Takeaways from Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg


Three of my main takeaways from the book:

  • Gender equality empowers men too.

Let´s change the expectation that it´s natural for men to be less involved in the family or in raising the kids. Men should be given the equal chance to bond with family without being pressured by society or be seen as “weak” if they do.

  • Let your partner be a real partner.

In the home and, might I add, outside of the home as well.

  • Women need to stop “maternal gatekeeping” to allow their partners to be real partners.

“As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home. I have seen so many women inadvertently discourage their husbands from doing their share by being too controlling or critical. Social scientists call this ‘maternal gatekeeping,’ which is a fancy term for ‘Ohmigod, that´s not the way you do it! Just move aside and let me!’ When it comes to children, fathers often take their cues from mothers. This gives a mother great power to encourage of impede the father´s involvement. If she acts as a gatekeeper mother and is reluctant to hand over responsibility, or worse, questions the father´s effors, he does less.”

“Now we know that women can do what men can do, but we don´t know that men can do what women can do.”

Side takeaway on parenting and life in general:

  • Reflecting someone´s viewpoint becomes a starting point for resolution.

“When we had arguments, our mother taught us – or more like forced us – to mirror each other, which means restating the other person´s point before responding to it. For example, one day my sister and I were fighting over a lollipop. ‘Sheryl ate the last lollipop!’ Michelle screamed. ‘But she had a lollipop yesterday and I didn´t!’ I screamed back, making an excellent point. My mother sat us down facing each other. I was not allowed to explain how gravely inequitable the lollipop allocation was until I acknowleged my sister´s feelings. ‘Michelle, I understand that you are upset because I ate the last lollipop and you wanted it.’ As painful as this was at the time, reflecting someone else´s viewpoint clarifies the disagreement and becomes a starting point for resolution. We all want to be heard, and when we focus on showing others that we are listening, we actually become better listeners.”


from The Hiding Place

More of an excerpt than a quote:

“You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,” I told her.

“You know we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,” she said. “Well – I’ve found out.”

That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.

“But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”

Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: “Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, ‘That place is crawling with fleas!’ “

My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.

Favorite Excerpts – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“I see. It’s nice to have accomplishments and be elegant, but not to show off or get perked up,” said Amy thoughtfully.

“These things are always seen and felt in a person’s manner and conversations, if modestly used, but it is not necessary to display them,” said Mrs. March.

“Any more than it’s proper to wear all your bonnets and gowns and ribbons at once, that folks may know you’ve got them,” added Jo, and the lecture ended in a laugh.


“Mercy on us, this will never do,” thought Jo; adding aloud, “Go and sing for me. I’m dying for some music, and ‘always like yours.'”

“I’d rather stay here, thank you.”

“Well, you can’t; there isn’t room. Go and make yourself useful, since you are too big to be ornamental…”


“Little Teddy bore a charmed life, for nothing ever happened to him, and Jo never felt any anxiety when he was whisked up into a tree by one lad, galloped off on the back of another, or supplied with sour russets by his indulgent papa, who labored under the Germanic delusion that babies could digest anything, from pickled cabbage to buttons, nails, and their own small shoes. She knew that little Ted would turn up again in time, safe and rosy, dirty and serene, and she always received him back with a hearty welcome, for Jo loved her babies tenderly.”




From Hansi: the Girl Who Loved the Swastika

Technically not a quote, but this is my favorite portion from the book. 🙂

The teachers in the audience smiled. The American guest speaker seemed a bit uneasy. “The reason for that is that I tried not to hurt your feelings. It has been only such a short time since you all taught under Hitler; I fully understand if you still feel very much as you did during Nazi times — it will take time to reorient your thinking toward democratic principles.” I found myself standing and my heart was throbbing in my throat, but I had to answer him. “Sir,” I said, and took a deep breath, “If you try to indicate that we are still Nazis, you are wrong. We are not Nazis nor anything else. We trusted once and paid with our heartblood for it. We got hurt, sir, and we are still hurting, and we are not willing to trust again — neither democracy nor any other system. So it isn’t that we are against what you said; it just sounds too good to be true, at least for us, for we are like burnt children who are afraid of fire.”