Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Book Review

If you’re expecting a dry, academic treatise on feminism and workplace dynamics, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg is more like having a conversation with your wise and successful friend who’s been there, done that, and wants to share her insights with you. So, grab your coffee, sit back, and let’s chat about Lean In.

1-Sentence Summary: Lean In is a candid and empowering exploration of the challenges women face in the workplace, offering practical advice and a call to action for women to step into leadership roles unapologetically.

Lean In Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

TitleLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
AuthorSheryl Sandberg
GenreSelf Help
Publication DateJuly 7, 2013
Length240 pages

Where to Purchase

Best Quotes from the Book

  1. “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”Sandberg hits the nail on the head here. Many women, myself included, have at times held back due to self-doubt or the fear of not being good enough. This quote is a rallying cry for us to stop underestimating ourselves and to start leaning into opportunities.
  2. “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”This is a powerful vision. Sandberg’s point is that we should aim for a world where gender is irrelevant when it comes to leadership. It’s a reminder that we’re not striving for special treatment but rather for equality and a level playing field.
  3. “The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”This quote is a breath of fresh air in a world often obsessed with charisma or innate talent as leadership traits. Sandberg reminds us that leadership is about growth and adaptability, something anyone can develop through continuous learning.
  4. “Done is better than perfect.”Perfectionism can be a real obstacle for women in the workplace. Sandberg’s advice to embrace imperfection and prioritize getting things done is liberating. It encourages us to take risks and not be paralyzed by the pursuit of flawlessness.
  5. “Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women.”This quote exposes a double standard that women often face. Sandberg discusses how successful women can sometimes be seen as threatening or unlikable, and it’s a reminder of the biases women confront, even when they excel.

Book Summary

Lean In is all about encouraging women to take a more active role in their careers and in leadership positions. Sandberg does this not by blaming women for not leaning in enough but by addressing the systemic issues and biases that hold them back.

She urges women to lean into their careers, assert themselves, and pursue leadership roles with the same ambition as men. Sandberg provides practical advice on negotiation, self-promotion, and finding mentors. She also highlights the importance of supportive partners and shared responsibilities at home.

But it’s not just for women. The book also calls on men to be allies in this journey towards gender equality and acknowledges that change requires collective effort. Sandberg argues that when women lean in and when men support them, everyone benefits, including organizations and society as a whole.

Book Review

Sandberg’s writing style is engaging and relatable. It’s like having a conversation with a friend who genuinely cares about your success. She uses anecdotes from her own life and career to illustrate her points, making the book both informative and personal.

The language is straightforward, making it accessible to a wide audience. This isn’t an academic thesis filled with jargon; it’s a practical guidebook for navigating the often tricky waters of the modern workplace.

One drawback, however, is that some critics argue that Sandberg’s advice might be easier to follow for women in higher socioeconomic positions. For women struggling with minimum-wage jobs, for example, “leaning in” might not be as straightforward. This is a valid criticism, and it would have been helpful if Sandberg had delved deeper into addressing these disparities.


This book is part of my list of best confidence books. Check out the list for more books on this subject.

This Book Is Recommended for

  1. Women in the Corporate World: If you’re a woman aiming to climb the corporate ladder or simply striving to advance in your career, Lean In is a must-read. It offers valuable insights, practical advice, and a dose of motivation.
  2. Men Who Want to Be Allies: Men who want to be allies in the fight for gender equality will find valuable insights in this book. It sheds light on the challenges women face and how men can support them in their career aspirations.
  3. Parents and Caregivers: Lean In discusses the importance of shared responsibilities at home. If you’re a parent or caregiver, the book provides a compelling argument for more equitable divisions of labor in domestic life.
  4. Leaders and Managers: Leaders and managers in organizations can benefit from Lean In by gaining a better understanding of the challenges women face in the workplace. It offers insights into how to create more inclusive and supportive environments.

Small Actionable Steps You Can Do

  1. Negotiate Your Salary: Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary when starting a new job or during performance reviews. Research industry standards and practice your negotiation skills.
  2. Seek Mentorship: Find a mentor, male or female, who can provide guidance and support in your career. Mentors can offer valuable insights and help you navigate the corporate landscape.
  3. Challenge Stereotypes: Don’t let stereotypes about women’s abilities hold you back. Speak up, share your ideas, and take on challenging projects to prove your capabilities.
  4. Promote Gender Equality: Encourage your workplace to adopt policies that support gender equality, such as flexible work arrangements and parental leave. Be an advocate for change within your organization.
  5. Support Other Women: Lift as you climb. Support and mentor other women in your workplace. Create a network of mutual support to help each other succeed.

Lean In is a refreshing and empowering read that tackles the gender disparities in the workplace head-on. Sheryl Sandberg’s book provides valuable insights, practical advice, and a strong call to action for women to lean into their careers and for everyone to work together for a more equitable world.

While it’s not without its criticisms, it remains a must-read for anyone looking to navigate the complex landscape of gender and leadership in today’s society. So, lean in, grab a copy, and start your journey towards empowerment and equality.


  • Michael Corbin

    Michael Corbin stands out as a dynamic content writer which combines his dual passions for self-help and digital marketing literature. A fervent believer in the transformative power of books, Michael delves deep into self-help titles, extracting valuable lessons and insights that he actively integrates into his daily life. Simultaneously, his keen interest in digital marketing books has not only expanded his knowledge but has also played a pivotal role in the success of his business ventures. Always on a quest for self-improvement and growth, Michael's reviews are a testament to his commitment to personal and professional development. His writings offer readers a unique perspective, as they are infused with real-world applications and experiences derived from the books he reviews. For those seeking to elevate their personal lives or enhance their business strategies, Michael Corbin's reviews serve as a trusted guide, pointing them to the most impactful and actionable books in the realms of self-help and digital marketing. His relentless pursuit of knowledge and betterment makes him an invaluable asset to the literary community and an inspiration to readers and entrepreneurs alike.

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