Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has turned her brand of advice for career women into TEDTalks, a best-selling book and a social movement.
Now Sony Pictures has announced it owns film rights to Lean In, Sandberg’s tale of rising to the top of the male-dominated ranks of Silicon Valley’s elite.
While Sandberg may be a ripe subject for a Hollywood biopic (she became one of the few women admitted to the world’s billionaire club this year), what exactly a Lean In movie might look like isn’t clear. According to Variety, Lean In will be adapted “as a fictional story based on the book’s themes” of how women can get ahead in a man’s world.
Unlike other women-at-work movies, like Working Girl, Erin Brokovich or The Devil Wears Prada, Sandberg’s Lean In is short on heroes and villain. In fact, it it’s not so much an autobiography as it is a self-help book for the career woman. It’s also extremely light on industry gossip, glossing over Sandberg’s early life as an assistant to U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Sandberg’s marriage and divorce by age 24, or her time as one of the early employees of Google.
It’s questionable just how much moviegoers would pay to watch the few work-related anecdotes Sandberg includes in her book, such as when she picked lice off her kids while aboard eBay’s private jet, pumped milk during conference calls, waddled into Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s office while heavily pregnant to ask for a more convenient parking spot, or all those times she cried at the office.
As a book, Lean In’s strength lies in the way that Sandberg confronts head-on many issues that have prevented women from climbing the career ladder. While she’s been accused of blaming women for their career problems, she does offer a few hammers they can use to try to break the glass ceiling.
Not that any of this makes for a particularly dramatic viewing. Then again, the last time Hollywood decided to make a movie about people at Facebook, it made The Social Network, which won three Oscars. So maybe there’s a Hollywood blockbuster in Lean In after all.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.