Sheryl Sandberg's New Book a 'Remarkable Achievement'

Facebook COO's tome on handling grief, finding joy after huge loss strikes chord
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 3:40 PM CDT
Sheryl Sandberg's New Book a 'Remarkable Achievement'
Sheryl Sandberg's new book, "Option B," is stirring up a lot of emotions—in a touching way.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Sheryl Sandberg credits Mark Zuckerberg with helping her survive after husband Dave Goldberg's death in 2015 from a heart attack, a fact she recently revealed in an interview to promote her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, released Monday by Knopf. Now that the book is out, the reviews are trickling in for the tome, which the Facebook COO co-wrote with Adam Grant, a Wharton psychologist. The book combines Sandberg's personal narrative with data culled by Grant about the strength that people summon to overcome devastating events and rediscover their happiness. Some thoughts from around the internet:

  • Jenny Anderson, who lost her own brother in 2014, describes Sandberg's book as being "as much a guide for the bereaved as a handbook on how to be human" that's "packed with wisdom." Anderson also talks on Quartz about the three Ps that can stifle someone's journey through tremendous grief—personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence—as well as Sandberg's take on "all the friends who don't know what the hell to say or do."

  • In the New York Times, Caitlin Flanagan notes that Sandberg not only discovers "comfort for herself," she's got some to offer her readers, too. Flanagan calls Option B a "remarkable achievement: generous, honest, almost unbearably poignant"—including the exact words she said to break the news about her husband's death to her children. Sandberg "followed the oldest data set in the world, the one that says: The children are young, and you must keep going," Flanagan writes.
  • Rebecca Ruiz writes for Mashable that she wept while reading Sandberg's intimate revelations, and she wants others to "suspend your skepticism" of Sandberg and read the book, too—despite what Ruiz calls the "glaring blindspots" from her first book, Lean In. Although some may think Sandberg isn't relatable, Ruiz notes that Sandberg emerged from her own personal hell because she felt she could be a "conduit" to help others through their own grief. Ruiz also discloses the meaning behind the book's title.
  • Option B is a book of "radical vulnerability," writes Leigh Buchanan for Inc., focusing on the practical advice, "devastating" data, and "multiplier effect of poverty, inequality, and isolation on loss." Buchanan also covers how Sandberg, the consummate professional, handled eventually returning to work, complete with all of her doubts about her performance. One line that stands out to Buchanan: "I have long encouraged people to bring their whole selves to work, but now my 'whole self' was just so freaking sad," Sandberg writes.
(More Sheryl Sandberg stories.)

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