Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

year-of-yes-9781476777092_hrWhat better way to kick off another year of book reviews than with Rhimes’ empowering, encouraging semi-memoir Year of Yes?  Reading it definitely inspired me to jump more fully into life (aka the things that scare me).

Rhimes is obviously a phenomenal writer (she’s the brains and pen behind TV shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder), and her talent translates to book form very easily.  Because she so often writes dialogue, her prose is intimate, repetitive (in a good way), and conversational.  This book is a long letter from her to each reader, sharing what she’s learned and hoping you, yes you, will join her in a year of YES.  

I really admired Rhimes’ candid honesty.  She owns her introversion, her social fears, her inadequacies, her weight, her relationships.  What is so encouraging about her honesty is that she never hates herself for her struggles; she talks openly about how they keep her from fully enjoying life, but she doesn’t live in shame.  Instead, she takes each fear, looks it in the face, and decides to change.  She steps out of her comfort zone over and over again until, voila!  Her comfort zone has expanded to include a wide variety of events, conversations, and relationships.

I could empathize with a LOT of Shonda Rhimes’s story.  I too have a desire to Live Big that is often shut down because of my equal desire to “veal practice” (Shonda-speak for laying in bed watching TV while eating).  But Rhimes showed me how to accept my veal-ways while also pushing myself to say YES to more of the things that scare me.  After all, living in bed hiding from fear is a quick way to wind up dead in bed, having missed out on a lot of wonderful experiences.

Book Jacket

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived.  Hollywood party?  No.  Speaking engagement?  No.  Media appearances?  No.

And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as “hugging the walls” at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no:  nothing new to fear.

Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her:  You never say yes to anything.

Those six words became a wake-up call–and a challenge.  Soon thereafter, Shonda began her Year of Yes project: she committed, for one year, to say Yes.  There were terrifyingly public Yeses–Yes, she would give the commencement address at Dartmouth in front of ten thousand graduates and their families, and appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  There were the excruciating private Yeses–Yes, she would start taking her health seriously, and force herself to have difficult conversations about relationships and situations that were holding her back.  And there were–perhaps most difficult and meaningful of all–the Yeses that required her to explore, empower, applaud and love her truest self.  Yes.

Profound, impassioned, and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed–and saved–her life.  And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word:  Yes.

Release Date:  November 2015


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