BOOK SYNOPSIS: 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 (COO, Facebook) 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.
BIOGRAPHY: Adam Grant has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for five straight years. He is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling books translated into 35 languages. Originals explores how individuals champion new ideas and leaders fight groupthink; it is a #1 national bestseller praised by J.J. Abrams, Richard Branson, and Malcolm Gladwell. Give and Take examines why helping others drives our success, and was named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal—as well as one of Oprah’s riveting reads and Harvard Business Review’s ideas that shaped management. His third book, Option B with Sheryl Sandberg, is on resilience. Adam’s TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 8 million times. He received a standing ovation at TED in 2016 and was voted the audience’s favorite speaker at The Nantucket Project. His speaking and consulting clients include Facebook, Google, the NBA, Merck, Goldman Sachs, Pixar, the U.S. Army and Navy, and the World Economic Forum, where he has been honored as a Young Global Leader. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, where his articles on Raising a moral child and How to raise a creative child have each been shared over 300,000 times on social media. Adam was profiled in The New York Times Magazine cover story, Is giving the secret to getting ahead? He was tenured at Wharton while still in his twenties, and has received the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class that he has taught. He is the founder and host of the Authors@Wharton speaker series, and co-director of Wharton People Analytics. He has designed experiential learning activities in which students have raised over $325,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation while developing leadership, influence, networking and collaboration skills. He is a passionate feminist who serves on the Lean In board and the Defense Innovation Advisory Board at the Pentagon. Adam earned his Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, completing it in less than three years, and his B.A. from Harvard University, magna cum laude with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa honors. He has earned awards for distinguished scholarly achievement from the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, and the National Science Foundation. His pioneering research has increased performance and reduced burnout among engineers and sales professionals, enhanced call center productivity, and motivated safety behaviors among doctors, nurses and lifeguards. His studies have been highlighted in bestselling books such as Quiet by Susan Cain, Drive by Daniel Pink, and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. He is a former magician and Junior Olympic springboard diver.
SESSION HOST: Martin Prosperity Institute of Rotman School of Management
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