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  • Lean In

  • Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
  • By: Sheryl Sandberg
  • Narrated by: Elisa Donovan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,556 ratings)

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Lean In

By: Sheryl Sandberg
Narrated by: Elisa Donovan
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Summary

Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business - has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg's provocative, inspiring book about women and power - grew out of an electrifying TED talk Sandberg gave in 2010, in which she expressed her concern that progress for women in achieving major leadership positions had stalled. The talk became a phenomenon and has since been viewed nearly 2,000,000 times. In Lean In, she fuses humorous personal anecdotes, singular lessons on confidence and leadership, and practical advice for women based on research, data, her own experiences, and the experiences of other women of all ages. Sandberg has an uncanny gift for cutting through layers of ambiguity that surround working women, and in Lean In she grapples, piercingly, with the great questions of modern life. Her message to women is overwhelmingly positive. She is a trailblazing model for the ideas she so passionately espouses, and she's on the pulse of a topic that has never been more relevant.

©2013 Sheryl Sandberg; 2013 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Lean In

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As a black woman let me say this!

So many people who reviewed this had said it was hard to relate to her because she was Jewish and came from a middle class background. As a black woman from the lower class background I still found myself nodding and even clapping along to what was being said. This is a MUST read.

25 people found this helpful

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not for me

Etch left me feeling like the world hates me for being a woman, apparently my teachers were not interested in me cause I was a girl, men at work aren't interested in my view etc... I had to stop listening as made me feel awful. not even my grandad who was convinced that educating girls gave them brain damage made me feel bad... he just made me laugh the fool!! I work in a male dominated environment and didn't get this book. I am sure that for some women who are not comfortable in a male dominated environment this is invaluable, but not for me..... look at people as people not as men, women, whites, coloureds etc and view yourself as a person too. xx

5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!! A must read for women and men!

Inspiring, engaging and very interesting. Excellent narrative, uses data and information from a variety of sources to make objective points.

5 people found this helpful

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Important for men

So, I have to be honest, especially when I first began reading this book I was scepticle. I'm a 30 year old male so it's not exactly what I'd normally read.

There are times when I disagree with the content or believe it doesn't stress enough that some women choose to stay at home and consider it the 'difficult decision'. However, by the end the 'rally call' becomes a more balanced view. But I think reading this is as important for men as is it for women. I found it has made me more aware and conscious of how social bias may affect our decision making towards others and I believe this awareness will allow me to focus more on facts rather than judgements when hiring.

3 people found this helpful

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For working mothers...only

This is pretty much a book for people who face challenges of juggling kids and career. For the rest of us, the advice is limited

3 people found this helpful

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At first, I thought her understanding was superficial

I've studied both psychology and management science and I have often found that people who work in management but who don't study psychology or sociology, have a superficial understanding of why things are the way they are in the workplace.

This being the case, I was a bit sceptical at the start of this audiobook, because I thought it wouldn't demonstrate a deep understanding of why women are so underrepresented in the upper levels of management. The first couple of chapters didn't go into much depth, but as I made my way further into the book, I was really impressed by the insight Sheryl Sandberg brings to the fore, backed up with statistics. I expected her to be more of a handmaiden... but she's really not.

She has been very brave to write this and she expresses aspects of feminist theory with such clarity. It means this is a very approachable book and I really didn't expect her to have read people like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.


I was massively impressed. I will definitely be quoting things Sheryl has said, particularly chapter 11 where she talks about women internalising the idea that they are second class citizens (because we are all subtly encouraged to hold this view) and then by upholding this way of thinking, they become unwitting proponents of a value system that holds them back.

Really great book, highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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Narrator a tad annoying

I like the book, everyone raves about it for good reason.

I found the narrator really annoying but pushed through it - very heavily nasal and switches to a whiney voice when talking about being a mother.

3 people found this helpful

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Bad voice !

