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Lean In: Book Review

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By catagut11 · February 25, 2014 · 0 Comments ·

As a feminist, women's college graduate and most importantly, a female returning to the workforce, I took it upon myself to read last year's "it" book for women: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I found it to be quite an easy read because it's really nothing I haven't heard already. It reads like a self-help book, although she cautions it's not in that genre, and is sprinkled with anecdotes, like a memoir, although she claims it's not that kind of book either. It was even difficult to find in the bookstore because it crosses so many genres. But I still recommend you read it, if only to remind yourself that there is still work to be done to get more female leaders at the top and keep them there.

photo credit: workingmomjournal.com)

Sandberg is an ex-Google executive turned COO of Facebook. She writes a vulnerable account of what it's been like to make it to the top position and admits her mistakes along the way. As a collection of advice about standing up for yourself as a female in the workplace, embracing feminism and accepting the hard truths of a corporate job, she also offers advice on how males can help women achieve success and ultimately reach true equality in society. As much as I'd like to, there's too much advice to put in this article and sometimes the book does goes on a bit with example after example, really driving certain points home. It almost makes me think the book would have been better suited as a series of articles in a magazine like Inc. or Entrepreneur. 

Sandberg talks about the paradox of her arguement a lot too, recognizing the sensitivity around being equal to men in the workplace (or elsewhere) and the simple <span><span>semantics around the word "feminist". If you're like me, you won't be surprised by her advice: 

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  • Create meaningful long-term and short-term plans and stick to them
  • Find a supportive partner who will share your passion (and the household duties)
  • Ask for feedback whenever applicable to continue your professional growth
  • Perfect your communication skills in and outside the office
  • Approach any job search as a problem-solving issue
  • Have a "level of mindfulness" as a leader in any organization
  • Embrace the word "feminist"
  • Do what you can to continue to help females move in the right direction: Up

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It's also a nice reminder to hear these things since we so often hear the opposite, "how will you do it all?", "what will your partner think?", "you can't have it all", "what if you want to have a family someday?". I believe Sheryl has done the movement justice by writing this book and bringing high-level attention (and celebrity status) to the matter. She's not the first, of course (hello Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem!). We could all use a helpful nudge that fighting for the social, economic, and political equality of men and women (hello Beyonce!) is the right thing for society and ourselves. 

And if you're worried you don't have the time to read it, I assure you, you don't have the time not to read it. It took me 2 days and I'm an incredibly slow reader. 
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