. Sandberg has an uncanny gift for cutting through layers of ambiguity that surround working women, and in Lean In she grapples, piercingly, with the great questions of modern life. Her message to women is overwhelmingly positive. She is a trailblazing model for the ideas she so passionately espouses, and she's on the pulse of a topic that has never been more relevant.

©2013 Sheryl Sandberg; 2013 Random House Audio

Featured Article: 20 Best Business Audiobooks to Launch Your Next Career Move


From thought leadership pieces on productivity to in-depth programs for organizing your team and inspiring innovation, there are numerous areas you can develop in your career. And whether you want to build your own business or are just looking to develop interpersonal skills, there are so many resources for business advice that it can be overwhelming. But these business audiobooks keep it simple and to the point, drawing your attention in with relevant anecdotes and helpful examples. Here are the best 20 business audiobooks to help level up your career.

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Lean In, Lead On

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!

[If you found this review helpful, please click the Helpful button. That’s why I write these reviews!]

587 people found this helpful

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A BOMB!

What did you like best about this story?

Sheryl Sandberg isn't afraid to share. Everything is extremely personal and inspiring. I am recommending this book to my male friends. I believe that they will be able to understand and help with gender equalities if they read Sheryl's book.

What does Elisa Donovan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Elisa's voice is similar to that of Sheryl's. I am glad that I listen to it rather than read it.

26 people found this helpful

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Make your life count - no matter what you do

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I write this review as a way to invite EVERYONE to read this book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The only character is my favorite - the woman who cares to make her life engaging and important to herself and those around her.

This is a book written as a manifesto and manual for changing the way women behave and are regarded. How you regard yourself and how our culture regards you.

What aspect of Elisa Donovan’s performance would you have changed?

I became accustomed to the narrator but would have preferred a more mature and mellifluous voice. I think the more mature voice might have also had more credibility.

For me, there is a nasal edge that grates ever so slightly the entire book.

All I could think was "Ms. Sandberg must have been mentoring or sponsoring this person".

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. In fact, this book is to be really listened to - the more attention paid, the better the results.

Also, there is a companion website that is spectacularly effective and interesting for building skills.

I might actually purchase the book as well as having listened to it. There are sections I will want to read again and again.

39 people found this helpful

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Wow--if you're a mother/working women, a must read

If you could sum up Lean In in three words, what would they be?

A must read!

What did you like best about this story?

Maybe some women don't need to hear this; maybe they are already aware and changing or simply not this way, but as an executive with almost two decades of experience, this one captured my attention and then left me gaping in horror--I was hearing her describe me! Only, I thought I was alone. I wanted to hear more--who was this intruder and how did she escape?

Any additional comments?

This is one I will keep in my office and hand out like candy

14 people found this helpful

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I battled with the narration

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration was fine most of the time. The narrator often had a voice that sounded like she was a doll or consoling a child. It just felt like she was trying to sound extra girly and her voice was an octave higher than it should be. The topic of this book made me feel like that kind of sound was not appropriate for the book. The editing made it so it was sway between these different tones, I didn't love it. I didn't let these feelings ruin the book for me. I just would have preferred a different narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Due to the statistics and facts that accompany each anecdote it would make it a bit painful to listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

For the most part, I really liked her message. I like the stuff about work, but things related to having kids doesn't apply to me right now, so I found it less interesting. I think this book is definitely worth the read.

13 people found this helpful

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Redefining Feminism

Sherly Sandberg has redefined feminism to what women of my generation had always hoped it could become, a movement that gives people of both genders the freeedom to become all they choose to be. The book is well written and honest with specific suggestions on how women and men can make the workplace and home more supportive to allow for these choices. She shares her own personal experiences and success without arrogance, but in a manner that shares her learning with others to support them in their own journey.I bought the book in print for my son and daughter-in-law who are expecting their first child in July - a daughter. I bought the book for my daughter and all of her friends. She is early twenties just beginning her career. Sheryl has provided a road map by sharing her knowledge that will provide young women with information many of us wish we had had during our careers. Outstanding book which I believe will become a turning point in the feminist movement world wide.

