Review of Lean In

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


The uproar surrounding Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book about women in the workplace began even before it was released. Many critics prematurely worried that a successful white, billionaire executive, though female, would place the burden of workplace inequality on lower-income, working women. They anticipated that she might not differentiate between educated, privileged women like herself and those who don’t enjoy the same luxury of choice. However, the subject matter of Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead – written with Nell Scovell – shouldn’t have surprised any of her readers, including early naysayers. After all, it was the topic of her 2011 commencement address to Barnard College and her popular 2010 TED Talk, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders,” now showing more than six million views. Perhaps anticipating such criticism, Sandberg is careful to include disclaimers throughout her book, acknowledging that not all women share her advantages, her ambition or her idea of success. getAbstract finds that her bestseller hits all the right touchstones.

About the Author

Sheryl Sandberg served in the US Treasury Department, and was Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations before becoming the COO of Facebook.


Those who may have envied Sandberg at the time of this book’s publication in 2013 must have found compassion for her in 2015 when her husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly. She has since spoken of how she coped with this devastating loss and refocused on her children and her work. In her 2016 commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley, she said, “When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it.”

Before “Lean In”

A Harvard graduate, Sandberg worked for her mentor, professor Lawrence Summers, first at the World Bank and then – after she earned an MBA and spent a year with McKinsey – as his chief of staff when he was US Treasury secretary. She was Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations before becoming chief operating officer at Facebook, her platform for this book.

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