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Hanne, reading on Cloud 9

Avid book reader. Lover of fantasy, contemporary fiction, short stories and non-fiction. This blog is a work in progress - and it will likely always be that way.

Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg

Little story: In my previous department we all got nicknames, all of them meant to be very descriptive of the person but also really positive. They were brainstormed and then voted on, which actually was a really fun team-building. But while most people did indeed get some amazing nicknames, my final one was… ‘Ms Bossy’.
After hearing that, I remember heading to the toilets for a good cry, which is something I hardly ever do (when there are no books/movies or music involved that is). Of everything that I am, they picked Bossy as my most descriptive quality, thought it was funny and in some twisted way thought they were doing me a favour as well.
So when I read the following quote, I was already sold:

”When a girl tries to lead, she is often labelled bossy. Boys are seldom called bossy because a boy taking the role of a boss does not surprise or offend. As someone who was called this for much of my childhood, I know that it is not a compliment. The stories of my childhood bossiness are told (and retold) with great amusement. “

I had many mixed feelings while reading this book. On one hand it is ridiculously sad that society is still where it is, and on the other hand I kept nodding so hard and sometimes I felt like I was hit by alien attack. That's the impact some chapters had on me. Aliens, here, right now, in my head!

Similarly to Quiet by Susan Cain, I just felt that it was important for me to read this book. Not that I have CEO ambitions (far from it, I actually really dislike managing people, which makes the whole ‘bossiness’ an even bigger conundrum!) but as a working woman it still struck a chord with me.

What i liked about this book, is that it isn't a let's-sit-all-together-and-whine about the situation. Sandberg gives you some insights into our own brain, and how we are often doing this to ourselves as well.
For me, she did so especially in the first few chapters. The later chapters are more about families and kids, which is a bit less applicable to me now. Nonetheless, she made me think, and made me realize a few things about myself I didn’t really know. There were many alien lightning attack moments, but the most striking one for me was the paragraph about ‘feeling like a fraud’:

“She explained that many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are – impostors with limited skills or abilities.”