When a male friend suggested Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for our couples book club, I immediately went on the defensive. I knew very little about the book, but like a lot of readers, I had my mind made up before the book was even released. Who was Sandberg, a privileged, rich executive, to write about what it’s like to be a working mother?
I was wrong.
I thought this book was insightful, smart, well written, even self-deprecating. I still think Sandberg, by nature of her position and her wealth, can’t completely identify with a typical working parent, but even she admits that. What she can do is present a compelling argument why it’s crucial we address the working parent Catch 22 – the workplace needs to be more accommodating to working parents (not just mothers) so more working parents can remain employed, but more working parents need to stay in the workforce in order to vocalize the need for the flexibility.
I’m not going to critique her proposal in this review. That’s a different story for a different time. And regardless of what you think of her ideas, I think you have to agree the book is well written, thoroughly researched and documented, and provocative. It’s a quick read too.
If one indication of a good book is how much you talk about it with your friends, colleagues or peers, Lean In would surely meet that criterion. Try discussing it with your spouse over a cocktail or bring it up in your next office happy hour and see if it doesn’t get people talking and sharing opinions.