Lean In for graduates is the expanded and updated version of Lean In, it includes additional chapters dedicated to the graduates just entering the workforce. If you haven’t read Lean In, this is a must read for you especially, for recent graduates. Sheryl’s candour is admirable, and renders a feeling of validity to all the guilt and bias women in the workforce have faced over the years. For graduates who are yet to experience this bias, the book serves as the necessary preparation guide through which one can recognize the inequality extended by others as well as those accepted by oneself. Examples from her personal life, her extensive experience in the workforce and authentic research add legitimacy to her arguments. As she asks women to lean in the workplace, she asks men to lean in at home. Most millennial men would be truly offended if faced with the judgement that they are biased, yet research shows it is the truth that is why this book is must read for men. So the other half of the population can understand what is happening subconsciously and understand women’s predicament at the workplace. May be some men would be empathetic to their wives, mothers and female colleagues and stand up for them when the occasion calls for it.
Sheryl also discusses the pressures of being a working mom or career woman who gives up the job for the family. She attempts to ease the guilt each of them feels over their choice. The book however is primarily devoted to encourage women to ask for what they deserve in the workplace. The best part of the book for me, is the fact that she does not give grand solutions that would change the system overnight, instead she asks us to be part of the system, in most cases deal with the bias in simple ways like saying ‘we’ rather than ‘I’, smiling more often, and thinking personally but acting communally. Many have criticized this approach and declared that it is submission. But changing beliefs and stereotypes takes time, if by changing a few words we can get more women to the top, then so be it. Acting idealistic might only make people more defensive. Hopefully in a few years, the number of women on the top would quash the need for the next generation bear the burden of even this amount of conformance.
The book ends with practical experience for recent graduates to get a job, but does seem a little out of place with the overall theme of the book. And the book left me wishing for a book that largely focussed on men leaning in at home, something that needs to discussed, rather than a lean in for graduates, covering a topic that already has many books devoted to it.
So if you haven’t read Lean In, Lean for Graduates is a must read, else give it a skip.