We recently added the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead to our King’s College Library collection. I know there will be some who dismiss this book as being all hype. However, I wanted to take a moment to discuss why we added this book, and why I am excited that we did.
I became interested in Lean In and, conversely, in Sheryl Sandberg, when the “buzz” started last spring, just before the release of the book. I knew there was a chance it was hype, but I was so intrigued I ordered the book upon release anyway (for my personal collection). To my great pleasure, I found that it was not hype, but that Sandberg had something substantial and relevant to impart.
Far from writing a “rah-rah” cheerleading piece, Sandberg delivers a well thought out analysis of the obstacles women encounter in the workforce. Her advice includes ways women make mistakes and outlines how women can correct those mistakes through different choices and behaviors, as well as detailing the institutional barriers that prevent women from succeeding through no fault of their own. While this may come across to some as blaming women for their acceptance of their current situations, it can’t be denied that it is also empowering for women to have a plan of action to improve their situation.
As the COO of Facebook, Sandberg knows of what she speaks. She has had to juggle kids, marriage, and a high-powered (and high-visibility) position. She speaks candidly of the challenges she has faced. Sandberg’s authenticity shines through in each of her anecdotes. It’s also worth noting that the profit generated by Lean In is going to LeanIn.org, a non-profit organization focused on supporting women in realizing their ambitions.
I believe this book has something to offer everyone – men and women. I believe at King’s College we have a similar goal of assisting women in their pursuit of careers. I believe it is an important book to offer our students, as it facilitates an important discussion that needs to commence, and that leanin.org is an important resource to explore at this time. Come see what all the fuss is about. Lean In is in and ready to be checked out!