Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

Author: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 226
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Knopf
First Published: April 24, 2017
First Line: "The last thing I ever said to him was, "I'm falling asleep."

Book Description from GoodReadsFrom Facebook's COO and Wharton's top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life's inevitable setbacks. 

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. "I was in 'the void, '" she writes, "a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe." Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build. 
Option B combines Sheryl's personal insights with Adam's eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart--and her journal--to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl's loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. "I want Dave," she cried. Her friend replied, "Option A is not available," and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

My Rating: 3 stars

My ReviewThere is no doubt that Sheryl Sandberg has suffered a great and terrible loss that has irrevocably changed her life and the lives of her two children. In this book, she shares her lowest points as she struggles to deal with the sudden death of her husband and how she gained resilience and strength.  

While I could sympathize as a wife and mother myself, I had a hard time relating to much of the book. I'm sure that this book was cathartic for Sandberg to write but it is not a self-help book with concrete advice for readers. Instead it's her personal journey through grief which is firmly influenced by her extreme privilege, seemingly limitless resources and familial support. She mentions several times that she realizes how lucky she is to have financial security but doesn't relate her suggestions for those of us who don't have seven figures in our bank account, job security or the exceptionally compassionate and understanding boss that Sandberg has in Mark Zuckerberg.

I think Sandberg had good intentions with this book and detailed her own personal struggle to successfully navigate through her own grief. I took away a few helpful tidbits (specifically the 3 P's of grief and how to approach others about their 'grief elephants') but this book is more of a personal memoir of Sandberg's loss. If you approach this book as a memoir instead of a self-help book with concrete suggestions I think you'll get more out of this book.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Knopf for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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