Option B

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Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy is a motivational book written by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, published two years after the death of Sandberg’s 47-year-old husband, Dave Goldberg. It is a hybrid of a self-help book and memoir.

I chose to listen to the audiobook, which is read by the talented Elisa Donovan, though I wondered if I would dislike the fact that Sandberg did not read it. However, I soon discovered that even though I was not listening to Sandberg’s voice, I could still “hear” her voice through her choice of words.

When listening to about 60% of the book, I thought, “Wow! What great insight! What a fantastic book!” Parts of the book felt dry, though I did appreciate the various psychological studies that Sandberg alluded to. 

I liked how Sandberg went over three factors that determine whether someone is resilient after a negative event: 1) not personalizing the event and inflicting self-blame, 2) realizing that the event is not pervasive and does not affect all areas of life 3) and understanding that the negative event will not create permanent negativity in one’s life. 

Sandberg’s earlier book Lean In was given some criticism by readers who thought that Sandberg did not understand the plight of single mothers. In Option B, Sandberg readily admits she did not understand what it was like to be a single mother when Dave was alive. In one section, Sandberg also interestingly explores the expectations and treatment given to widows versus widowers.

Sandberg has good advice, such as encouraging people to daily write down things that they are grateful for, or things that they have done well. It’s not just a book about overcoming grief. It’s a book that is applicable for anyone who wants to learn more about being resilient in life.

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