The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 9, 2013

Facebook exec's new book urges women to 'lean in'



NEW YORK (AP) — For a book that has yet to be released, Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" — part feminist manifesto, part how-to career guide — has got a lot of people talking.

In the weeks leading up to the book's March 11 release, pundits and press hounds have been debating its merits. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Sandberg a "PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots," and countless bloggers have suggested that Facebook's chief operating officer is the wrong person to lead a women's movement.

"Most of the criticism has to do with the position she is coming from," said Susan Yohn, professor and chair of Hofstra University's history department.

Sandberg, 43, hopes that her message of empowerment won't be obscured by the lofty pedestal from which she speaks. But is the multi-millionaire with two Harvard degrees too rich to offer advice? Too successful? Does her blueprint for success ignore the plight of poor and working-class women? Does the book's very premise blame women for not rising to top corporate positions at the same rate as men?

And just how big is her house?

The questions keep coming largely because few people have actually read the book. But in it, Sandberg seems to have foreseen much of the criticism. The book acknowledges that critics might discount her feminist call to action with an easy-for-her-to-say shrug.

"My hope is that my message will be judged on its merits," she writes in the preamble.

Sandberg recognizes that parts of the book are targeted toward women who are in a position to make decisions about their careers. Still, she writes, "we can't avoid this conversation. This issue transcends all of us. The time is long overdue to encourage more women to dream the possible dream and encourage more men to support women in the workforce and in the home."

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