Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Review by Lauren
source: personal copy; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.
And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.
Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.
Review: The only show I’ve ever watched by Shonda Rhimes is Grey’s Anatomy, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to this book. This is something that everyone should be reading, though I can see how it might work best if you’re a woman like Shonda or even a working mom, again like Shonda. I’m a woman, yes, but I’m not a mom yet. Despite this, I loved this memoir. It’s not a story of how Shonda became as successful as she is or how she grew up with all her siblings, etc. though these are things that are touched on. Instead, this is a story about a certain time in Shonda’s life when she realizes that she says no to everything. She decides to set herself a challenge: for one year, say yes to every invitation that comes her way.
These invitations are university commencement speeches, going on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, starring in an episode of TV, and more. While we can’t always relate to some of the things that Shonda says “yes” to, the spirit is the same for everyone. Do not let the fear of embarrassment or not enjoying yourself stop you from saying “no” to every offer that comes your way. Sure, it’s not always wise to say “yes” to everything, but the more you do, the more you realize things about yourself. You can accomplish more in your life by saying yes. I loved the philosophy, because I know what it’s like to be nervous in social situations or trying something new. Before I read this book, I had already been trying to do more and experience more, but this is definitely a great reminder that it’s okay to put yourself out there sometimes.
While full of great information and an interesting look at how saying “yes” can benefit you, this is also a relatively short memoir. It’s an easy one to read and savor, so check it out!