Book Review: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

lean in

Rating: 5 / 5

As Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg knows what it takes to have a successful career, and the difficult road taken to get there. As a mother, she knows the challenges of juggling parenting with bringing home a paycheck.  And as a wife, she knows how important having a supporting partner is for both success and happiness.  In Lean In, Sandberg touches on all these topics and many more.  She goes into depth about how hard it is for women to succeed in the workplace, and the fact that it is not always men or society that hold women back, but often times is other women. Lean In is a call to action for women and men.  For women, she encourages them to take more risks, take a seat at the table, and strive for balance and harmony over perfection.  For men, she encourages them to be supportive of women who choose to work after having children, to understand the challenges women face in the workplace, and to be comfortable bucking the tradition of men being the breadwinner in a family.

I can’t say enough good things about Lean In.  I’ve been waiting around forever for a book like this one.  Sandberg gives great advice, and perspectives that I didn’t think about.  For example, Sandberg advises women to not think about raising/having children when thinking about promotions or job changes.   This totally goes against the norm, but Sandberg’s reasons are sound.  Sandberg reasons that if a job is challenging, engaging, and exciting, it is something a woman will want to return to, and something she will be passionate about, instead of a mundane, rote job that was kept because she didn’t think she should or could have aimed higher.

Sandberg is definitely C-suite, but doesn’t come as arrogant, vindictive, or lecturing.  Instead, the tone of Lean In is more like an older, wiser sister.  The book is filled with lessons she’s learned and mistakes she’s made, which is great because with many business-related books I’ve read, the author seemed inclined to only mention or highlight successes and right moves.  Instead, Sandberg is engaging, open, and honest.  She cites times when her direct reports at Google and Facebook have told her they didn’t agree with a decision she made, and times at Treasury when individuals pulled her aside to give her sound bits of advice.

Lean In is timely and engaging. This is something every college graduate (but especially women) should pick up and read.



  1. thanks for this review. i was actually really skeptical about wanting to read it – worried it would just make me feel bad and that i wasn’t accomplishing enough as a working mother. but you’ve convinced me. i’ll see if i can get a copy from the library. 🙂

    1. Hey Terri! I thought it did the total opposite. She talks a lot about the guilt that mothers feel on both ends of the spectrum-quitting work to be a stay-at-home mom and also those who can’t wait to go back to work. Although she’s COO of Facebook and mega wealthy, Lean In read like a slightly older girlfriend speaking openly and honestly. I was hesitant about reading it too, I’m so glad I did. I found it inspiring and empowering.

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