“Let me not Die while I am still Alive”
As I was halfway through the book, I rushed to call my friend who was showing signs of anxiety a while ago. As much I wanted to make sure that she was fine, the thought that scared me the most was ‘what if I am too late to ask?’. That is the kind of impact the Option B had on me.
About the book
Option B stems from a personal loss of the author Sheryl Sandberg, who lost her husband leaving her with two young kids and a life she never imagined. Option B is the opposite of option A i.e., Our master plan for a happy and stable life. It is a life of hardships, miseries, a struggle to catch a breath and, a life no one chooses to but has to live.
“Lean in? I could barely stand up,” says the woman who spoke of leadership, empowerment and taking the charge two years back. How could she end up in such a misery? How could not escape the bottomless void that was her life now?
Sheryl’s open confession of her vulnerabilities and insecurities about her children and herself is the chord that connects with people suffering from trauma of a loss. The book could not have been more honest as she has poured her heart out while speaking of her fears, pain, anguish, the lingering grief and her search for ways to end the sorrow. Her desperation to seek help from family, friends, co-workers, friends of friends and even strangers is evident in the book.
Structure and Elements of the book
Co-authored by Adam Grant, Psychologist, Professor at Wharton University, Option B stands out as a thoughtful compilation of real and powerful stories, scientific research and methods of overcoming grief, building resilience and finding joy.
Well researched insights on the psychology of self-recovery and practices like Martin Seligmen’s 3Ps, labelling negative emotions, banning words like ‘never’ and always’, ring theory etc., are effective tools to help people bounce back in life. Braving social stigmas, surviving sexual assault, breaking silence on racism, child abuse, battling cancer the book has tried to touch as many subjects as possible. It shows that there are people who chose hope and goodness over negativity in the darkest hours life.
“To maintain faith at all times, despite our setbacks, we had to become an alchemists”
The author’s interaction with survivors and studies about people who healed themselves and the ones grieving have been carefully curated in well-defined separate chapters.
Why you should read this book?
Option B is different from other self-help books as it does not follow the cliché. It is bold enough to explore some very difficult yet basic human questions that we face every day, but don’t know how to deal with them. It asks questions like
“What happened? If your ankle gets shattered, people ask to hear the story. If your life gets shattered they don’t?”
And shows that “I am sorry for your loss.” isn’t the only thing one can do. The responsibility and wiliness to share someone’s sorrow lies in speaking the truth, asking the right questions and not avoiding difficult answers. It lies in acknowledging that things are not okay, and being there for wholeheartedly whenever needed.
The author admits that the book is not the answer to grief, but offers pragmatic steps to build resilience through courage, perseverance and support of the people which will help in recovering from grief.
It convinces us that it is possible for one to find meaning in life and open doors to joy even after tragedies.
Who should read this book?
The book offers anecdotes for everyone from individual to the entire community. It goes beyond being a story of coping up with the loss of a loved one and becomes a global call to create a resilient society through compassion and support.
Option B has already reached out to distant communities and is bringing a positive change. As a reader and reviewer, the book struck a deep chord with me and I see the change it has brought into my everyday life. I sincerely recommend it to be read by everyone because whether you are suffering or not, each one has a role to play in making somebody’s Option B successful.
Pro Book Reviews Ratings
Structure and Elements: 3.8/5