I want listen to the book but can't as it sounds like a computer sorry

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Enjoyable listen but needs to set boundaries

I would have struggled to read / listen to this book a few years ago before I had a child but being a woman in leadership with a young child now a lot resonated with me. I'm fortunate to have worked in leading organisations that value woman and equality but it was still good to hear the real similar struggles that come with getting to a senior position, the impostor syndrome, the hours, the trade offs, getting the seat at the table. Some really good key messages are addressed here for people growing in their career. The reinforcement of supporting and sponsoring other females in their career is paramount and not bringing in personal biases / stereotyping.

Some parts were far too American culturally driven, especially around maternity leave and out of office/vacation. The, being available 24/7 to be successful. The author strives for equal rights and female representation but this needs to be seen coming from these top female leaders. I respect each womans decision for the duration of maternity leave they take and their own individual situation but stating that she was answering emails and arranging meetings after giving birth in the hospital sends the wrong message to women who dont have the confidence to say no or challenge the status quo. She clearly has never established any boundaries or email ethicate, so of course her teams are going to respond to her emails. Its the American culture. Bascially its no better than the man she referenced going to play football after his wife gave birth.
She furthers this referencing another CEO who returned to work very shortly after giving birth who received a lot of negative press. She gave a really compelling argument and I entirely agree each to their own, but this is still protraying the wrong image and behaviour from top leadership, not setting any boundaries. In male dominated industries what message does this send? These top woman can do it, (who have the financial and perhaps the equal partner resources) why can't the others? It also challenges holding roles open for maternity leave and why should we adjust our maternity leave benefits or temporarily backfill someone's role. This really protrays the wrong behaviour and sends the wrong message to women already struggling with the trade ups. This goes for annual leave too. If you are out of office, you are out of office. Boundaries, health, wellbeing, reset... there is no talk of setting healthy boundaries which in turn lead to a more productive, happy and healthy workforce. Sure she finishes work at 5.30pm to be home with her family for dinner but then states she is logged on and available 24/7 including whilst on annual leave or at her childs football game on the weekend. How is this healthy? This is the real struggle for women in Leadership. I hold my hand up I struggle with setting boundaries, and allow work take over but it leads to burnout impacting wellbeing, efficiency and family/personal life. Very few male counterparts struggle with this. I would not personify or advocate to my team to do this. What message is this sending to her teams, or the culture. Yes get the seat at the table but also set boundaries and lead by exemplifying good behaviours.

1 person found this helpful

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Not a breakthrough book on feminism...

...but still a helpful book that preaches the need for equality in public and private spaces. An approachable read for any feminism novice; a decent refresher for those already fighting the good fight.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • 14-03-13

Lean In, Lead On

Sheryl Sandberg had me at, “I gained 70 lbs!”

I had heard a lot about this book, but I really wasn’t sure that I could relate to this woman. At all. I expected a book by a carefully made up, wealthy, privileged woman with an excellent education in a token leadership position. I expected someone with a lot of help who could “do it all”, with little – if any – credit to the people who helped her do it.

I, on the other hand, joined the Army for the college benefits, and I put myself through law school. I don’t aspire to manage a corporation. In fact, indirectly, I work for one of the people she mentions in her book. I am an attorney, and I want to be the best litigator I can be. I am also the proud mother of two teenagers, and I worry that I shouldn’t have worked outside of the home – but that wasn’t a choice I had.

I was wrong about Sandberg. Like me, and the rest of us, she is real. Sandberg’s a sociologist, a critic, a coach, a realist. Sandberg gives props to important leaders from Warren Buffet to Betty Freidan, and to her administrative assistant and her friends. Bravo! Sandberg, get out your pom-poms - Tip O’Neil is calling from the grave.

Sandberg doesn’t mention “Games Mother Never Taught You” by Betty Lehan Harrigan (1987), but that is analogous to some of the tactics she recommends. Yes, it would be better if we (women) didn’t have to bend to the (male) rules, but we do. Harrigan’s book is a guidebook, and as helpful as Freidan’s “The Feminine Mystique” in some ways.

