Option B by Sheryl Sandberg: Book Review

Life doesn't always go as planned. So how do we deal with the unexpected? In other words, what do we do when Option A is no longer an option? Sheryl Sandberg shares her very personal approach in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. I saw it listed on my library's "trending" e-books, but I also read it because I was interested in what the COO of Facebook had to share about overcoming some of life's greatest obstacles.

Option B is essentially a reflection of how Sandberg dealt with the sudden death of her husband Dave Goldberg in 2015. While it may seem like she just wants to talk about herself and her feelings, she tells her story in a way that is so relatable with relevant anecdotes that almost anyone can empathize with. I personally have not gone through anything as traumatizing as losing the love of my life, but Sandberg's stories are like a Pixar movie that take you through a roller-coaster of emotions and offer a great template for introspection.

For a person who has a major role in one of the world's largest companies, I was often surprised at how normal Sandberg's life could be. Playing Settlers of Catan. Being awkward at a dance and having uncomfortable social interactions. She does self-check her privilege: she notes that she was lucky to not be financially ruined after Dave's death, whereas widowed women of color are more likely to struggle in being single mothers. Otherwise, she displays true vulnerability as she candidly discusses living without Dave, her breakdowns, her sadness, and her triumphs.

There are so many good lessons in this book, and two really stood out to me.

1) Little moments of joy build strength. 
It's kind of crazy that people hit points in their life where they think they'll never be happy again. But we've all persevered through lows, and Sandberg found strength through gradual moments of happiness. She shares little practices of ways to find appreciation in life - such as writing down 3 moments of gratitude a day, or just journaling whenever possible.

2) "Self compassion can be an antidote to the cruelty we sometimes inflict on ourselves."
A lot of the times we get in our own way and self-doubt can cripple the way we live. Sandberg reveals that even as an influential woman, she is still human and experiences emotions like us. As I develop more of my professional life, I often times forget to take care of myself first, and Sandberg demonstrates how self-care helped her cope and become a stronger person.

Basically you should read Option B if you are: feeling down for something not going as planned, looking for inspiration, or interested in the perspective of a changemaker in the world.


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