This is far and away the most high-profile newly-released book that I've ever reviewed. The media conversation about Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead has been hot enough that even though my article for The Christian Science Monitor is published today -- three days before the book is officially released -- it somehow already feels dated.
But I do have thoughts on the book. Here's an excerpt from the review:
The “lean in” mantra is easily co-opted or misunderstood as suggesting that the lack of women with power in the richest country on earth is the fault of women themselves: They just don’t want it enough. "Lean In" skewers this limp rationalization by examining how women are selected out of the pool of talented leaders.
The pay gap itself can be justification for a woman to quit, or settle for a mid-level position, even if her husband might prefer to take on the at-home duties. Men are more likely to be mentored and sponsored by both male and female leaders. US childcare and parental leave policies are ridiculously old-fashioned. Men are more likely to be evaluated on future potential, while women are evaluated on past accomplishments. Sandberg spotlights a study, which distributed identical resumes, the only difference being the name: one version was for “Heidi,” the other, “Howard.” While both were viewed as equally competent, Howard was liked, while Heidi was seen as “selfish” and not “the type of person you would want to hire or work for.” Success and likeability go hand-in-hand for men; if a woman is successful, both men and women like her less.
"Lean In" serves as a kind of philosophical and practical toolkit for women with ambitions of all kinds, and an education and inspiration for men who are aware that their workplaces and home lives are diminished when women are only a fraction of who they can be. Sandberg offers women dictums that sound simplistic – “sit at the table,” “don’t leave before you leave,” – but have radical consequences.
(Also, I'll work on getting this corrected, but the paragraph beginning "In 1970" should be indented -- that's a quote from Sandberg's book, not my own words.)