12 people found this helpful

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full of useful info...without the corporate-speak

Full disclosure: I'm a guy.
Wow, if women in corporate America have been walking around with these insecurities for the past too many years, there is a lot of repairing to do. Sandberg lays out a wide range of sensible solutions to pick from; all designed to allow women (or men) to perform at their highest level. If enough folks read this book and are able to bring its solutions to the workplace, we could probably add another percentage point or two to GDP growth! Narration is great.

38 people found this helpful

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Not for the Single Woman With No Family

What would have made Lean In better?

If you're a working mother looking for a book to make you feel good about your choice this is the book for you. Being a single career woman with no family to feel bad about neglecting, it was not the book for me. There are a few pieces of good advice regarding communicating and negotiating in a male-dominated workplace but, for the most part, this book goes on an on about a guilt-free mindset for those women who have chosen to put career ahead of family.

15 people found this helpful

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Not as relatable as anticipated.

By the last 2 hours, I just wanted it to be over. Repetitive. Shallow. Very. .. Rich people problems vantage point.

The reading performance sounded too patronizing and overly sweet.

Maybe the citations or sources for statistics are in the hard copy? vague citations.

And really... really only scratched at the root of the problem.

4 people found this helpful

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Very inspiring!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely reccomend this to a friend.

Even way (and I mean, wayyyyy) before I was a mother to my two children, I had always wondered how I would ever be able to juggle both work and motherhood. As a now stay at home small business owner, I still struggle to find the answers to my self or the family.
The author tackles the issue with her own highly professional career experiences with plenty of scientific data to back up.
Easy to read and very inspiring. Definitely a huge eye opener.

By the time I finished reading, I felt like as if I was given a clear path to the solutions, although it will not come without the help of my husband, now I see where I should put my full effort in achieving a good balance between work and home.

One thing though that I wished to see was how companies could provide a flexible work time without economical penalties... If there's any way!

But overall I'm very happy to have read the book and also given the media attention this book is getting already, I'm thrilled to see the movements that are coming along the way!

Thank you Sheryl for inspiring us women!

29 people found this helpful

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  • Bola Sol
  • 09-26-16

As a black woman let me say this!

So many people who reviewed this had said it was hard to relate to her because she was Jewish and came from a middle class background. As a black woman from the lower class background I still found myself nodding and even clapping along to what was being said. This is a MUST read.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 09-08-15

Fantastic!! A must read for women and men!

Inspiring, engaging and very interesting. Excellent narrative, uses data and information from a variety of sources to make objective points.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica, London
  • 08-21-17

At first, I thought her understanding was superficial

I've studied both psychology and management science and I have often found that people who work in management but who don't study psychology or sociology, have a superficial understanding of why things are the way they are in the workplace.

This being the case, I was a bit sceptical at the start of this audiobook, because I thought it wouldn't demonstrate a deep understanding of why women are so underrepresented in the upper levels of management. The first couple of chapters didn't go into much depth, but as I made my way further into the book, I was really impressed by the insight Sheryl Sandberg brings to the fore, backed up with statistics. I expected her to be more of a handmaiden... but she's really not.

She has been very brave to write this and she expresses aspects of feminist theory with such clarity. It means this is a very approachable book and I really didn't expect her to have read people like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.


I was massively impressed. I will definitely be quoting things Sheryl has said, particularly chapter 11 where she talks about women internalising the idea that they are second class citizens (because we are all subtly encouraged to hold this view) and then by upholding this way of thinking, they become unwitting proponents of a value system that holds them back.

Really great book, highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lampy
  • 08-03-16

Narrator a tad annoying

I like the book, everyone raves about it for good reason.

