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Book Review: Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

Book Review: Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

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“... being part of a community can give us strength that we sometimes can’t find on our own.”

Sheryl Sandberg wrote her second book Option B after her husband Dave passed away unexpectedly in 2015. This book is all about dealing with grief in the face of death, illness, or some other loss. Fortunately I have not experienced the death of my husband or immediate family member, but I have experienced the loss of extended family and close family friends. Adam Grant not only helped Sandberg write the book, he also helped her in the months following Dave’s death. Grant, an organizational psychologist at The Wharton School at UPenn, has worked with many different big companies, including Facebook, which is how he met Sandberg.

I enjoyed Sandberg’s take on dealing with grief. I appreciated her sharing her own story and others who shared their own stories with her. However, I feel like she jumped from point to point within chapters with little to no transition. Also, she name-dropped almost every major Silicon Valley executive. I understand as the COO of Facebook, Sandberg’s friends and colleagues are other famous individuals. However, it seemed like she took every chance to talk up Mark Zuckerberg. And I am sure he was a wonderful friend and boss in the months after Dave’s death, but it felt like she tried too hard to make that point.

I have not read Sandberg’s first book, Lean In, but I know that she caught some flak after not writing about single moms. She did address those criticisms briefly in Option B, but it still felt like she is writing to a very specific audience. A single mom of three young children in rural middle America who is diagnosed with cancer is obviously going to struggle a lot more than someone who was the resources and support system that Sandberg has. I am not trying to diminish Sandberg’s loss; I truly cannot imagine how it felt to have your husband and best friend die while you were on vacation and then have to fly home and explain to your children that their father had died. It just seems like Sandberg could have made more of an effort to make the book more accessible to others. It would have been different if Option B was just a true memoir, but it is supposed to be a self-help book about how to deal with grief. And to me, it just did not hit home for a broader audience.

I did enjoy Option B and thought that Sandberg and Grant made good points about not feeling guilty or wondering what you could have done to prevent illness or death. However, I had a hard time getting over all the name-dropping and the poor tranistions. I give it 3 stars.

Let me know if Lean In is worth reading.

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