Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Book That Changed My Life: Lean In

If you haven't heard about Lean In, where the heck have you been living? Well, you definitely haven't been living with me... because it is all I can talk about in my house.

In just a month since its release, Lean In has witnessed rapid success. Written by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, the book is exactly what I needed to read at this stage in my life.

Lean In is not a self-help book, nor a memoir of Sandberg's life (though it does provide helpful advice and Sandberg's funny anecdotes)... it is an eye-opening study based off of solid research that is written in a humorous and passionate way. In fact, the book is quite short. Half of the book is field notes and credits for her claims.

In this study, Sandberg explores why the women's movement has stalled and how we can and should get more women in positions of power and influence. The book urges women to "Lean In" to opportunities for leadership, as she believes that the world will not change until women are equally as in charge as men are.

I've watched many talks by Sandberg during her recent book tour and she always opens by saying something like, "The blunt truth is, men still run the world... and I don't think that's going so well." This comment usually gets a lot of laughs from the predominately female audiences, but it is the core of her argument.

As a young woman entering the workforce, I am fortunate enough to have been raised by a powerful, strong and smart mother. As a girl, I watched my extremely successful mother receive promotion upon promotion that took her to executive positions. Never once did it occur to me that this was abnormal. In my mind, this is something I have always planned for myself and I have always received encouragement along the way.

For me, Lean In was a reiteration of ideals and core values that my mother instilled in me many years ago. However for most, The Lean In Movement is providing support in revolutionary ways. Some are even saying that Lean In is The Feminine Mystique of our day.

To my female Pre-Medical or engineer friends who have argued that the book is only relevant to people entering fields like mine, I assure you that you will find inspiration and eye-opening statistics in this book. To my male friends who have argued that this book is only relevant to women, I assure you that the information provided in Lean In will not only help you to be more successful as a manager and a colleague to women, but it will also educate you on pressing matters in today's world. (Sandberg also jokes that it might help you get a date!)

How has the book changed my life? It helped me make my decision to choose a company where I foresee large personal growth and it has refueled the flame within me to reach an executive level in my career. I will say it loud and proud, I will be a CEO one day.

Not convinced? Watch this talk by Sandberg for a taste of what the book offers. You will not be disappointed.


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