Sandberg Comes Alive, Disc 2

Do you know who Sheryl Sandberg is or why she might possibly be of importance? If not, you can read TLP on the subject. (Short version: she is permitted to exist because her existence sells middle-class women on the idea of working harder for the same amount of money.) You can also read my thoughts on her Surprising! Survival! of a plane crash that occurred while she was somewhere else.

Two year ago, Mrs. Sandberg’s (second) husband died. Dave Goldberg was a VP at Yahoo Music when he met Sandberg, who was a VP at Google. The most fervent Jew-haters at the Chateau Heartiste couldn’t come up with a more stereotypical story than this bloodless partnership of two oddly wealthy, work-obsessed people whose last name contains “berg” and whose entire reason for notability revolves around yet a third “berg” — Mark Zuckberg of Facebook fame.

But then Sheryl (Maiden Name) Sandberg became SHERYL SANDBERG, and her husband became a nonentity. Maybe a better way to say it would be that Dave was always a nonentity. He was always one of these people who bumbles around NorCal and repeats the right buzzwords and earns a mid-six-figure salary because of it. Much of the American economy as it currently exists revolves around people like this. They drive a non-F-model Lexus and they are house-poor and they clog up the line at Whole Foods because they are asking unnecessary questions. They support “Black Lives Matter” from the security of their gated communities. They drive a Prius for the environment but breathlessly boast about brief rides on the company jet. They are interchangeable. They have mastered duckspeak. Their primary value is in never having said or done anything that prevents further mild advancement in the hierarchy.

But then Sheryl became a billionaire, earning more in a week than her husband does in a year. So Dave faded into potbellied, underdressed obscurity. Having become completely unnecessary to the Sandberg Five-Year plan, he then had the decency to die, so Sheryl could write a book about how she survived this tragedy.


The book is called Option B and it will tell you how Sheryl Sandberg coped with her grief. Most of it was written by someone else, the same way Lean In was obviously ghostwritten. When you have a billion dollars, you don’t write a fucking book. Books are written by people whose time would be essentially worthless in any other occupation, like welfare recipient J.K. Rowling or noted alcoholic Ernest Hemingway. It would be more accurate to say that Sheryl purchased this book for the purposes of resale, because the selling of this book makes it slightly less likely that Facebook will terminate her in the foreseeable future.

Although Option B has many celebrity endorsers, including that Malala person, I can tell you with certainty that you don’t need to read it. Sheryl Sandberg’s definition of suffering has nothing to do with yours. This is a woman who has no idea what suffering and struggle might possibly be. Everything single thing that I have ever heard her say regarding her late husband would be equally applicable to a private-school girl whose best friend moved away to another city. “He was my rock,” she would say, which is exactly what Mike Pence or Mitt Romney would say about their wives. “I couldn’t have done it without him.” Couldn’t have done what? Lucked into a billion dollars? I assure you, and her, that the absence or presence of Dave Goldberg made no difference to that.

Let me tell you something that will offend you because it is true: Men are far more likely to commit suicide over losing their job than they are likely to commit suicide over the loss of a child. The latter is a tragedy; the former is an attack against the self, often a devastating one. Children and spouses used to die all the time, you know. Only in the late twentieth century did we start to get the idea that we’d all make it to the secular afterlife of wealthy retirement. So we shouldn’t wonder than Sheryl has effortlessly manipulated and monetized this tragedy. It just wasn’t that big of a deal in the context of her fairytale life. If anything, it adds a little bit of necessary seasoning, makes her more likable, makes her feel more deserving of the billions. As long as the billions keep coming.

Truly, it would be impossible for Mrs. Sandberg to have a tragedy now. Her money is permanent, immutable, too powerful to wither in her lifetime. She’d have to spend a million dollars a day to significantly impact it, like Richard Pryor did in one of his lesser-regarded films. She is insulated. She is safe. You, on the other hand, are still very much at risk. As am I. And very few of us have any “Option B” whatsoever.

49 Replies to “Sandberg Comes Alive, Disc 2”

  1. Yamahog

    Nice write up! Timely that it comes out around the same time as that ‘tell all’ about the Clinton campaign and that tweet from some feckless staffer that they didn’t know anyone who endured more crap or setbacks than Mrs. Clinton.

