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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, April 2017 - It took me several tries to make it out of the introduction of Option B. I lost my father a few weeks after Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband, and her grief - which she bravely chronicles in the intro - was too palpable for me. Even if you're not grieving, or if you've been blessed to never lose a loved one, this is a book you should listen to. At some point in your life, option A will not be a possibility, and you will need to accept and own option B. Sandberg, and her writing partner and friend Adam Grant (a psychologist and professor at UPenn), teach that resilience is something you can build up. When you're grieving, it can feel like you'll never have a happy day again. But Sandberg is proof that joy beyond a loss of this magnitude is possible, and she and Grant are here to help you be resilient. I still had to pause a lot while listening - the tears kept coming - but it was worth it. Thank you to Sheryl and Adam for putting my own feelings into words and gifting me with additional tools to heal and grow. —Katie, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

From Facebook's COO and Wharton's top-rated professor, the number-one New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life's inevitable setbacks.

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. "I was in 'the void,'" she writes, "a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe." Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

Option B combines Sheryl's personal insights with Adam's eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart - and her journal - to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl's loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere...and to rediscover joy.

Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead.

Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. "I want Dave," she cried. Her friend replied, "Option A is not available," and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

©2017 Sheryl Sandberg (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Option B is as hopeful as it is heartbreaking. Here are stories of sometimes unimaginable pain and loss, but also of how human beings nonetheless have the capacity to endure and even thrive. This book is not just an absorbing read. It also provides lessons that everyone needs to learn." (Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal)
"Illuminating, original, and deeply inspiring, Option B is one part riveting memoir, one part heal-your-heart boot camp, one part stories of others who learned to thrive in the face of profound loss: a practical, vital contribution to the literature on loss and resilience." (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild)
"I recommend this inspiring book to everyone around the world. None of us can escape sadness, loss, or life's disappointments, so the best option is to find our Option B." (Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner)
"Narrator Elisa Donovan's palpable empathy adds to her authentic delivery of this profound and personal audio. With relaxed pacing and conversational phrasing, she makes the pathos and advice unfold with unfailing grace.... The heartfelt wisdom in this audio, along with Donovan's sensitive performance, make it a high-impact listen for people suffering from all manner of loss and trauma." (AudioFile)

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Kicking the Sh*t Out of Option B

It took me several tries to make it out of the introduction of Option B. I lost my father a few weeks after Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband, and her grief – which she bravely chronicles in the intro – was too palpable for me. When she posted on Facebook 30 days after her husband Dave’s passing, her words were the only thing that resonated with my mother, so when I saw this memoir was coming, I knew I had to listen.

Even if you’re not grieving, or if you’ve been blessed to never lose a loved one, this is a book you should listen to. At some point in your life, Option A will not be a possibility, and you will need to accept and own Option B. I wish I’d had this sooner. Like Sandberg, I had friends who didn’t know how to handle me or my grief, and instead of talking to them about it, I shut them out. Thankfully there were people who did know how to talk to me and stood by me, but the numbers in my crew have definitely dropped. If you have a friend who is grieving - don't be afraid to approach them. They're already thinking about their grief every second, so you broaching the topic isn't going to remind them or trigger a sad memory. All of the thoughts and feelings and emotions connected with grief are sitting front and center in their minds. They'll appreciate the gesture, and you not tip-toeing around them.

Sandberg, and her writing partner and friend Adam Grant (a psychologist and professor at UPenn), teach that resilience is something you can build up. When you’re grieving, it can feel like you’ll never have a happy day again. But Sandberg is proof that joy beyond a loss of this magnitude is possible, and her and Grant are here to help you be resilient. I still had to pause a lot while listening – the tears kept coming – but it was worth it. Thank you to Sheryl and Adam for putting my own feelings into words, and gifting me with additional tools to heal and grow.

54 of 60 people found this review helpful

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I couldn’t put my iPhone down!

I started listening to this audiobook the evening I downloaded it and found it so compelling that I had finished by the next evening.

This is an excellent book; informative and well-written. Sheryl's personal story of loss, interwoven with the stories of other survivors’ hardships and tragedies, combined well with Adam’s in-depth understanding of resilience literature. It makes for an absorbing read (or, in the case of an audiobook, an absorbing "listen").

Their book includes important facts and strategies, intermixed with thought-provoking quotes, humor, and deeply personal stories -- the latter of which thoroughly held my attention. These personal stories provide concrete evidence that resilience is not a fixed personality trait, that there is much we can do to promote our own post-traumatic growth. I am especially appreciative that the authors emphasized there is also much that friends, family members, worksites, and on-line communities can do to promote such growth.

Thanks also to the authors for highlighting the ongoing plight of refugees throughout the world and the resilience they must demonstrate simply to survive in truly horrendous circumstances.

