We started a YouCan book group during the lockdown. Mainly as a way to connect and learn through reading. In May we read Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg

What are the main ideas?

The book is about how Sheryl Sandberg dealt with the sudden death of her husband. It’s the story of how she dealt with it, how it affected her family, friends, relationships and her children

It’s her story of what she learned and how she overcame the challenges of grief and losing someone she loved. It also includes a range of stories from other people who have faced loss but gone on to grow and learn from the experience. The concept is when option A is not available how will you become stronger and kick back to embrace option B.

Things I liked

It’s inspiring to hear how positive things can come out of such tragedy. There are some interesting stories and useful tips that you could apply to your own life or might help you if a friend or family member is in a similar situation.

However, I did find it incredibly sad and more sad than inspiring. This might be because it was a bit close to home for me on a personal level after my husband suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and nearly died. I’d normally read more uplifting books and it did make me wonder if I had some level of avoidance of reading anything sad or challenging that long term isn’t helpful. It’s like not dealing with the “elephant in the room” which she discusses in the book.

If I implemented an idea from this book right now, which one would it be?

Thinking about the three P’s and how this can make you stuck

  • Personalization – the belief that we are at fault (this is one I always default to)
  • Pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life
  • Permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever.

Overall I found the book quite sad and the opposite of uplifting. And it left me with a question about if the ideas in the book were really most useful to people who have faced adversity or significant loss.  There were bits of it that were easy to read and some useful ideas and interesting stories but in general I struggled through to the finish because I was reading it in the book group.