    Not surprising though – look at all the snarking McDonalds got for making uniforms that don’t stick out so much for workers going to and from work. If you don’t know what honest work is like, you don’t have much respect for it or see the dignity in it.

    If I weren’t afraid of getting doxxed, I’d start a gofundme to buy a transsexual nudie mag, a plane ticket to the coasts, and a lawyer to defend me after I slapped some elites with the rolled up magazine while screaming “this is what the real world is like”.

    • Ark-med

      The Secret Service detail that protected her endured more crap than Mrs. Clinton ever will.

    • Will

      Much easier to be a Senator than a governor; a governor has to actually do something whereas a Senator can just pontificate, perfect for her.

  2. Hogie roll

    I don’t value Sheryl Sandburg any more than that tree at VIR. Much less probably.

    The winklevoss twins should have hired a white guy.

  3. Tomko

    Jack, I’m glad you’ve revisited this person as I saw her in two in-depth interviews this week.

    My first reaction was that she must have an enormous and paid entourage at the ready to dry any tear on her cheek or wipe any butt of her children.

    My second reaction was that she suffered an incredibly lighter loss than would someone who lost their soulmate or primary breadwinner. As have countless military families or poor families who lost someone to the correctional system. That in fact her ‘inspiring story’ and ‘option b’ are neither for the 99.99% of us.

    My conclusion was that the persons conducting the interviews were more sincere than Ms. Sandberg and her work of false vanity. Doubtless anyone who works with her would has already reached the same judgement.

    • rwb

      There are a great many people who simply don’t have the depth of self-awareness to determine whether they’re acting with sincerity or lying to themselves.

  4. rwb

    My takeaways today are that I would make more money if I were willing to tuck in my shirt, and women who pull their sleeves to their palms are crazy. That second one is a bit of an epiphany if I’m honest.

    • Robert

      What bugs me the most about the “borderline sleeve” girl is she’s holding her pen upside down.

  5. SIV

    I only skimmed this, not reading every word, much less clicking the links, but I’m going to say thank you right now. I might amend my comments after a further perusing

  6. Frank Galvin

    She guest edited a mag that offers illustrated advice on all things anal, and has a “master class on blowjobs.”

    I’m out.

  7. ltlftc

    I’ve been to the USA a number of times recently and this drives me nuts:

    “clog up the line at Whole Foods because they are asking unnecessary questions”

    What is up with that? Why are people spending close to ten minutes asking about the type of oil used for frying, and then offering their point of view on the matter? Or telling the cashier the story about the french tourist who got attacked by a shark and to hell with the 10 other individuals waiting to pay for their gas?

    Has the USA reached a new level self-centredness, or are people simply craving to speak to somebody real, (anybody, the cashier will do!) after having spent too much time online?

    • carrya1911

      There are people who are interested in living a healthy lifestyle and eating a healthy diet. There are also people who are interested in being seen pursuing a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet. By as many people as possible.

      Because obsessing over the details of the antioxidant content of this particular bottle of fair-trade avacado oil is Cloud People stuff. Eating at GENERIC_BURGER_JOINT or JimmyJohn’s is dirt people stuff.

      Whole Foods is not really a grocery store. It is not a place where one simply acquires necessary provisions for sustaining life. It is a place where the enlightened go to get better quality food for their better quality lives. And to give them a place to demonstrate how much more enlightened they are as a human being because of a blog article they read on the proper preparation of quinoa.

      • Aoletsgo

        While I agree that Whole Foods is not a “real” grocery store I do have some good things to say about them. When I am working out of the office I will go there for lunch 2-3 times a week, their salad bar is top notch and if your careful about the weight you can get a very tasty salad with lots of organic, dark color vegatables for $4-5. They also can have some good wine specials and a few other things I buy. Some of the customers are a little different but I really don’t understand all the hate. As far as talking to cashiers from what I have noticed some stores like Whole Foods must train their staff to ask lots of qustions, maybe to make it a more personal, special shopping trip?

