Bookshelf: Option B

Option B

Book, $15

Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B, is a thoughtful, well-researched and heartfelt account of her experience living life after her husband’s sudden death. It is filled with advice, stories and professional guidance (from her co-author Adam Grant) about how to be resilient in the face of some of life’s greatest tragedies. While much of the book is specific to the kind of unimaginable grief Sheryl experienced, it’s a book for anyone who faces challenges, which is all of us.

The authors focus on an idea I’ve long believed: that resilience is a learned skill that gets stronger with daily practice, rather than an inherent trait. I have a particular interest in the study of resilience and grit. (Grit: The Power of Passion and Perserverance is another fantastic book on the topic.) For as long as I can remember, I’ve battled depression and anxiety, with a sprinkling of low self-esteem thrown in to keep things interesting. One of the ways I cope and help myself from falling into a dark abyss is to continue to strengthen my resilience and focus on my ability to be gritty. It’s one of the reasons I work as hard as I do. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re guaranteed to get knocked around a lot, so your success is ultimately predicated on your ability to be resilient. The same skills I use navigating challenging business-related situations, I also use in my personal life to help keep me out of the darkness that can all too easily seep into my mind.

It’s our ability to be resilient that helps us navigate the hardship that life throws our way. So much of what she wrote resonated with me. While I’ve never experienced the kind of earth-shattering loss she did, the idea of taking one day at a time, the need to ask for help and the importance of accepting help even if you never asked for it, are all things we should be doing anyway.

One part of the book struck a cord. Sheryl talks at length about the need for self-compassion and self-confidence, two things I’m actively trying to improve. I beat myself up over even the silliest of mistakes and fill my head with negative self-talk. As I was reading, I highlighted this line, “Self -compassion comes from recognizing that our imperfections are part of being human. Those who can tap into it recover from hardships faster.” Self-compassion takes tons of work and discipline, but what you get in return can completely change your life for the better.

At some point, life is going to pull the rug out from underneath us, if it hasn’t already. Possessing the skills to not only cope during but thrive in the aftermath of struggle is a gift to ourselves and the ones we love. After reading this, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to heal and care for yourself and how best to help those in your life who need it. It’s filled with compassion and empathy. It also deepened my appreciation for my little family and made me realize, once again, how fast and fleeting life is. I can’t recommend this book enough.


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. Meghan, I attended one of your workshops before I launched my styling biz. And every time I hear a part of your story, I relate to it so much. Our backgrounds and paths are so similar. Thank you for sharing about anxiety + depression, an often unspoken thing. Its comforting to know I’m not alone and success is possible while living with this condition. And so true about self-compassion + being hardest on myself. Happy 10 yr anniversary, so well deserved =)

    1. Hi Neepa,
      I remember the workshop you were in! I’m so happy to hear that all these years later you are still working your business. Congratulations! I’m hearing from so many women who also deal with anxiety and/or depression. The more we share our experiences I think we’ll be able to change the perception of it and talk about it with compassion and empathy. Thank you so much for your note! xx

  2. Thanks for posting about this book Meghan! My brother has been battling severe depression and anxiety over the past 2-3 years, and this will be perfect for him to read. I will also likely order it and read it myself, not only to help him out, but also to improve my own self-confidence and self-worth, as I have had recent tough losses (my mom 4 years ago) and a history of mild depression/anxiety myself. The timing of this post couldn’t be better! Thank you so much 🙂 P.S. – One of these days when I’m in the area, I’ll stop by your new store!

    1. Thanks Tracy. I hope you both benefit from the book. I also found Shawn Achor to be incredibly helpful. He is a “happiness expert” who uses science to explain how to find happiness. He is also really open about dealing with his own depression. He’s story is very encouraging. xx

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