Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theatres, dominated opinion pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership.
Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they'd feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in.
The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, are certainly not in women's favour – of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meagre eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women in Business – draws on her own experience of working in some of the world's most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.
Facebook COO Sandberg examines the dearth of women in major leadership positions, and what women can do to solve the problem, in this provocative tome. While acknowledging that women have made great strides in the business world, she posits that they still have a long way to go and lays out a plan for women to get there. "I have written this book to encourage women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, and achieve their full potential," she explains. The author's counsel gleaned from her own experiences includes suggestions for increasing self-confidence, particularly in the business world; understanding the role of mentors and how to identify them; building emotional relationships at work; not focusing on being liked; juggling marriage and children with a demanding job; and the importance of taking risks. "Hard work and results should be recognized by others, but when they aren't, advocating for oneself becomes necessary," Sandberg opines. A new generation of women will learn from Sandberg's experiences, and those of her own generation will be inspired by this thoughtful and practical book.