Sandberg created some controversy with her remarks about women needing to “lean in” to their jobs. Some women took that as Sandberg saying the underrepresentation of women in the workforce and in leadership roles in particular was the fault of women, not of an unfairly tilted system. Well, in this book Sandberg calls both sides to task. Yes, the system is broken, but also women too often allow themselves to be marginalized via their behaviors. And, for Sandberg, it’s women in power that will fix the system. Plusses here: this is obviously a passion project for Sandberg and it shows. She and her staff present an insane amount of studies indicating that gender bias isn’t just alive and well, it’s still absolutely pervasive. I’m not sure how anyone could read this book and come away thinking gender bias isn’t a big deal; it certainly is. It’s 2014, but these stats and studies will make your jaw drop and your head spin. Now, neither Sandberg nor her ghostwriter will be winning any prose awards; the prose is often clunky and the book is occasionally kind of hard to read for this reason. But it’s short; the body of the book isn’t even two hundred pages long. And the message? Important? Essential. The clunkiness of the book keeps it from being a great book; give this material to some wonderful prose stylist and you might have a masterpiece. But the immediacy, the passion and the shocking realities that this book puts in front of the reader? Those things mean it has to be a recommended book. I think everyone should read this book, probably. Very good. Recommended. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – clunky prose, but the way the book explores the pervasive gender bias of our society will change the way you look at gender and prejudice. Very good. Recommended. 3 ½ stars.