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From Facebook's COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 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.

From Facebook's COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 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.

Reviews

Option B is the single wisest book about grief I have ever found ... I have tried to think of anyone who would not find Option B invaluable at some point in their life, and I can’t.

Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian

Remarkable, generous, honest, [and] almost unbearably poignant … This is a book that will be quietly passed from hand to hand, and it will surely offer great comfort to its intended readers.

New York Times

It's a humbling - and tearjerking - story of humanity.

Marisa Bate, The Pool

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

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 take concrete steps towards 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

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

As someone who has spent the last 25 years immersed in the field of grief and bereavement I didn’t think I’d learn very much from Option B, but I did. It gave me useful ideas, ways of thinking and small steps that help rebuild a life after the death of someone we love. Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant have succeeded in combining useful information with heartfelt stories, which is illuminating and helpful. It is a book I highly recommend.

JULIA SAMUEL, author of Grief Works

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Extract

In the early weeks after Dave died, I was shocked when I’d see friends who did not ask how I was doing. I felt invisible, as if I were standing in front of them but they couldn’t see me. When someone shows up with a cast, we immediately inquire, “What happened?” If your life is shattered, we don’t.

People continually avoided the subject. I went to a close friend’s house for dinner, and she and her husband made small talk the entire time. I listened, mystified, keeping my thoughts to myself. I got emails from friends asking me to fly to their cities to speak at their events without acknowledging that travel might be more difficult for me now. Oh, it’s just an overnight? Sure, I’ll see if Dave can come back to life and put the kids to bed. I ran into friends at local parks who talked about the weather. Yes! The weather has been weird with all this rain and death.  

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