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Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant


Option B is a book about loss, grief, and the courage it takes to walk the path of resilience. Sheryl Sandberg – CEO of Facebook and best-selling author – teams up with psychologist and author Adam Grant in what is not so much a ‘self-help’ book, but rather an intimate and sensitively written collection of stories about adversity and survival.


Recounting the sudden death of her husband David Goldberg during a vacation several years ago, Sheryl Sandberg writes from the heart and from real lived experience. Her moving account of the death of her husband and the aftermath of emotional turmoil, is explored throughout her depiction of the roller-coaster ride of living with the loss of a loved one. Sandberg’s narrative takes us to places that provide intimate insight into the nuances of what her life became, once ‘Option A’ was no longer available to her.


“We all live some form of Option B”, Sandberg writes, and the threading of multiple other stories of grief and recovery support the notion that at some stage in our lives we could all be needing to know the tools of true resilience. Trauma, this book reminds us, comes in many shapes and sizes, and while there is possibly no ‘getting over it’, there is hope in the personal growth, and the joys that lie inherent in building up your own strength.


While the idea of resilience has been much explored throughout various publications and books, the concept of it has arguably remained elusively indefinable. What is meant by resilience is much more hotly debated than what is meant by ‘adversity’ for instance, and popular culture is full of ‘resilient people’ who glamorously bounce back from some tragedy or another. It is our human interest, and our fear that there are no permanent solutions or tools, which keeps the matter of resilience as an ongoing topic.


Sandberg and Grant do a great job of balancing the intimate storytelling with the psychological insights, as they weave their chapters through the various exploration of the roles of honesty, friendship, self-compassion, and joy; alongside advice raising resilient kids and how failure and learning in the workplace can also contribute to joy and resilience.


Option B is never preachy nor does it claim to have easy solutions – rather it nudges the reader gently into the world of hope through demonstrating that “tragedy does not have to be personal, pervasive or permanent, but resilience can.” This is a gentle, intelligent and thought-provoking book that will be a comfort to many who read it.


REVIEWER: Tanya Allport

TITLE: Option B – Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, And Finding Joy

AUTHOR(S): Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant

PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House

RRP: $45.00

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