Lean In : Women, work, and the will to lead – Sheryl Sandberg

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s highly debatable 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is described by some as a sort of feminist manifesto while many believe it to be an essential business book which seeks to inspire men as much as it inspires women in workplaces.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

The book, no doubt, has a lot of room for debate as Sheryl urges men and women across the world to break away from society conventions and stereotypes to make their jobs and personal lives easier and a lot more satisfying. With a tinge of humour and wisdom that comes from years of experience, Sheryl shares stories from her own life and from those of her colleagues and friends to explain how women hold themselves back in life. How, plagued with self doubt, they put themselves down before others can.

Sheryl emphasizes the importance of showing emotion (in case of men too), talking things out and not being afraid or hesitant to speak your mind. That a person must be judged based on his/her ability and not gender. That a woman should not be considered bad if she is trying to balance her career and children and that it is not impossible. The author puts across the problems faced by women very simply and advises with commonsensical solutions.

She explains the role of a husband in supporting his wife and taking care of household responsibilities equally. It is important for a man to accept his responsibilities and be sensitive to his family and not boast to his friends ‘that he went to play a soccer game the afternoon his wife delivered a baby’! Simple things like maternity and paternity leaves and parking for pregnant women are facilities each institution should provide to its employees, like Google did on Sheryl’s request. It is every woman’s right to choose what she wants to do in her life and she should not feel guilty for doing it.

The book bursts the myth of ‘Having it all’ and gives a million dollar advice: ‘Done is better than perfect’. It encourages women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, and achieve their full potential. The book is capable of impassioning a newfound confidence in women to aspire for leadership roles, to follow their dreams, sit on the table and lean in.

It makes you hope for a better (read equal) world, one where half our institutions are run by women and half our homes are run by men.

Prachi Seksaria

Photographer and ardent reader. Blogs at http://storiesthatshapeme.wordpress.com/

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