In 2015 Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly at the age of forty-eight. Sandberg and her two young children were devastated, and she was certain that their lives would never have real joy or meaning again.
Just weeks later, Sandberg was talking with a friend about the first father-child activity without a father. They came up with a plan for someone to fill in. “But I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend put his arm around her and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.”
Everyone experiences some form of Option B. We all deal with loss: jobs lost, loves lost, lives lost. The question is not whether these things will happen but how we face them when they do.
Thoughtful, honest, revealing and warm, OPTION B weaves Sandberg’s experiences coping with adversity with new findings from Adam Grant and other social scientists. The book features stories of people who recovered from personal and professional hardship, including illness, injury, divorce, job loss, sexual assault and imprisonment. These people did more than recover—many of them became stronger.
OPTION B offers compelling insights for dealing with hardships in our own lives and helping others in crisis. It turns out that post-traumatic growth is common—even after the most devastating experiences many people don’t just bounce back but actually bounce forward. And pre-traumatic growth is also possible: people can build resilience even if they have not experienced tragedy. Sandberg and Grant explore how we can raise strong children, create resilient communities and workplaces, and find meaning, love and joy in our lives.
“Dave’s death changed me in very profound ways,” Sandberg writes. “I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface and breathe again.”