lean in

Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will To Lead

by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell
No. of pages: 230
Publisher: UK - WH Allen/US - Alfred A Knopf
ISBN: 9780753541623

BoardroomMum Verdict

It has felt like a long wait to read this book, as debate on both sides of the Atlantic about what Ms Sandberg was writing has been in full flow for quite a while. Well before the book was published.

I was not really sure what to expect, and while reading the media reports about the book I decided not to form an opinion at that stage.

In fact I was left wondering what type of book was this going to be? I was quite surprised. I found it to be a lot of things but above all a personal, honest and well argued account of the challenges women face in their careers. Yes, there are clear messages and lessons learnt through Ms Sandberg’s own experiences which are unique to her, but many are also relevant to any working mother’s life.

She is spot on about quite a few things. How women are more reluctant to put themselves forward, how we need to take control of our careers, the challenges faced by becoming a mother, engaging our partners at home to share family responsibilities to name just a few things.

The significance about this book is that it is written by a woman and mother who is at the top of her professional game. Yes there is no denying (which Ms Sandberg freely admits in her book) that she is able to afford excellent childcare and is in a position where she can control and leave an office to get home for dinner with her husband and children or run her children to school some mornings. Many working mothers have roles where that is not possible. However, that is not a reason to attack her.

By being in her position Ms Sandberg (COO of Facebook) is able to kick-off debate at the highest levels in a constructive, collaborative way. It is not too dissimilar to initiatives in the UK, when we look at the success achieved by Ms Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management and her work with the 30% Club.

Yes this book is the business book of the moment. It may go beyond that as a defining book on the subject of women and work. Time will judge that. What I would say is that women should read this book; from those early on in their careers (where most difference can be made), to those combining their career with motherhood and those who are not. Ms Sandberg has certainly started the debate and it will continue. We need sustainable change in our quest for equality in all areas of our lives and it may just be within this generation’s reach.