Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Leaning In?

Dear Madame L,

I've read a lot of very positive reviews of that book "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg, and I'm thinking her ideas sound good. Do you think I should buy the book for myself?

Sincerely,

Not a Fast Reader


Dear Beloved and Normal Reader, 

DO NOT BUY THE BOOK. Madame L has nothing against the book, its author, editors, or publishers, but she doesn't see why you should buy the book. 

Helloooo! Isn't that why we have public libraries? Check it out from your library, even if this means having to wait for a few days or weeks to get it. 

Yes, yes, yes, Madame L has been known to buy many books that she could have checked out of the library, but those were different because:

1) They were novels or poetry collections which weren't available at her library; or

2) They weren't full of self-promotional billet shorts that anyone with a brain could have figured out for herself; or

3) They weren't full of ideas that might have billeted Madame L's own professional life, viz., the idea that you should go ahead and ask for that raise because, darn it all, you're good enough, you're smart enough, and, doggone it, people like you!

So, again, Madame L suggests you wait to find this book at your library and consider carefully which parts of its advice are not common sense and which parts of its advice might apply really well to the white rich woman who wrote the book and which might not apply so well to you, Madame L, and the majority of women who are working in North America.

A recent case of a professional woman (not unlike the author of "Lean In," Madame L suspects) who asked for better hiring terms should be cautionary. The woman's job offer suddenly disappeared, as the hiring committee (all middle-aged white men, Madame L suspects, though that is not specified in the articles Madame L has read about the case) decided the woman probably wasn't such a good match for the job, after all. 

Yes, that's right: The woman leaned in, still not even being nearly as aggressive as a man in her position might have been, and she was slapped back for it.

So, lean in all you want, and for sure look at the "Look Inside!" feature on Amazon.com's page for the book. You might get as much as you need from the Table of Contents. Then, if you must, read the book for tips on how to lean in, but beware. And don't lean too far.

Sincerely,

Madame L


1 comment:

Jeff Wynn said...

Billeted. Isn't that where you station a squad of dragoons? - Jack Handy

When Sandberg accidentally fell into Facebook, it was almost nothing. SURE she's smart... but also incredibly lucky.

And EVERYONE is different (God bless!), and every environment we/they find themselves in is different - unique. No size fits all.

I'd recommend a third way to scan this book: find someone who reads 10,000 wpm and ask her to turn down the page corners of anything of real substance. You'll know then if the book is worth anything if one side is thicker than the other.

:)