Boston Strong
Checking in with Florence

Lean In

If you haven’t heard of Sheryl Sandberg, you haven’t been paying attention. Chief Operating Office at Facebook, formerly with Google and the U. S. Treasury Department, Sandberg’s book Lean In landed at the top of the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list upon its publication in March.

It is The Feminine Mystique for her generation.

In the book, Sandberg argues that gender bias is still common in the workplace. As one of many compelling examples, she tells us about two sets of students who were shown the same venture capitalist resume.  For one group, the venture capitalist’s first name was Heidi, for the other, Howard. The rest was identical. 

Understandably, students in each group found the individual competent.  But the “Howard” group found Howard “appealing” and the “Heidi” group found Heidi “not the kind of person you would want to hire or work for.”

Until both men and women find Heidi as appealing as Howard, women will have a hard time taking their place at the table.

Looking at it from the viewpoint of my generation whose options were pretty much limited to teaching, nursing, or marriage, it seems that we’ve made great strides.  Sandberg’s book acknowledges that, but shows women how to move ahead.  

You can get the basics by joining the millions who have listened to her TED talk at


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