Julie Pierce on Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Lean In Book CoverI started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s National Best seller, Lean In, a couple months ago but I had to put it down. I didn’t put it down because it was boring. I put it down because it was meaty and great and I didn’t want to rush my way through this one. I wanted to sit down with this book and wrestle with its contents for a while and I wanted to do that without distraction. That’s exactly what I intend to do next month. In the meantime, I have followed Carolyn Custis James’ chapter-by-chapter online book discussion. I encourage you to check it out at http://www.whitbyforum.com/. I have been waiting to post a book review from a Christian Worldview and thankfully my fellow Regular Contributor, Julie Pierce, at Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership blog has done just that. Her words for us:

Why I picked up this book:
julie_pierceI read Sheryl Sandberg’s 
Lean In for several reasons: 1) I had seen Sheryl’s TED Talk on why there are so few women leading and resonated with her message and style. 2) As the COO of Facebook, Sheryl consistently makes the “lists.” You know, like the Forbes and TIME “most powerful” and “most influential” lists they create each year. 3) There still aren’t a lot of leadership books written by women at this level of leadership telling not only personal stories but also leadership lessons.

Who should read 
Lean In: 
Every leader should read this book. Men leaders should read this book for the leadership advice (it crosses gender lines) and the glimpse of what life is like for women leaders around them. Women leaders should read 
Lean In because Sheryl is a voice influencing change on our behalf.

What’s in store for you: 
Lean In provides extensive research, experienced recommendations, and examples from real-life. Sheryl Sandberg’s writing style is like a well-educated, well-traveled cousin (not quite as intimate as an older sister). The book presents one challenge after another, so don’t expect a tell-all memoir you can put on your bookshelf and ignore when you’re done. Expect to wrestle.

Sandberg tackles some of the issues behind why women aren’t leading, like “the ambition gap” and the cultural norms we have learned and adapted (Chapter 2). She also devoted entire chapters to taking different approaches to our careers (Chapter 4: It’s a Jungle Gym Not a Ladder), mentoring (Chapter 5), and communication (Chapter 6: Seek and Speak Your Truth).

What I was most surprised by was the extensive content devoted to parenting and partnering with your spouse. I don’t know of another leadership book since the classic Choosing to Cheat, by Andy Stanley, that is as explicit about the struggle of juggling all the roles. That being said, Sandberg does not address aspects like spiritual, physical, and emotional health in leadership life and how these play into bringing your whole self to the table. She also does not offer quick and easy lists to becoming a C-suite leader: she is direct in her advice but nuanced in its application. Continue reading at Gifted for Leadership.

Here’s to Leaning In, Natasha

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