Leaning In to No. 1: Sheryl Sandberg’s Book Tops Both NYT and Amazon Bestseller Lists

Published on March 25, 2013
by Kara Swisher

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg might still be trying to figure out the social networking giant’s mobile monetization strategy, but there’s one thing she has locked: The top spot on two of the most important bestseller lists at the same time.

This week, for the first time, her “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” ranked No. 1 on the influential New York Times list for hardcover nonfiction, as well as for combined print and e-book nonfiction. The list, which appears in this coming Sunday’s issue of the New York Times Book Review, actually reflects sales for the week ending March 16, 2013.

“Lean In” has been on Amazon’s top 100 list of all books for much longer — in fact, for 32 days. The tome on the many difficulties faced by women in the workforce reached No. 1 status several weeks ago.

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The official release date of the book was March 11, which was followed by a publicity blitz of massive proportions, including the cover of Time magazine, huge takeouts in innumerable newspapers, and laudatory television pieces on “60 Minutes” and with Oprah Winfrey.

“Lean In” has also attracted a huge dollop of controversy, with everyone and their mother (and my mother, Lucky, too) arguing over its merits, as well as its message — including whether Sandberg blamed women too much for the lack of advancement in the executive ranks.

She doesn’t, actually — if you read it, which many pundits appear to not have done. But that has not stopped the rigorous and welcome debate over the important issue, which seems to be exactly what Sandberg was aiming for.

Sales appear to have been widespread, but seem to also be helped by big purchases by companies such as Cisco, which are encouraging employees to read it.

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