There is a hysterically funny tale involving an eBay corporate jet and an itchy child’s head, but for real fun, skip to Chapter 6 (7 on audible) and listen to the first minute. Sandberg reminds us even while we should do what we would do if we weren't afraid, motherhood keeps us grounded.

Oh, and did I mention – Sandberg is the COO of Facebook – and she really does know what she’s doing?

This book is fantastic. Lean In!

[If you found this review helpful, please click the Helpful button. That’s why I write these reviews!]

623 people found this helpful

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  • Theresa
  • 14-04-13

Not for the Single Woman With No Family

What would have made Lean In better?

If you're a working mother looking for a book to make you feel good about your choice this is the book for you. Being a single career woman with no family to feel bad about neglecting, it was not the book for me. There are a few pieces of good advice regarding communicating and negotiating in a male-dominated workplace but, for the most part, this book goes on an on about a guilt-free mindset for those women who have chosen to put career ahead of family.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Andy
  • 27-03-13

full of useful info...without the corporate-speak

Full disclosure: I'm a guy.
Wow, if women in corporate America have been walking around with these insecurities for the past too many years, there is a lot of repairing to do. Sandberg lays out a wide range of sensible solutions to pick from; all designed to allow women (or men) to perform at their highest level. If enough folks read this book and are able to bring its solutions to the workplace, we could probably add another percentage point or two to GDP growth! Narration is great.

42 people found this helpful

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  • CKC
  • 17-03-13

Make your life count - no matter what you do

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I write this review as a way to invite EVERYONE to read this book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The only character is my favorite - the woman who cares to make her life engaging and important to herself and those around her.

This is a book written as a manifesto and manual for changing the way women behave and are regarded. How you regard yourself and how our culture regards you.

What aspect of Elisa Donovan’s performance would you have changed?

I became accustomed to the narrator but would have preferred a more mature and mellifluous voice. I think the more mature voice might have also had more credibility.

For me, there is a nasal edge that grates ever so slightly the entire book.

All I could think was "Ms. Sandberg must have been mentoring or sponsoring this person".

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. In fact, this book is to be really listened to - the more attention paid, the better the results.

Also, there is a companion website that is spectacularly effective and interesting for building skills.

I might actually purchase the book as well as having listened to it. There are sections I will want to read again and again.

41 people found this helpful

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  • neversilence
  • 12-03-13

A BOMB!

What did you like best about this story?

Sheryl Sandberg isn't afraid to share. Everything is extremely personal and inspiring. I am recommending this book to my male friends. I believe that they will be able to understand and help with gender equalities if they read Sheryl's book.

What does Elisa Donovan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Elisa's voice is similar to that of Sheryl's. I am glad that I listen to it rather than read it.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Jaune
  • 12-03-13

Very inspiring!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely reccomend this to a friend.

Even way (and I mean, wayyyyy) before I was a mother to my two children, I had always wondered how I would ever be able to juggle both work and motherhood. As a now stay at home small business owner, I still struggle to find the answers to my self or the family.
The author tackles the issue with her own highly professional career experiences with plenty of scientific data to back up.
Easy to read and very inspiring. Definitely a huge eye opener.

By the time I finished reading, I felt like as if I was given a clear path to the solutions, although it will not come without the help of my husband, now I see where I should put my full effort in achieving a good balance between work and home.

One thing though that I wished to see was how companies could provide a flexible work time without economical penalties... If there's any way!

But overall I'm very happy to have read the book and also given the media attention this book is getting already, I'm thrilled to see the movements that are coming along the way!

Thank you Sheryl for inspiring us women!

29 people found this helpful

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  • Roger
  • 20-01-14

Great Advice for Women, Poor Advice for Husbands

Sandberg does a great job of exploring the issues that have surrounded women in the workplace. Many of my female coworkers found this book very helpful and enlightening. As a man, the first have of the book was enlightening to me as well.

