I had been hearing about this book, Lean In, for a while now. At first, it didn’t play any differently than any other self-help book, to be honest. The stories became more familiar as I continued reading and I realised that while I may never like Sheryl Sandberg (the flaunting of riding an e-bay plane stuck out in my mind), she makes some very valid points.
Sandberg chronicles her own experiences throughout her career and touches on a lot of issues that we, as women, face in our daily work lives. Gender roles dictate a great deal of our behaviour and those traits are sometimes hard-coded from birth. The key, Sandberg espouses, is that we must both recognise this and act upon it. The trouble is that not only are we as women guilty of it, which is bad enough, but it is compounded by what we already know. The crux of the message is to not only be aware of it, but to make others aware of it as well.
With each story, Sandberg shows the reader how a situation is shaded by the assumption of gender-based roles, men being better at women at certain things and the reverse. A recurring image is women working outside the house and men being stay-at-home dads. The goal being that neither should strike anyone as strange and it is incumbent upon all of us to shake off what we might want to assume and help enable people, no matter their gender, and allow them to be their best, in whatever role they choose. In many ways, her teachings of equality would fall in great with the LGBT community as well.
To say that this is recommended reading isn’t quite enough. This book didn’t change my life, not as the Mistake book I’d mentioned a few blogs ago, but it certainly will help me reflect upon things I am capable of changing. Therein lies the issue, there is what you can change, and the many things you can’t. If we all do our best to alter our perception, ever so slightly, we might find success a lot closer than we thought.