Monday, September 30, 2013

Final Thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Book Lean-in

This month The Savvy Reader Book Club read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Today I am sharing my final thoughts on this book. Previous discussions included What does "lean-in" mean for you?, When Taking a Pay-Cut is a Good Career Move, Sheryl Sandberg's Advice on How to Get Hired and Receiving a Job or Promotion Because You Are a Woman.

As you may recall I put-off reading this book because of the numerous negative reviews I'd read on-line; I thought it wouldn't be worth my time.  Was I wrong.  This book is the best career advice book I've read in years.  Here are a few additional career lessons from the book I didn't cover in previous posts:

Don't ever ask someone if they are your mentor:
This question is a total mood killer.  If someone has to ask the question, the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor it is obvious.  (Pgs. 65-66)

Also a note from my experience, don't hand your business card to someone immediately upon meeting them with no additional conversation.  I can guarantee that business card will end up in the garbage.

On negotiation:
The goal of successful negotiation is to achieve our objective and continue to have people like us.  Professor Riley Bowles believes that women can increase their chances of achieving a desired outcome by doing two things in combination.  First, women must come across as being nice, concerned about others, and "appropriately female."

Sheryl advises many women to negotiate rather than accept the original offer. By doing so, women position themselves as connected to a group and not just out for themselves; in effect they are negotiating for all women.  Whenever possible, women should substitute "we" for "I."

According to Bowles, the second thing women must do is provide a legitimate explanation for the negotiation.  Men don't need to do this.  (Pg. 47)

What can we do to change social norms:
Too many work standards remain inflexible and unfair, often penalizing women with children.  Too many talented women try their hardest to reach the top and bump up against systemic barriers.  So many others pull back because they do not think they have a choice.  All of this brings me back to Leymah Gbowee's insistence that we need more women in power.  When leadership insists that these policies change they will.  Google put in pregnancy parking when I asked for it and it remains there long after I left.  We must raise both the ceiling and the floor. (Pg. 169)

Bottom line:
I think Sheryl Sandberg 's book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead would make a great graduation gift in addition to being an excellent choice for any career centered book club.

If you read this book what did you think?

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  1. i agree! i wish i'd read this book decades ago! it taught me so much.

  2. Thanks for the review...sounds like a great book!

  3. Do you think self-employed women could benefit from the booK? What are your thoughts on this?

  4. I'm going to need to go out and get this book now. Loved all your posts on it! Thank you for sharing.

  5. You know what, I'm with Stefanie. I wasn't a fan of how she presented things in the press, but the way you've presented the content has actually made me want to read it.

  6. Catherine,
    At least we read it now and can encourage others to do so.

  7. Ronnie,
    You are welcome. I hope you check it out.

  8. Sheila,
    I think all women regardless of whether they work for someone else or are self-employed could benefit from this book. If nothing else there is an entire chapter on getting your husband to do half the work around the house. It could be fun to write a book for the self-employed woman. I have a post that has been brewing for years about a woman (true story) who worked in the loan department at a bank who seriously thinks all women's business ideas are lame. That would be chapter one. Are you in?

  9. Stephanie,
    I hope you do. I can't wait to hear what you think.

  10. Femmefrugality,
    I know what you mean. I put off reading this book forever because of what I'd heard in the press. I didn't think it would be for me at all. It was a big surprise.