Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg

Much has been said, in so many other venues, about Sandberg's manifesto on women and work. What I found most compelling---and what I see emphasized less in the conversations this has sparked---is the local call to action, the imperative to start today, with ourselves.

“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small,” she writes, “by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives---the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve. …. My argument is that getting rid of these internal barriers is critical to gaining power.”

There are more things that need to happen---cultural changes, policy changes, and so on. But those bigger shifts may well depend on many (perhaps small) actions in our everyday lives. As Sandberg notes, “These internal obstacles deserve a lot more attention, in part because they are under our own control. We can dismantle the hurdles in ourselves today. We can start this very moment.”

Her message is clear, compelling, and a call to action. I was a skeptic, but I have to admit that I came out of the book energized, maybe even inspired.