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Option B; Book Review by Rosey Woodhead

By Sheryl Sandberg (author of Lean In & COO of Facebook) & Adam Grant (author of Originals & Psychologist at Wharton) 2017

Reviewed by Rosey Woodhead 01/09/2020

I came across this book by accident while going through my LinkedIn news feed and listened to both authors experience and advice. I had heard a few years ago that Sheryl Sandberg had lost her dear husband, Dave Goldberg. But back then you often not know what to say or even how to resonate or empathise…

…until of course it happens to you.

Many of you may know, I lost my husband and soulmate, Paul back in January 2019 to cancer, after nearly 17 years of marriage. The challenge through his illness, the highs and lows and then the inevitable where he slips away peacefully in my arms. Still feels surreal…

Some may also know that in the last 10 years, I have lost my very young nephew (aged 12 – 2011) niece (aged 20 – 2015) both siblings to sudden death, 3 uncles (2015, 2018, 2020 to cancer) and 2 best friends (2019, 2020 also to cancer).

Each loss poignant and you would think that the grim reaper must have had nothing better to do…

Option B, helps us understand how we can face adversity, build our resilience and also find joy through the traumas and tragedies that has befallen our lives.

The book is seen through the eyes of Sheryl Sandberg with extensive research complimented by Adam Grant. Sheryl opens up her heart to us, sharing her tragic experience after losing her husband, Dave Goldberg in 2016 and how she found her strength through adversity.

The insights in the book are not just about grief and loss but covers an array of different experiences, challenges, tragic circumstances and hardships that people have overcome and built resilience.

Option B is not a fix it book, it won’t eliminate your grief or anxiety but instead share the variety of options and how to make the best of it. If anything, it is a guide to help one understand and inspire to build one’s own strength.

The stories and insights flow well and once I began reading, I could not put it down. Sheryl relates how she learnt to breathe again, rules of friendships and resilience in children. My favourite topics were ‘how to kick the elephant out of the room’, learning and failing at work, to learn to love and how to laugh again too. Adam’s extensive research and statistics supports each area, giving one a perspective that you are not alone and that we continue to learn and grow.

As I read, my raw emotions were unearthed once more. I wish I had found and read this book upon its publishing, perhaps my own grief would have made more sense when I lost Paul. But its never too late, each and every person’s journey is different, and the encounters we go through are vast. More than often we continue to learn, rise and reveal our own spirits to endure and perhaps once more to experience joy.

With the devastation that Covid-19 has left the world especially taking many loved ones so tragically, we slowly embark on how we can rebuild our shattered lives and move into the world of different norms.

The words on the inside cover of the book says it all

“We all live some form of Option B. This book will make the most of it.”

A recommended read indeed.