Option B Book Summary - Option B Book explained in key points
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Option B summary

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

4.3 (92 ratings)
14 mins
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    Option B
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    Trauma often leads to coping with “the three Ps.”

    If you’ve been confronted with personal tragedy or any traumatic and life-changing event, it can dramatically alter your outlook.

    Psychologist Martin Seligman has identified three common responses to tragedy, which he calls the three Ps.

    The first one is personalization – blaming yourself for the tragedy.

    The author, Sheryl Sandberg, went through this stage after her husband died during a vacation in Mexico. Since the initial medical report listed the cause of death as head trauma caused by a fall from an exercise machine, Sheryl blamed herself for not keeping a closer eye on her husband.

    But Sheryl’s brother happens to be a neurosurgeon and was sure that the initial report was wrong; he tried to convince Sheryl that a fall from such a small height couldn’t be fatal.

    Sure enough, the second autopsy proved him right; Sheryl’s husband died from cardiac arrhythmia due to a non-diagnosed coronary artery disease.

    But this was just another thing Sheryl could personalize, and she began to ask herself, “Why didn’t I try harder to change his diet or get him to see his doctor more often?” Again, those around her, including her doctors, tried to assure her that it wasn’t her fault and that no single lifestyle change would have saved him.

    Another common reaction, and the second of the three Ps, is pervasiveness – when the pain and sadness reaches every part of your life.

    Being Jewish, the Sandbergs held Shiva, a seven-day period of mourning. Afterward, her children went back to school, and Sheryl tried to return to work. But the pain of her husband’s death felt all-consuming.

    Sheryl couldn’t get through a meeting at work without holding back tears and being on the verge of breaking down.

    This brings us to permanence – feeling like the pain is going to last forever.

    This can be the most difficult P to overcome because when we feel depressed, it’s easy to think that the load is so immense, we’ll never be able to shake it.

    But in the next blink, we’ll start to see just how we can move on.

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    What is Option B about?

    Option B (2017) is based on the personal experiences of Sheryl Sandberg who, after losing her husband, fell into a period of deep mourning. However, Sheryl’s story is not one of despair; it’s one of perseverance, and of emerging from a horrible experience even stronger than before. Discover what Sheryl learned about the grieving process and how she was able to reclaim her joy, find meaning in life – and death – and move on.

    Best quote from Option B

    In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. Albert Camus

    —Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
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    Who should read Option B?

    • Grief counselors
    • Readers experiencing personal hardship and mourning
    • Parents, friends and lovers who want to be supportive

    About the Author

    Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer at Facebook and an active philanthropist who helps women achieve their goals. She was previously vice president of online sales at Google, as well as chief of staff at the US Department of the Treasury. Her first book was the best-selling Lean In.

    Adam Grant is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School whose writing has received awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. He is also a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times and the author of the best-selling books Originals and Give and Take.

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