Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant co-wrote Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. This self-help book was published in 2017. I discovered it on the Libby App when searching for books on resilience. Option B fills the bill, but if you are in a midst of a personal crisis, it may make you cry. More than a time or two.
I was familiar with the name Sheryl Sandberg, currently with Meta (Facebook), but recently announcing her departure from the company. However, I did not know of Adam Grant. After reading Option B and researching, I find Mr. Grant every bit as impressive as Ms. Sandberg.
Option B is a personal account of Sandberg’s struggle after the death of her husband, Dave. The book is both anecdotal and structured. Psychological components outline steps anyone facing adversity can take to power through their own personal struggles. I found the philosophy helpful and kept wanting to take notes as if I were in class, complete with a pop quiz.
Option B: Getting Beyond the Three Ps
The authors cite the work of psychologist Martin Seligman with respect to surviving life’s unexpected obstacles. Personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence are the Three P’s. In a nutshell, personalization is blaming oneself, pervasiveness means the negative event will take over all aspects of one’s life, and permanence conveys an everlasting negative impact.
Individuals need to gain control of the Three P’s in order to become resilient in the face of adversity. Option B provides a framework to bounce back when tragedy strikes. Furthermore, the guidance offers a path to regain a balance in life.
An important takeaway from Option B is growth is possible even when faced with adversity. Sandberg gives many personal examples. She posits a mindset of appreciating effort versus praise for intellect. But the emphasis is when one tries their best. Never did she use the “it’s good enough” phrase. Instead, she discusses meeting failures with determination to improve. Furthermore, seeking help is important.
One of my favorite quotes from the book follows: “As we get older, we define happiness less in terms of excitement and more in terms of peacefulness.” I must be getting along in age because this struck me as profound. The chapter on Finding Joy after an adverse event is not just getting back to life. Instead, the authors stress the importance of growth and if not acceptance of the adverse event, an ability to gain strength. To reach peacefulness and find joy in life.
Praise for Option B
Even though I struggled reading through some of the chapters in this book, the effort was rewarded with a hopefulness that resilience is possible regardless of what curveball life may throw. Sandberg and Grant are both to be commended. If you or someone you know is open to move on past a tragedy, I highly recommend Option B.