Saturday, May 13, 2017

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Option B sounds as if it's a title about tests. Actually, it is about the tests life throws at us, and how we conquer them. Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In, along with Adam Grant, psychologist and professor, talk about "Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy". It's about moving on with life after tragedy, in this case, the sudden death of Sandberg's husband.

Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, faced the death of her husband and father of her two young children with tears and anger, and never thought she and her children would be able to go on with life after Dave Goldberg died. But, once she found a way to put one foot in front of another, with the help of family, friends, therapists and co-workers, she founded If Option A is the life you've been living before loss or abuse or another tragedy, Option B is about the alternatives, the way to go on with life, and, in some cases to make a better life.

As a widow, I found Option B to be moving, and on target. Sandberg talks about the "elephant in the room". No one wants to talk about the dead person, or the divorce, or the assault. People want to encourage others to get on with their lives, and leave the tragedy and memory behind. It's not going to happen. There's discussion of grief, and the ways to talk to others about their losses. There's a question, not "How are you doing?", but, "How are you doing today?"

Although she would have screamed at people, and objected if they originally talked to her about growth after loss, Sandberg now realizes some people can experience that. My wise mother, a widow herself, told me after my husband died that things will be different. She said life won't be the same, but it can be just as good. And, she was right. Sandberg observed that many people succeed when they choose to move beyond the tragedy, not past it, but grow from it.

I appreciated Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In about women in the workplace, but at times it felt as if she didn't realize everyone didn't live in as a couple. It may have taken a tragedy in her life, but in Option B, she acknowledges that she didn't have all the answers she thought she did. Option B is a more honest, accessible book. Don't give it to a grieving person right now. But, read it yourself as to how to handle the grief you see in others, and how to help them face trouble.

There's an Option B community at and

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. Alfred A. Knopf. 2017. ISBN 9781524732684 (hardcover), 226p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Gram said...

This sounds like a book all of us should read. I just put it on my library list. Thanks for the review.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Gram. It does have ideas to make all of us think.