Review of book ” Option B” by author Sheryl Sandberg

Review by Vipul Murarka

I picked up the book Option B because I am a fan of Adam Grant’s writing and also because I admire Sheryl Sandberg a lot. And I am actually glad that I read this book.

One might assume that this book is for those who have lost someone to death. But that’s not all that this book is about. This book can be thought of as a “Dummy’s Guide to building resilience”. Adversities can come in any form and normal human tendency (for most) is to accept it. Also there is a wide-spread notion that resilience is in the genes and cannot be developed. The book aims at shattering this myth and has shown some techniques through which one can build resilience to face adverse situations.

The book is no doubt an honest one wherein Sheryl Sandberg has given numerous instances of her life after her husband’s death. The way the book is written will make you feel connected to Sheryl and her husband and you will empathize with the former who had a huge task of re-building hers and her children’s life after this insurmountable loss. She has tried to tell each and every detail that one has to go through after the loss of spouse such as telling kids that their father is no more, not wanting to meet anyone, feeling lost at work, crying most of the time and many others. Sheryl is also not shy away from mentioning the fact that because she had her family and friends who helped her in many ways to try and move on.

While there are a lot of takeaways for me from this book, one of the major ones was talking about the adversity with the person who has faced it. Many times it happens that when we know that someone has lost his/her partner, job, etc., we try to avoid the conversation on that topic with that person. We feel that why should we remind the person again and again about the loss and it is better to just avoid talking about it. Sheryl highlights this fact and has clearly asked the readers to “bring the elephant out in open”. What that does is that the person who is suffering has so much in his/her mind that when you ask, he/she may just spill that out and that can lighten his/her burden.

Also when we don’t ask, the person may feel that we don’t care about him/her anymore which is obviously not the case. Hence it is better to talk about it. You can’t possibly hurt the person by talking about it because he/she is already hurt about it and living the tragedy every moment. Talking about it may give him/her some lightness and possibly some idea that may help to move on.

As you would expect from any of Adam Grant’s book, Option B also has numerous examples – some personal, some based on research and others professional. The theories mentioned and how Sheryl used these practically made a lot of sense. While some may argue that because she is rich, she could afford to take actions to try and overcome miseries. I partially agree with them but most of the things mentioned in the book are generic and can be applied by everyone provided the fact that they would have to gather some strength from within.

The book is a short and quick read that is written in simple English. Option B will connect with you at emotional level too whether you have experienced some adversity in near future or not. However, one question that I asked myself was that can this book be of any use to those who may not have resources (I am not talking about money here. Resources such as friends, families, work, etc that can help in drift the mind to something else) to deal with adversities? I doubt that.Having said that, after reading not only Sheryl’s story, there are so many tragic stories mentioned in the book that you may feel that your life is still better and may actually start appreciating your life. A good read that can make you start thinking about dealing with adversities.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the reviewer :

Vipul Murarka likes to learn something new every time he picks up a book. He has done BSc (Hons) in Plant Biotechnology from University of Nottingham after which he has done MBA in Marketing from School Of Inspired Leadership. Right now he resides in Myanmar doing business in agriculture.

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