I found the narrator really annoying but pushed through it - very heavily nasal and switches to a whiney voice when talking about being a mother.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kieran
  • 12-06-19

Important for men

So, I have to be honest, especially when I first began reading this book I was scepticle. I'm a 30 year old male so it's not exactly what I'd normally read.

There are times when I disagree with the content or believe it doesn't stress enough that some women choose to stay at home and consider it the 'difficult decision'. However, by the end the 'rally call' becomes a more balanced view. But I think reading this is as important for men as is it for women. I found it has made me more aware and conscious of how social bias may affect our decision making towards others and I believe this awareness will allow me to focus more on facts rather than judgements when hiring.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lisa Sacks
  • 09-24-17

Must read for everyone.

I read this book in 2 days as I simply couldn't put it down.
I think it's a "must read" for everyone of every gender & age; studying, working and stay at home - it explains so much about the way things work (or don't), about the incredible waste of a pool of talent, and about how to negotiate, act and try to think about traditional gender roles.
I also think it will help many to think about the way ahead and what kind of society we want ourselves and our children to live in.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-16-20

Inspired Female

I have struggled with learning back but could see it hindered my growth at the male dominated automotive industry. I must say I feel inspired and from today onwards I will be at the table. The narrator is the best. Thanks

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  • Melody Jansen
  • 03-08-20

Positive and Empowering

Sheryl has clearly raised many issues in the work place. I think any young woman about to leave high school and embark on a career should read or listen to Sheryl's wise words and experiences.

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  • Hannah Chadwick
  • 02-29-20

All women should get this book

I found this book very eye opening and truly believe it contains discussions that genuinely need to take place. I can’t wait for my daughter to get older as I want her to listen to this too.

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  • Ms. K. Mistry
  • 02-20-20

great insights to empower women to lean in

a great listen of clear insights of how everything should be equal for both men and women in the home and work life! recommended to all!!

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  • Jasyl
  • 03-13-17

Empowering...

I really enjoyed this book. She explains things us women should really embrace. Thumbs up!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kai1
  • 12-14-16

Very impactful audiobook!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Its quite sad to know this is written pre her husband passing away because she talks so fondly of him and so much. Overall I found it really uplifting to listen to, so much so I shared it with my sister via the share this book thing - she's in need of a bit of professional peppin' up at the moment juggling being a mum and career focused, this does the job.. I mean why not learn from the best right?

Any additional comments?
Read this is you want to read a " female version of the Elon Musk/Steve Jobs book " Failing that just listen because its ace, and listening to things that are ace, is ace.

Just to let you know, I work for Audible, but the views expressed in this review are 100% my own.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Desleigh White
  • 04-05-17

great listen. pick the pieces relevant

this book was recommended by a senior ex public servant who read it late in her career. there are some great points made, important issues raised. not all of which are relevant to me (as a non parent) but valuable and interesting nonetheless

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 03-08-17

empowered

I just stepped into a management position when a friend recommend this book. It was inspiring and empowering. A must read for all women!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kirsten
  • 02-28-17

really gave me something to think about

thought provoking and mostly easy to listen to. the performance was hard to listen to for long periods of time as there wasnt a lot of variation in her energy. parts seemed a little repeatative but there is enough content of which i found useful and intetesting to recommend to others. im loving the jungle gym analogy!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sonya
  • 08-31-16

You need to read this!

I can honestly say this book has changed my life. Don't hesitate just read it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-18-20

Fantastic, well read & important for everyone

One of those tough pills to swallow and yet... every instance hits close to home. I have never looked at trying to work hard and hope I get noticed to be tiara syndrome but I guess it is. At my last job I was constantly skipped over because I was a woman.

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  • Simone
  • 01-06-20

Permission Catalyst

A good read to empower permission to choose the way we lead/work and parent. May more people support women in leadership and men at home. Let people choose their path.

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  • Danah Gochman
  • 10-07-19

Inspired

I loved this book and highly recommend for women and men in any stage of career or life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-19

enlightening

well written. very balanced view and clearly not based on the man hating variety of feminists. well worth the read