Book review: Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

August 20, 2014

I haven’t done a book review on here before, mainly as I haven’t been reading too many exciting things lately. But after reading Sheryl Sandbergs Lean In, I felt compelled to blog about it.

Lean in is a book regarding women in leadership and their career progression. While a lot of that depends on the woman’s employer and whether or not they have thought of creative ways to engage employees (with a clear career progression plan being one of the most important strategies), women can also do a lot to show that they can benefit their employers, should they choose to promote them. The book delves into the reasons women tend to not move into leadership, how to deal with a career whilst balancing motherhood and it really empowers women to take control of their own career and ‘lean in’ as she put it, with advice on when to take a course for new managers when women have the confidence they need for the role built up, amongst other important snippets.

I really enjoyed this book, it presents a lot of points which are so relevant to women in the workplace today – especially in business and technology. It presents things which I hadn’t even realised I was doing, as holding me back, to succeed you really need to lean in with all you have and put yourself out there for projects and tasks which you may not feel completely experienced in doing. It raises excellent points about how women tend to doubt themselves more than men so are less likely to put themselves forward for promotion or for these projects which you may not feel completely comfortable doing. It also discusses really great points about how a lot of women have the ‘tiara syndrome’ – hoping someone will come along and put a crown on their head for all the hard work they have done when in reality they need to go and seek that themselves.

I think it’s so important for women to be proactive in their careers and excited to get into leadership, it is still shockingly low how many women are actually leading companies in the modern world. She points out that even though women’s rights have come leaps and bounds, that is no reason not to want to strive for continual equality – where there are as many women CEOs as men! Women should be taking full advantage of the new laws that make discrimination illegal. For young women still in education, this sets a great example for their future and should make use of all of the college and community resources available to them to pave their way for a successful career. This means that women should be able to go for better jobs, including leadership roles. Those hiring should be aware that refusing a job to someone based on their gender is now illegal. However, if this happens to you, it’s important to visit a website like to help you fight your case and gain the role that you deserve. Women have to start having confidence in themselves. That’s the only way we’ll see any real changes.

Overall, this book really motivated me and it is something I will use everyday in my career and a book I can see myself going back to as I grow up. Even if you aren’t in a business or tech industry I really recommend this as essential reading.

Sheryl also did a great Ted talk about the same topic which I will link here so you can get a feel for it.

Have you read this book? What do you think we can do to empower more women in their careers and into leadership?

JC xx

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