Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”





Reviewed by Femflection


Sheryl 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. 

Some “Lean In” quotes:

  • “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
  • “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.”
  • “There is no perfect fit when you’re looking fort he next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the  most important quality a leader can have.”
  • “Women need to shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.”
  • “A truly equal World would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”
  • “We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.”
  • “When a man is successful, he is well liked. When a woman does well, people like her less.”
  • “Everyone needs to get more comfortable with female leaders, including female leaders themselves.”

“Lean In” – the book:

“Lean In” is a book for professional women to help them achieve their career goals and for men who want to contribute to a more equitable society.

Sandberg argues that in order for change to happen women need to break down societal and personal barriers by striving for and achieving leadership roles. The ultimate goal is to encourage women to lean in to positions of leadership because she asserts that by having more female voices in positions of power there will be more equitable opportunities created for everyone.

In “Lean In”, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, common-sense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential. Lean In is not so much about the balancing act of parenting versus working as it is about the challenges women face in trying to get ahead. Sandberg devotes only three of the book’s 11 chapters to work/family balance. The rest are about how women can take charge of their own careers and push forward at a time when gender bias is more alive and well than most of us may want to admit.

“Lean In” has a powerful message and is full of personal vulnerability and first-hand anecdotes, packed with statistics and footnoted studies that back her points.


One critic claimed that Sandberg is “too elitist” and another that she is “tone-deaf” to the struggles faced by the average woman in the workplace.

Sandberg addresses both of these issues in the introduction of her book, stating that she is “acutely aware that the vast majority of women are struggling to make ends meet and take care of their families” and that her intention was to “offer advice that would have been useful long before I had heard of Google or Facebook.” She acknowledges that she is preaching to the privileged few who have the education and the connections to make it to positions of power. But she insists that increased numbers of women in leadership roles will help the status and opportunities of all women. She wants women to talk about getting ahead and what it means to seek leadership roles.

“Lean In” aims to raise the awareness on the lack of diversity and inspire the young generation of women to lean in their careers to be on the top of their field and make the world a better and more equitable place.

Via “Lean In” millions of women are encouraged to embrace ambition and resist the tendency to hold back when anticipating challenges in their work-life balance.

Sheryl started a global discussion with her book. It is up to us now to move it forward and make progress.

Sheryl’s famous TED Talk (2010)

In this electrifying TED Talk Sheryl described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than six million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

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