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Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg takes on women and power in new book

October 05, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, speaks during an interview this week at the Interactive Advertising Bureau MIXX conference in New York.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, speaks during an… (Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg )

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has a book coming out. And no, it's not a tell-all about the company's botched IPO.

It may actually be more interesting than that. The book, titled "Lean In," examines why there is a dearth of women in leadership positions throughout the world, and what steps we as a society and individuals can take to balance out the numbers a bit.

Sandberg has spoken about the topic many times -- most notably in the 2010 TED Talk "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders," which has been viewed 1.7 million times.

The numbers she laid out in the talk are disheartening: Out of 190 heads of state in the world, only 9 are women. In the corporate world only 15% to 16% of the top jobs are held by women, and even in the nonprofit world, women have only 20% of the top jobs.

But Sandberg herself is inspiring. She ranked eighth on Fortune's annual list of the most powerful women in business. (Meg Whitman ranked No. 3; Yahoo's Marissa Meyer ranked No. 14.) Sandberg also released a video this year talking about how she leaves work every day at 5:30 p.m. so she can eat dinner with her two young children. (The flip side is that she is up before 6 a.m. sending emails and stays up late working.)

If you're wondering how Sandberg had time to pen a book while she was helping Facebook navigate its high-profile IPO and pitching the company as the future of online advertising to Madison Avenue, the answer is she didn't. 

Sandberg told All Things D that she finished writing the book well before the IPO, and she worked with a full-time writer and a separate researcher.

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