But in the second half of the book Sandberg attempts to make a prescription for a more balanced family through work sharing. Her mistake is that she identifies the professional responsibilities of the man and the woman, but the home/family responsibilities of only the woman. She completely omits all of the responsibilities that most men shoulder at home, acting as if they spent their evenings watching TV and weekends out golfing. No credit is given for work like tending the lawn and landscaping, building and repairing fences, maintaining and repairing automobiles, cleaning the pool, handling insurance, tending to the electronic world that the family relies on, and dozens more. In my household all of this requires hours every day. But in her book there is no mention of any of this.

Warning to women readers - take the time to find out what your husband is doing now before asking him to take 50% of what you are doing. He may have 50% of his own house work to share with you in return.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Njm
  • 17-03-13

Wow--if you're a mother/working women, a must read

If you could sum up Lean In in three words, what would they be?

A must read!

What did you like best about this story?

Maybe some women don't need to hear this; maybe they are already aware and changing or simply not this way, but as an executive with almost two decades of experience, this one captured my attention and then left me gaping in horror--I was hearing her describe me! Only, I thought I was alone. I wanted to hear more--who was this intruder and how did she escape?

Any additional comments?

This is one I will keep in my office and hand out like candy

19 people found this helpful

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  • Brooke Hanson
  • 15-07-13

Lacks concrete plans of action, depressing

What did you like best about Lean In? What did you like least?

I generally appreciate a book that sets out to empower women in the workplace. Unfortunately the stories are more depressing than inspiring, and Sandberg's advice is paltry and limited-- essentially her best advice is to ask for a raise, be assertive, but don't stop being nice, because as you assert yourself people will dislike you for your power.

I feel that I could have gotten her main points in about 1/7 of the time that it took to get through this book. Overall I found Sandberg's examples repetitive.

I don't need someone to tell me that women are not getting equal treatment over and over-- I heard this already in Feminist Studies in college. I would like to know how do we make inroads given the playing field, and case studies of women both who tried to buck the system and failed-- and those who tried to buck it and succeeded.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I also felt that Sandberg's examples were often cliche's or quotes from others that I was already familiar with. I've already read Tina Fey's book-- I don't need you to quote her in yours. I wish she had more academic or empirical research as opposed to exclusively personal experience and anecdotal. There were only a few points that introduced new ideas in the field to me-- and for the most part they were depressing: women actually shy away from hiring other women, when women are in higher positions, this decreases the chances that more women will rise to high positions in that company, when women ask for raises they often get them. I wish she had cast a broader net with her supporting detail. I also wish that she had drawn conclusions then that were less repetitive -- or for those repetitive sections trimmed the book down to a more concise read.

The truth is Sandberg is leveraging her position to create a property she can sell-- and hasn't put in the dedicated research that would be necessary to make this truly awesome regardless of how business famous the person writing it is.

Which character – as performed by Elisa Donovan – was your favorite?

This book is not about characters. Audible -- get with it.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No thanks.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Nadya
  • 18-03-13

Inspiring

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to any woman and man who is looking for ways to make away with gender issues in the workplace. We need people in power, both men and women, who can open the dialog needed to make the workplace a friendlier place for women, those with families and those without.Ms. Sandberg, using her own experiences and those of people close to her, makes a case for the advancement of women in the workplace using scientific and business data. Between those damned "work-life" juggles, to acknowledging your ambition and siting at the table, to how to engage your partner to become an equal partner if you're interested in childrearing and advancing in your professional career. She makes a convincing case for acknowledging social conventions for the sexes and blowing past them.In some ways this book is a feminist manifesto but all the way she acknowledges that no two people are the same and what is right for some women is not for others. The gender gap hasn't been closed, so let's lean in and make it happen.

Which scene was your favorite?

The whole book is filled with anecdotes which will make you laugh, cry and even cringe a bit.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The introduction and first chapters of this book made me cry, because I am the woman described. The one always selling myself short and observing social conventions to be liked. Ms. Sanderberg made me realize even women at the top, have made mistakes on the way there.

16 people found this helpful