On why I’m Sheryl Sandberg’s latest fan

The good news about getting most of your books through the public library is that you spend almost no money on your voracious reading habit. The bad news is that you often have to wait months to get your hands on a popular new title. That being said, I’ve finally moved up from number 326 to number 1 on the SF Public Library‘s holds list, and that’s why I have just now finished Sheryl Sandberg’s terrific book, Lean In. So much of this book resonates with me, both professionally and personally: it’s about women in leadership, women in education, women and their families, and so much more. I adore Sandberg’s candor and her bravery. It’s outside our social norms, she comments, to speak up about these sorts of things, but it’s critical if change is to be had in our time. I saw myself in a lot of her anecdotes about feeling less inclined to self-advocate than my male colleagues. Her statements about outspoken girls being perceived as not-nice or inappropriately assertive also resonated. Throughout my time in school, I raised my hand a lot and spoke out, and from an early age it was clear that that behavior wasn’t a winning characteristic, especially with other girls. It’s no surprise, then, that my two closest friends from early childhood are both male. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I caught less criticism for speaking my mind.

I wanted to include a quote from the book to get you hooked and encourage more people to read it, but that seems unnecessary because 1) you’ve probably already read it, since I’m four months behind, and 2) I can’t pick a favorite passage because there are too many thoughtful, thought-provoking sections to choose from. So do yourself a favor: go to the bookstore or get in the request queue at your local library. It’s so worth the read.

Click the video below to watch Sandberg’s 2010 TED talk, which touches on some of the same themes that she explores at length in Lean In. I’m a fan. I hope you will be too.

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