        • carrya1911

          Whole Foods is a bit like a gun: It’s all in how you use it.

          The store is certainly founded on some level of pretention, but they do offer things you don’t find at other stores.

          The problems come more with some of their clientele. You go there for food. I’ve been there for food. I’ve seen plenty of people who aren’t there primarily for food. They look rather offended that I would dare walk in such an establishment wearing Carhartt.

        • DirtRoads

          Starbucks does that too, asking too many questions about my day and so on. So do the Dutch Bros coffee baristas. Whatevs…. Just don’t have some inane conversation when there are ppl waiting in line to pay for their shit and get on with their day.

  8. Scotten

    Funniest thing I’ve read all week (although it is only Tuesday)….

    “But then Sheryl became a billionaire, earning more in a week than her husband does in a year. So Dave faded into potbellied, underdressed obscurity. Having become completely unnecessary to the Sandberg Five-Year plan, he then had the decency to die, so Sheryl could write a book about how she survived this tragedy.”

    • hank chinaski

      Having the decency to die after becoming unnecessary….”trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.”

  9. Harry

    A bit of a low blow imo.

    I spend a lot of energy trying to figure out how people think and why they think and do what they do, just so I can try to interact in a socially successful way. I am fairly successful at it.

    One thing I have learned is that trying to understand the grief of another person is simply a black box that cannot be seen into. It is to personal, and to infrequent to have enough examples of behavior of that individual to predict from. To me that is the best value from funeral rituals, it allows to follow set rules of behavior rather than be forced to individual cope with someones needs unless they are very close to you. A central tenant of those rules are that the personal who died is a saint, and the surviving persons can express their sadness however they like.

    That being said by any standard writing a book promoting yourself using the death of a loved one is at best uncouth, and probably a good window into just how narcissistic of a persona she is. If her husbands death maxed her capacity for grief, and it may or may not have, black box and all, then I would say it is a bit far to say that she doesn’t deserve our sympathy on subject any less than someone without resources.

    The rest of the commentary about her ilk? Spot on.

    • Disinterested-Observer

      -Disclaimer, this not a flame or even a rebuttal, your comment just made me think of this.

      I know a couple who’s baby died, then both of the man’s parents died, in the span of six months. A friend of mine was widowed twice before he turned 50. A friend of mine found his father dead of a heart attack in his driveway when he was 10 years old.

      You may not be able to see into a person’s heart and know his or her grief, but this woman has no idea what adversity is.

  10. Domestic Hearse

    Lean Over: How I Continue to Advance My Career and Net Worth (with tips you can use in your little job).

    By Sheryl Sandberg

    Lean Back: Use Your G650 Travel Time to Brainstorm Career Advancement Ideas (including future ghost-written fictional biographies).

    By Sheryl Sandberg

    Lean Against: My Late Husband’s Coffin To Self-Promote and Self-Congratulate (tips on how you can feel bad for me and yourself at the same time).

    By Sheryl Sandberg

  11. Ronnie Schreiber

    Maybe it’s because I just helped my sister and her sons bury her husband, but I’m willing to give a widow some slack. That being said, has Sheryl Sandberg ever accomplished anything of note in her life besides moving up the corporate ladder? Has she invented or created anything besides her personal brand?

    • Disinterested-Observer

      Many years ago, not long after I started $MY_CURRENT_JOB my very cool, black, former Marine boss asked me to go to a meeting with a customer in his stead. When I say “cool” I don’t mean it was a party, I mean he knew that 8 hours of work could happen between 10 and 6 am or pm, and he protected us worker bees from the other execs. At the meeting there was a guy from our company, the only one of six who was wearing a suit. He asked me if so-and-so was there, and what did I think? I said “He seems like one of those white guys who just goes to meetings.” Here we are in $THE_CURRENT_YEAR and this moke has moved inexorably up the corporate ladder, saying things that are perfectly vacuous. He contributes nothing, yet nothing he says is stupid enough to get his dumb ass fired.

    • Daniel J

      Ronnie,

      A few things I’ve learned by working for both small and large companies is that VPs and COOs can do everything from nothing to working 80 hours a week trying to keep a company afloat. It just really depends.

