Review of an Inspiring Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

By Shivalika Sharma

Hi! Have you ever dreamed, wished or had a desire?

I know the very obvious answer to this is a big YES with a nod, sprinkled with either smile or a pinch of regret.

But what did you do for that something you wanted to have or somewhere you wanted to reach or someone you wanted to be with or the goal you wanted to achieve? You would have tried; you would have, have to LEAN IN!!

Well that’s the agenda ‘Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg’ has set for this, out of the board-room meeting with all of us.

Members are notified – join in with an open mind, leave your presentations out of the room!!

Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg, Genre – Non- Fiction

This book is a reality check from a female author, a woman COO and a proud feminist (the F word which is often misunderstood). She has written this book with a vision of a truly equal world.

One where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes

And to add on that where nouns like “female” and “woman” are not used as adjectives!!

About the author and Why Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg is a Harvard graduate and an accomplished business leader who was born on 28th August, 1969. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, having done earlier stints with Google and McKinsey. She is also the founder of leanin.org. In the year 2012, she was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.

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Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg has inspired countless women around the world. (Image Source: USA Today)

From her early days at college, Sheryl questioned why there is a line of Dolls vs. Cars, Pink vs. Blue, Kitchen vs. Bills, Pretty vs. Smart and so forth stereotypes when dealing with boys vs. girls! Apparently our society is defining an appropriate behavior and setting skewed expectations for and from the two genders.

This propelled Sheryl to speak out for all that biased behaviour, differentiation and stigmas that lead to impostor-syndrome in our better-half of the population, resulting in marginalized ratio of females in world leadership.

Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg, published in March, 2013, is not a manifesto, or a white paper stating what’s right or wrong. It’s the mirror to our society. It’s a call for, a better and equal world for all.

What’s cooking in the book?

Half-cooked food is never cherished. So what happens when 50% of the human race is not getting the right environment to be an equal contributor in the world we build and live in?

We need to empower women at work place and men at home. We need to break the gender stereotypes and the way we raise our kids to fight self-doubt and fill up the leadership ambition gap.

Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg Unveils Startup Garage
Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg, published in March, 2013, is not a manifesto, or a white paper stating what’s right or wrong. It’s the mirror to our society. It’s a call for, a better and equal world for all. (Image Source: InStyle)

This book is for anyone who believes in EQUALITY, that metrics of measurement should be fair, that in professional life especially, rewards should be on the basis of merit and accomplishments.

And now to set things right, it’s necessary no one is left out, everyone is at the table.

To be at the table

Imagine that every opportunity is the Cookie which is lying at the center, and the way girls are groomed to fit in the shoes of an ideal woman, are taught not to raise their voice, that if they deserve they will receive. What all she needs to do is to care, be a support and serve !

In this book Sheryl has made a point that it’s an equal responsibility of the men and co-women to call the lady standing in the corner to join-in. Then let her Lean In, to make a choice, to pick her cookie.

So be it a board room meeting, economic forum and a political discussion or for that matter dinner at home, whenever a discussion is taking place irrespective big or small, make sure “She” is at the table.

A little more from ‘Lean In’

Sheryl has come a long way, in this book she has shared multitude of anecdotes tagged with learning and supported most with some research and facts. Below are some points which I found quite interesting –

  • Corporate communication – that sweet spot where opinions are not brutally honest but delicately honest.
  • Feedback – like truth, is not absolute!
  • What makes us better leader – Emotions & Sense of humor!!
  • Real Partners – perfect equality is hard to sustain – But we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us.
  • Included –Fitting in or more colloquially being one of the guys!

Now, if you are a woman this will motivate you to never hesitate to raise your hand,  to ask questions,  and to seek and speak the truth. Pull up your socks of confidence to be your own mentor first. If you are a man, you’ll be able to understand what’s on the other side, because we are walking together.

Before I close, as famously said ‘No man is an Island’, so let’s “lean In” for self, for fellow women and men to fulfill the vision of “An equal world!”


About the Author

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Shivalika Sharma is an MBA graduate. In her precious time saved from  clocking the routine of 9 to 5, she likes to read books in the genres of philosophy, autobiography and fiction, write poetry, dance (i.e. a stress buster) and have long conversations with her little brother contemplating life. According to her, time well spent with family and friends is the most valuable. She is passionate about the causes of educating children and conserving the environment. She is an active volunteer with SPIC-MACAY an organisation promoting Indian culture and art-forms.

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