Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Hardcover)
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From 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.
About the Author
SHERYL SANDBERG served as chief operating officer at Meta (previously called Facebook), overseeing the firm's business operations. Prior to Meta, Sheryl was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank.
Sheryl received a BA summa cum laude from Harvard University and an MBA with highest distinction from Harvard Business School.
Sheryl is the co-author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy with Wharton professor and bestselling author Adam Grant. She is also the author of the bestsellers Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates. She is the founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build a more equal and resilient world through two key initiatives, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org. Sheryl serves on the boards of Meta, the Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, ONE, and SurveyMonkey.
ADAM GRANT is a psychologist and the New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take. His new book, Option B with Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg, debuts April 24, 2017.
As Wharton’s top-rated professor for five straight years, Adam is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers and received distinguished scholarly achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation.
Adam received his B.A. from Harvard University with Phi Beta Kappa honors and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He serves as a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times on work and psychology. His keynote speaking and consulting clients include Facebook and Google, the NBA, Teach For America, and the U.S. Army and Navy.
Adam is a former Junior Olympic springboard diver. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, their two daughters, and their son.
“A remarkable achievement: generous, honest, poignant. Option B reveals an aspect of Sandberg’s character—her impulse to be helpful. This is a book that will be quietly passed from hand to hand, and it will surely offer great comfort to its intended readers . . . The candor and simplicity with which she shared all of it is a kind of gift . . . Helpful, moving.” —Caitlin Flanagan, The New York Times
“The overwhelming message of this book is: We’re a lot more resilient than we think we are. But there are things we can do for ourselves, and for other people who are hurting, that will really allow that resilience to bloom.” —Katie Couric
“Sandberg is wise and honest and funny and practical in ways that are likely to stay with the reader. Her deeply personal book is more than memoir; interspersed with devastating scenes are equally powerful strategies for coping when your world has gone tilt.” —Tracy Grant, The Washington Post
“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
“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
“Sheryl writes about her own heartbreaking experience with a rare honesty. Then she and Adam translate her personal story into a powerful, practical guide for anyone trying to build resilience in their own lives, communities, and companies. It’s hard enough to resonate with readers. It’s even harder to help them take concrete steps toward a better future. Option B does both.” —Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“Thoughtful, insightful, and compelling. Both individually and collectively, we all need to understand the power of rehabilitation, recovery, and redemption if we are to overcome adversity. This incredible book doesn’t avoid the loss and tragedy we all sometimes encounter, but it is animated by a resolve that is both inspiring and instructive.” —Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative
“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
“Like her debut volume, Sandberg’s Option B is an optimistic book, even if one riven with sorrow. She argues that after adversity and loss, there is an opportunity for ‘post-traumatic growth.’ Thus the book is in part a moving memoir.” —Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker
“Sandberg’s new book is tough, full of the raw, painful emotions . . . Option B [has] advice for people who are grieving. But it’s also a book for nearly everyone—people who may not know what to say or do in the wake of a tragedy. It’s also a deeply optimistic book, framed around the question, what’s next?” —Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic
“Intimate, personal . . . Within Option B there are lessons for leaders who want to make organizations more resilient, help employees recover from a loss—or crisis—and create workplaces that are more prepared to deal with failure.” —Jena McGregor, The Los Angeles Times
“Admirably honest, optimistic . . . Sandberg shares a great deal of herself and what she has learned. At its core the book helps those who have been felled by despair: a guide both for those who have directly suffered loss and for those who are close to people who have.” —The Economist
“Though it was inspired by a deeply personal tragedy, Option B details Sandberg’s experience and the topic of resilience more broadly, and is filled with insight that is useful for anyone overcoming loss or failure.” —Brad Stulberg, New York Magazine “Science of Us”
“Being among the most powerful women in the world didn’t spare Sheryl Sandberg from the sudden death of her husband, not quite two years ago. Option B is at its best when pinpointing specific tips for coping with overwhelming grief. Sandberg writes how she created new rituals, such as taking a moment at dinner each evening to express gratitude for something positive that day, and declaring ‘small wins.’ Day by day, the book says, these small victories can become building blocks to a return to emotional equanimity.” —Diane Cole, The Wall Street Journal
“Option B tackles a universal subject, and offers up a path to happiness based not on fantasies of immortality but on the reality of the sorrow of life itself . . . The book is also a practical guide for handling grief and adversity. With her coauthor Grant, Sandberg lays out anecdotes and research on perseverance and resilience . . . Finding growth and ultimately joy is the project of Option B. Sandberg makes a point of emphasizing this aspect.” —Emily Peck, The Huffington Post
“Part memoir and part operating manual for surviving the hardest moments in our lives, Option B has essential wisdom . . . This book has the power to help heal. What's doubly impressive about Sandberg’s decision to write it: she must have known it required opening herself up to feedback that far exceeds the usual literary criticism.” —Rebecca Ruiz, Mashable
“Option B chronicles Sandberg’s devastating loss, her grief and how she emerged from it with a new perspective on life. The most affecting parts of the book recount not just Sandberg's grief, but that of her children . . . ‘Tragedy does not have to be personal, pervasive or permanent, but resilience can be,’ she writes. ‘We can build it and carry it with us throughout our lives.’” —Associated Press
“Sandberg is helping people find resilience and meaning in the face of adversity. She says there isn’t one way to grieve, but she’s learned that processing your feelings and not blaming yourself is an important part of recovery. . . Facing adversity, Sandberg says, is a part of daily life from childhood to adulthood.” —Queenie Wong, The Mercury News
“Moving . . . A memoir of the loss of a husband and finding a path forward beyond the grieving process. Writing with Grant, a highly rated professor at Wharton, Sandberg explores how to weather the storm of grief, applying concrete skills—in addition to more complex theories of psychology about how to find meaning in life-changing circumstances. A book that provides illuminating ways to make headway through the days when there doesn’t seem to be a way forward.” —Kirkus
“Helpful and hopeful Sandberg draws on her own pain around the sudden death of her husband, and shares what she has learned about resilience with a tone that is raw and candid. Those suffering as well as those seeking to provide comfort should find both solace and wisdom” —Publishers Weekly