There's something rather appealing about the mega-rich chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. For one thing she's made an impressive number of enemies among her critics, especially female critics. That in itself is usually a good sign.
On the whole these critics dislike the message of her book, Lean In, which is that women don't value themselves enough in the workplace, aren't ambitious enough, don't negotiate well and rarely ask for enough money.
In The Guardian, Zoe Williams calls the book "infantilising", while Maureen Dowd, in The New York Times, says Sandberg "doesn't understand the difference between a social movement and a social network marketing campaign".
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
In The Daily Telegraph, Allison Pearson says she seems oblivious of the struggling mass of women who have to get by on a tiny fraction of her salary. ("Money can't buy you love, but it sure as hell purchases a lot of childcare.") Reading Sheryl Sandberg's book, says Pearson, "I kept thinking, Yes, fabulous, Sheryl, honey, but as Mrs Alpha of Silicon Valley, you really have no idea what life is like for Miss Beta, let alone Mrs Delta."
True enough, though Sandberg might retort that her book isn't aimed at Mrs Delta; it's aimed at ambitious, would-be prosperous women struggling to make it in corporate life.
A perhaps more telling objection is Andrew Sullivan's in The Sunday Times. He doesn't object to Sandberg writing about the rich: it's her philosophy that bothers him, the idea "that life's greatest rewards are money, career success and power and [that] the way to get those goodies is to devote yourself to more and more work. I know so many men and women whose lives are so frazzled by schedules that would have once seemed physically impossible that leaning further in would put them in hospital".
Ironically, Sandberg herself suffered a bout of timidity negotiating her job at Facebook. After her initial offer, she told The Guardian's Emma Brockes, she was reluctant to go back and ask for more. "I thought it was a terrific offer! Perfectly great!" It was only when her husband and brother-in-law told her that no man would accept the first offer that she went back to the table and told Mark Zuckerberg that, since he was hiring her "in part for her negotiating skills, it would be a bad advertisement if she didn't use them".
So she did. She came out of the meeting with equity in Facebook and wouldn't be worth £400m without that. "I don't remember exactly the back and forth, but yeah. I would be in a different place. I'd still have been very well off no one should feel sad for me."
I think we can relieve her mind on that one. No one feels sad for her, though one wonders, perhaps, how happy her life is. "Sheryl Sandberg's colleagues ran a sweepstake on how long it would take their boss to be back on email after the birth of her first child," said Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph. "She lasted a whole day. Poor baby."
Tabloid money Germans prove no good deed goes unpunished
"Germany has forked out almost £18bn in rescue packages for other European nations and has been rewarded with abiding hatred proof that no good deed goes unpunished," says Tony Parsons in the Daily Mirror. "It is hard to imagine a more generous people than the big-hearted Germans, who have single-handedly prevented Europe from descending into social and economic chaos."
And is Europe grateful? "Is it hell. Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker has even suggested that the festering resentment in Europe is so toxic that it could lead to war. In 1913 many people believed there would never again be a war in Europe,' says Juncker. The countries that Germany has helped the most act as though the Germans are a bunch of goose-stepping, Sieg Heiling invaders rather than their big-spending saviours.
"In Greece, Angela Merkel is routinely depicted wearing a Nazi uniform and portrayed as Hitler's direct descendant. The recent election in Italy seethed with anti-German sentiment. We can all understand how the hard-pressed folk of Europe are suffering under the yoke of years of austerity. But if it wasn't for German generosity, they would really be up the Tiber without a paddle."
"Hambleton District Council covers a large area of rural North Yorkshire with a population of just 89,000," says Paul Routledge in the Daily Mirror. "Its chief executive (how they love aping the titles of the private sector, no more town clerks these days!), Phil Maboots' Morton, is getting a 10% pay rise, taking his salary to £110,000 a year equivalent to a government minister of Cabinet rank.
A total of 54 jobs has gone at the council in recent times, a drop in the ocean of the 380,500 lost in local government overall since the Coalition took power, but bad news if you were one of them. And Hambleton faces a 4% cut in funding. You might have thought Maboots Morton would have set an example of restraint. But you'd be wrong."
Who is the richest person in the world?
The top five richest people in the world have a combined net worth of $825 billion. Who takes the crown for the richest person in the world?
By Vaishali Varu Published
Top 10 stocks with highest growth over past decade - from Nvidia, Microsoft to Netflix, which companies made you the most money?
We reveal the 10 global companies with the biggest returns since 2013. One firm has posted an astonishing 9,870% return, meaning a £1,000 investment would now be worth almost £82,000.
By Ruth Emery Published