Review: Sheryl Sandberg’s Controversial Lean In Book

Working moms today have a new manifesto—Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, the new book from Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. The much-buzzed-about book, which hits stores this week (and promptly climbed to #1 on the Amazon bestseller list), is a rallying cry for women to “lean in” to their careers and stop stepping aside in anticipation of life events that may or may not happen—such as having a baby. Sandberg’s philosophy is that women are holding themselves back from the corner office, and a new mindset might be just the thing to finally level the playing field. Written in a colloquial and friend-to-friend way, Sandberg makes Lean In not just a how-to-succeed-in-business book, but also a juicy read worthy of the beach bag.

Sandberg has set out to create a movement with Lean In. In conjunction with the book, she’s launched, a community “offering women the encouragement and support to lean in to their ambitions.” As one of the heads of Facebook, Sandberg shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a following via her social network of over1.2 million Facebook followers. If Lean In succeeds in inspiring and galvanizing women across the board (not just the ones that also went to Ivy League schools), then bravo.

As a working mom myself, I can relate to Sandberg’s bold statements. I can’t help but wonder how my career choices would have differed if I didn’t have kids. The mommy wars will most likely never die, but Sandberg, a mom of two, will certainly make working moms feel as though their choice is the right one. In fact, Sandberg may be the catalyst needed to make those moms on the fence not give up their careers and stay in the corporate ballgame. Sandberg, who appears on the cover of Time this week, confessed to the magazine that recent studies showing today’s working moms are as engaged with their kids as non-working moms of yesterday makes her feel “so good, so much better.” It’s comments like these and the fact that she leaves the office every day by 5:30 to get home to her family that make me like her. After all, regardless of her impressive resume—which includes a stint at the U.S. Treasury Department and an MBA from Harvard Business School—she’s just another working mom trying to figure it all out.