Reviewed by Maaike Kleijn
I’m a bit of a feminist. More than a bit, actually. I’ve read my share of feminist classics (The Female Eunuch, Fear of Flying, Beyond Power: on Women, Men and Morals, and Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions to name a few), and was excited to start on this book. “Hurray!, I thought. “Feminism is alive! Here’s a book written by a girl my age!”
Starting Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, I wondered where Sheryl Sandberg found the time to write it. She’s COO at Facebook, works 12 hours a day, she has two children (and a husband), and engages in a slew of extracurricular activities. I was impressed with her dedication to make this book happen. Where did she find the time?
Alas: the more I read, the less impressed I became. A good feminist book should make me angry, indignant, ready to take action. This book did none of that. I guess this is not a feminist book.
It’s mostly the story of Sheryl Sandberg’s own career, and the sexism she has encountered along the way. It’s not a very captivating story, and it’s not terribly well-written. The book is too long: Sheryl’s story has been stretched to almost 200 pages, where 90 would have been plenty. There are no new insights in this book, and I doubt if it is going to change anything for women in the workplace.
On a positive note: it is quite well-documented . When I finished Lean In there was an extensive list of acknowledgements, collaborators, editors, and co-writers in the back. Aha! So there’s how she found the time to make this book happen! I did learn one valuable thing: if you want to write a book, and you have little time, get others to help you (but put your own name on the cover).
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