An E-Reader’s Review of ‘Lean In – Women, Work And the Will to Lead’ by Sheryl Sandberg

For those of you who don’t know, I am Canadian. In keeping with the generally-accepted stereotype of Canada, hockey is a pretty popular sport in this country. During the Sochi games, Canucks of all ages watched the Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team win the gold medal in, arguably, one of the most exciting hockey games in Canadian history.

Why do I bring this up? Well, my daughters’ school allowed the children to watch the hockey game during school hours (THIS is how important hockey is to us). My 9 year old came home that day, very excited about the win, and exclaimed “The boys at school say that if the women can win gold, the men will definitely win gold when they play”.

Hmmmm.

Now don’t get me wrong. My national pride wanted the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team to bring home the gold too. But at that moment, my feminist pride shot up to stark attention. How do these young children learn these gender biases? What does my daughter feel when she hears things like that? And why on earth was this bothering me so much? It bothered me because of Sheryl Sandberg, author of “Lean In – Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”.

I’ve read a lot of books that provide practical guidance for women who strive to reach the top. But in my opinion, this book isn’t like the others. Sure, on a very basic level, Sandberg stokes feminist fire to urge women to lean into their career and reach for the top. She shares her personal failures and successes, and even provides a few applicable tips. But this book is so much more than a how-to guide. This book is like an onion with multiple layers that need to be peeled apart. In her book, she probes through the mess and gets to the heart of why, she believes, there are not enough women leaders – the role society plays, the role the current leadership landscape plays, and the role we ourselves play.

Everyone who has read this book has an opinion about Sandberg’s position. The funny thing is I find myself having two opinions on this book. When I read this book as a career woman, I come away with one viewpoint. When I read this book as a mother, I come away with a second viewpoint. And note that these two viewpoints are not necessarily disparate or contradictory – they are just two separate viewpoints.

If you’ll indulge me, I would like to try something different. I am going to provide three reviews of this book. The first will be my opinion of the book as a career woman. The second will be my opinion of the book as a mother. With the third review, I am going to look at the book from the perspective of a mother who loves her children AND her career.

E-reader’s Opinion: Stay tuned! My E-Reader take-away is forthcoming.

Oh, and for those of you who don’t know: the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team also won gold…but not because they are men.

Your E-reader reviewer is Hetal Kushwaha, Liaison – International Practice, Marks & Clerk Canada. She would like to emphasize that this is just her personal opinion and it is not intended to represent the views of Marks & Clerk, Canada. She can be reached at
hkushwaha@markclerk.com

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