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Have you ever felt dissatisfied in a situation, and thought, “What if?”...But not like, “What if a giant walrus fell on my boss’s head?" I mean: Goals, dreams, etc.

That is what Lean In is about.  Below are my Cliff’s Notes.

Dissatisfaction spurs change, Sheryl Sandberg states in Lean In. And by the end of the first chapter of her book, if you are not dissatisfied in some way with the state of women today, then – seriously - I’ll have what you’re having. Because that is one good mental margarita!

Part 1. Chapter one through six is for every single woman and teen to read. Right out of the gate the stats are staggering.

Bottom line: As a gender (in the US) we’re over-educated and under-performing.

Some points that stood out to me:

Sandberg point: Negative messaging to girls and women hurts us. Sandberg notes that from a young age, "We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives…"

  • Response: Agree. As women, many know this truth. To see it spill out in black and white, in studies, showing how it impacts our opportunities is a tough pill to swallow.

Sandberg point: Women are promoted differently than men. Sandberg cites a 2011 McKinsey study showing that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishment.

  • Response: Yikes. This is a double standard at its finest. My thought bubble? “I thought we were past this.” Guess not.

Sandberg point: We’re off the radar, even our own radar. Vignette about the senior partner at a VC firm who didn't know where the women's room was. "How long have you been at this office?" Sandberg asked. "One year," he responded.

  • Response: To do - Insert ourselves on the radar, ours included. This and other stories show the potential lack of consideration for women by others, but also the lack of consideration for us – by ourselves!


Part 1. Takeaway after first part of book: It starts with awareness.


Part 2. Ourselves. The next part of the book turns the microscope on ourselves as Sandberg shares stories of experiences and failures. She bares all. It’s enthralling.

  • Talking prouder (Chapter 6 Seek and Speak Your Truth)
  • Working prouder (Chapter 7 Don't Leave Before You Leave)
  • Making sure someone is really walking there beside you while you’re working (Chapter 8 Make Your Partner a Real Partner) and
  • Not going totally nuts while you’re doing it (Chapter 9 The Myth of Doing it All)

(P.s. This is the real deal folks: Completely separate data backing this up will be on the Hot Mommas Project blog for my students.)


Chapter 6 Seek and Speak Your Truth

Sandberg point: Communicate more confidently. Period.

  • Response: Worth its weight in gold. This is very important. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you’d be shocked at the steamrolling that takes place due to weak communication. Secure your place at the table.

Chapter 7 Don't Leave Before You Leave.

Sandberg point: Don’t slow down before the finish line.

  • Response: Listen carefully. Many factors at play here. The knee jerk might be to take this personally – because it deals with family – but I’d take a step back, depersonalize, and listen. This economy stinks (fewer jobs). And demographically Gen Y is the Baby Boom “Echo”  (more bodies). What I would tell my daughter, “Let’s listen, shall we, even if we don’t take the advice.” This is one perspective how. A billionaire’s perspective.

Chapter 8 Make Your Partner a Real Partner

Sandberg point: Women need really good partners. She quotes the awesome Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Harvard Business School Professor) being asked “What can men do to help advance women's leadership? Kanter’s response? "The laundry."

  • Response: True. This is where the mirror is held up. It’s like when winter’s over, and it’s bathing suit season and the fluorescent lights are on at TJ Maxx in the dressing room and it’s like “Whhhattt?” Oh no. It’s so much easier to be in denial.

Chapter 9 The Myth of Doing it All

Sandberg Point: Guilt management can be just as important as time management for mothers

  • Response. Amen Sista! Punto.


Wrap up: The end opens up to women and the world. It’s for thinkers, and people who are now fascinated with this topic.

In the beginning, Sandberg states: Her book is for any woman who wants to increase her chances of making it to the top of her field or pursue any goal vigorously (as well as men who want to gain knowledge). But, truthfully, the appeal is much broader.

The question is: Who is ready to hear it, be dissatisfied, and spur change? At home, in your community, at work.

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