Book Report: ‘Option B Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy’ By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

9781524732684From 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.


‘Option B’ from Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant is a must read.  We all encounter different kinds of grief.  Sometimes on a daily, monthly or yearly basis.  Grief aside – we are aging, raising families, nurturing relationships.  Do we have time to strengthen our resilience?  Yes, not only is strengthening our resilience a life skill but a way to breathe in a new way of thinking, living and embracing our lives with threads of self compassion,  a growing a support system and investing time into our emotional and mental health.

The past few years have been tough for me for a variety of reasons.  I have sought out therapy to provide my mind with a respite to heal.  Indeed, important pieces to the puzzle of living a healthy life but also tough to face head on when you are knee deep in mud.

Faith has also been an important part of my healing.  As Sandberg states, ‘turning to God gives people a sense of being enveloped in loving arms that are eternal and ultimately strong.  People need to know that they are not alone.’  This is especially true when you are feeling too proud to ask for help.  Prayer, meditation, quiet moments in bed with a good – build one’s soul as early first steps towards change.  I appreciated Sandberg’s note that traumatic experiences can lead to deeper faith.  For me the reluctance of having to go to church as a child has dissipated as an adult.  The pure act of meditating, being still and listening to readings is the easiest and cheapest form of therapy every week even if you are not the most religious person in your place of worship.

I appreciated that Sandberg flushed our Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief and reminded me that anger plays such a huge part in grief.  ‘They are five states that don’t progress in a linear fashion but rise and fall.  Grief and anger aren’t extinguished like flames doused with water.  They can flicker away one moment and burns hot thee next.’  Important words to dwell upon when you have kids and want to explain to them perhaps where they think their emotions are coming.

If speaking about your anger or grief isn’t your thing – try processing it through writing it out.  Make it as simple as writing out your thoughts and how you got there, what is working for you when you are in that space and what is not or perhaps even try creative writing to flush out your emotional wounds.  Writing has always been helpful for me when it comes to getting outside of my head.  I have found creative ways to let go of grief by going out, enjoying events and reflecting back my learning through my own healing written words.

‘Option B’ is a game changer and a must purchase.  An easy but a deep read into encouraging reflection in your life, relationships, personal growth.  It’s amazing to gaze upon one’s own deep roots that are getting in the way of living your best life with friends, family and in your work.

‘Option B’ from Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant is also a wonderful reminder of how one can heal on their terms and in their own time.  Bono is quoted in the book as saying ‘Joy is the ultimate form of defiance.’  Through the strengthening of one’s emotional, mental and physical core we can all get to a place of resilience in times of adversity as we master the building blocks of self compassion, healing and introspective work.


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