      I’ve also learned that being a grunt won’t make one much money. I’m 36 and I’ve been a software engineer for 15 years now and all I do is real, tangible grunt work. I see folks younger than me and what they’ve done is gone into management from an engineering position. They delegate and do “stuff”, but it doesn’t build or design product. They are making twice or more what I make. My point is, a very valid way to make money is move up the corporate ladder, which means doing less “real” work.

  12. CJinSD

    She looks very nice in the photo you chose. Nice enough to inspire me to seek out more photos of her, which were all over the aesthetic map. She reminds me of a girl I lived with a while in college, who married the guy she was cheating on for her last year away at school. I was inspired to google-stalk her a decade and a half ago in a moment of weakness. Her profile picture at her business consulting scam of a job was matronly. Knowing her, I know she would have picked the best from at least a hundred proofs. There’s really nothing she could accomplish that would restore any sense of loss for having had her ditch me for a guy with a Congressional Country Club family membership. Shallow is its own reward, but nobody needs to read more than a hundred and fifty words about it.

  13. VoGo

    So much loathing. I’ll come back when you have something positive to write.
    Hope you feel better,

    • Will

      @Vogo

      You’re not allowed to criticize people who are disingenuous at best and a fraud at worst? She’s received everything because of men she’s worked for and yet tells every other person that they can “earn” it themselves and have it all, when in reality, no one can have it all.

      • CJinSD

        “You’re not allowed to criticize people who are disingenuous at best and a fraud at worst?” It sucks for VoGo when people are free to criticize people who are disingenuous at best and probably complete frauds. You can take that to the bank.

        • VoGo

          Sigh.
          Jack of course can write what he pleases. I just couldn’t engage on such a negative article. Is Steinberg disingenuous or fraudulent? I have no idea.

          I just saw more angry venting about a successful woman, and wanted nothing more than to move on. If this is the writing the floats your boat, enjoy.

          Bark, If you and Jack didn’t want me to come, I’m sure you can have me banned from here as well. In the past, Jack has written that he appreciated a different perspective, but if that has changed, I am happy to move on.

          • CJinSD

            “I just saw more angry venting about a successful woman, and wanted nothing more than to move on.”

            You’re a sexist dope. For some reason you don’t think women are intelligent enough to be held accountable for their actions and motives. Pretty revolting of you, really.

  14. statick89

    Characterizing Brewster’s Millions as a minor Pryor? Blasphemy. Of course I was 10 the last time I saw it.

    • David Florida

      It’s true that the script didn’t offer much for the magnificent John Candy to work with. I was suitably entertained nonetheless.

  15. Tristan W Weary

    Nice Brewster’s Millions reference.

    I do enjoy it when people who made their money in a tech bubble tell me how I’m supposed to live.

  16. Daniel J

    First, I think anyone would do as she has done. I know I would. I’m a self serving SOB, and if my wife died and I could cash in, I know I would.

    Secondly, the problem I have with this piece, and to play devil’s advocate, why care and who are YOU to judge her? Do YOU really know her? Do YOU know if she really doesn’t miss her husband? Lots of jumping to conclusions here. A fundamental problem with people and society in general though. More now than ever with facebook. Pun intended.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Fair question.

      Here’s the answer: she created a product and invited us to judge her.

      I didn’t write this when her husband died. I didn’t write it a year after her husband died. I wrote it the day after she released a book from which she expects to benefit, financially and personally. Her choice to commission the book puts her in the arena. Until then, it was off limits.

  17. Tyguy

    While I agree her self righteous attitude and grieving book are loathsome, I disagree with much the commentary that on her lack of earning / deserving her success. While she might have been in the right place right time with Facebook and Google both companies grew successful by monetizing through advertising which was her primary role. She seems to have done a pretty good job with Facebook turning it a very profitable enterprise. Had Zuck ran into say Robert Nardelli or Marisa Mayer and made one of them COO, Facebook would not be where it is today.

  18. Dan R.

    Excellent piece, Jack. I knew I found Sandberg’s continual and public mining of her [self-described] personal struggles tacky, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, until now.

Comments are closed.