This was far more than a self-help book describing strategies for promoting resilience; there are many such books available and some are excellent. Instead, I view this book as a spark, a catalyst leading to many more critical conversations and initiatives.

I will share that I am a Health Psychologist at a major teaching hospital where I have the privilege of working with individuals suffering from a variety of serious medical disorders, such as heart disease, COPD, dysphonia, and cancer. I also teach resilience strategies to fellow healthcare providers, with the goal of supporting their personal growth and, at a minimum, preventing professional burnout. I share none of this to feed my ego. Instead, I wish to convey that my work in this rapidly evolving field leads me to read stacks of technical articles, white papers and edited professional books on the topics discussed in this book. I also frequently read books written for a broader audience, specifically seeking out those I would add to my recommended reading list for my patients and fellow healthcare providers.

Option B will definitely be high on my list.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Stop at the end of Chapter 6

I read this book for personal help, to get past the sink hole where I currently dwell . Chapters 1-6 were helpful. I felt in Chapter 7 the authors took a hard right turn and jumped on a soapbox. Appropriate for a different book, not this one.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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It's a memoir first, an informational book second

This was a good memoir about a very difficult time in her life. It was well written and thoughtful, but as memoirs often are it was much more free-flowing than I expected. I thought this would be much more similar to Angela Duckworth's "Grit". Organized and informational with a narrative to tie things together a little bit more. It was much more focused on her healing process than on an organized set of principles to help others do the same (although these principles certainly were there). I have a newfound respect for Cheryl Sandberg, and I wish her and all of her efforts (along with Adam Grant's, both of whose books I've read and thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from) the best. I just don't think what was advertised was delivered to the level I thought it would be.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Listened all day long!!!

This was like reading a great book I just couldn't put down. So much resonated with me and the only time I stopped was to write down a particular idea or quote I wanted to remember. Feel grateful and inspired.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not what I expected

This was more of a biography than a self help book. It could be my fault for not researching what exactly the book was about. Perhaps others gleaned lessons from the author's experience. I couldn't because although I felt bad about her loss, I couldn't relate and eventually grew tired of hearing her story.

I'm not cold hearted, I'm just not a biography-type person. This approach to teaching someone how to be resilient wasn't appealing to me but may help others. So this is definitely not a dig on the author.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 04-24-17

Finding Post, Even Pre, Traumatic Hope

Sheryl Sandberg was hit by the great equalizer: Death. She says that she really didn't get what single mothers were going through when she wrote her mega hit, "Lean In", but boy, then death took her young husband and it has hit her with the most hurtful bang imaginable. She makes no mistakes in "Option B." Everyone, every trauma, is covered. Yes, there's an emphasis on the difficulties that are added to trauma for women, but this book is for everyone, even those who haven't faced significant losses or trauma yet.
It teaches resilience, how to pick yourself up, how to share, how to laugh again and find a new normal for your new life, the life that's left over once all has been shattered and you've had the strength to sift through the pieces.
The most important things to remember are the three Ps. Grief and trauma are not pervasive, permanent or personal. There are plenty of stories throughout the book which will teach you these lessons. And the narration's great: Elisa Donovan's voice is full of emotion when it calls for it, full of humor when that's thrown in too.
This is a heartfelt book, carefully written with love and honor.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine lost her husband to an early heart attack. I was so shocked I didn't know what to say, how to tell her I cared, how to just be with her.
Now I do...

37 of 45 people found this review helpful

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riveting, captivating, encouraging and cathartic

This honest rendition of Sheryl 's book is cathartic and healing. I am so sorry.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The most heartfelt book I have ever read

I absolutely love Sheryl Sandberg, and was so excited for this book to come out on April 24. It was even better than I expected.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Books is ok but completely misadvertised

This book is around 40% about dealing with grief. About 10% about how people are treated after someone dies. Around 30% how to treat someone after a loved one dies. Around 5% how it affects your friends and family. Around 5% research/quotes etc. around 5% name dropping. Around 5% unnecessary politics that need to be fixed even though they didn't affect the author at all (not saying they were wrong, they just weren't relevant). 0% was about overcoming adversity. 0% was about resilience. And 0% was about finding joy. Throughout the book a few key words were thrown in to pretend it was about these things, but it was not. This is not a bad book, but it is not the book it claims to be, and not a book I would have ever chosen to read. It is not a business book. It is not a motivational book. It is a book about death and grief. Option B isn't that you lost your first choice career, or failed in some regard, it is that you lost your husband. Which is helpful, and needed to be written. But will only be helpful or relevant to an extremely small subset of readers. Which is a shame both to the people that needed to read it but won't find it, and those that do read it, due to its blatantly false advertising.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful