Option B – A Book Review

In her latest book, OptionB Sheryl Sandberg talks about her life post Dave’s death. The book is written in collaboration with Adam Grant. The book teaches us that irrespective of our social-geographical or cultural differences, we process negative emotions in pretty much the same way. Our communication of pain and grief transcends words and language barriers. As mentioned in the starting chapter of the book, grief always hits us hard. No matter how small or naive the concern may seem to be, it will gloom us as though our world has come to an end. In fact, the book cites a famous study:

“After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found the three P’s can stunt recovery.

1 Personalization – the belief that we are at fault.

2 Pervasiveness- the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life.

3 Permanence- the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. “

Sounds familiar? I have felt that too! In fact, we all do. When some negative event hits us, our ability to approach it logically gets curbed by our personalization of the tragedy.

Nobody likes to think about losing loved ones, yet death is inevitable. The topic of death is always grime. It can be a little unsettling to read about death. But OptionB is different. Despite being a book about death and grief, it fills you with energy. Without being a religious sermon, the book makes peace with death. It talks to like a guide for a lost child. This is why I urge you all to read the book.

It is a little book that comes as sorrowful yet powerful reminder that no matter how successful you become, there is always a vulnerable, emotional side to you. A side that we always too afraid to expose.  Writing a book on grief and death, Sherly did just the same. She exposed her vulnerability. By talking openly about her grief, she leaves the door open for other people to shares their pain. This process might sound hard, and uneasy (which it is), but it acts as a buffer for others to build their strength upon. As humans, we learn not only from other people’s success and failures but from their pain and tragedy too. This is what collective resilience is all about, and below are few quotes from the book to help us understand and appreciate the importance of building resilience.

  • “Tragedy does not have to be personal, pervasive or permanent, but resilience can be. We can build it and carry it with us throughout our lives.“
  • “Resilience is not just built in individuals. It is built among individuals- in our neighbourhoods, schools, towns and governments.”
  • “Collective resilience requires more than just shared hope- it is also fueled by shared experiences, shared narratives, and shared power.”
  • “By helping people cope with difficult circumstances and then take action to alter those circumstances, collective resilience can foster real social change.”

I hope these quotes gives you an idea about how can we as an individual, a society, help each other overcome our tragedies. Ours is a community not only celebrating your success but ready to support the shipwrecked you as well. Isn’t this what leaning in is about? You Lean In in for courage, and support and resilience.

Sometimes Option B is not an option, it is all we have been generously offered by life. And trust me, there are so many people whose life is far worse than yours. What you might have now as an Option B, is far better than so many futures someone will live.

On this note, I leave you with an immensely positive quote from the book.

“I am more vulnerable than I thought, but I am much stronger than I ever imagined.”

Happy reading folks!


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