Book review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Book review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

This is the first of what will be regular business book reviews. I usually have a stack of books waiting to be read, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m hoping to give myself a bit of additional motivation to read more often by sharing and reviewing what I read.

Strictly speaking this book probably qualifies as “self-help” rather than a business book. Perhaps that classification is more to do with the gender of the author and the other kind of writing she does rather than the advice offered. Or perhaps it’s because of the Oprah-friendly subtitle: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. Shonda Rhimes is a writer of blockbuster TV shows including Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. She has been named as one of Time magazines 100 most influential people and Fortune magazine’s 50 most powerful women in business. So she’s definitely got the credentials to write a business book as well as the writing talent to go with it. She heads up Shondaland, a television production studio, and a lifestyle and storytelling website, shondaland.com.

Rhimes’s premise for the book is simple, after her sister comments under her breath that Rhimes “never says yes to anything” she embarks on a Year of Yes. Everyone needs a sister or friend like that! Instead of using her instinctive excuses of being too busy with work, or as a single mother, she starts saying yes to things that fill her with fear. This means overcoming a fear of public speaking, appearing on talk shows and saying yes to smaller opportunities like playing with her children, or getting on the dance floor. Obviously, the opportunities that come Rhimes’s way are probably a little different to the ones that present themselves to the average business owner but there are lessons to be drawn from the book.

Buy it:

If you instinctively say no to things and make excuses to avoid challenges. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be F.O.D. (First. Only. Different.), or perhaps you are or were F.O.D. in your industry. If you are a fan of Gray’s Anatomy, Scandal or any of the other Shondaland produced shows (of which there are many). If you feel you need to say yes more often and take more chances. If you can’t remember the last time you did something for the first time.

Borrow it:

If you’re not a fan of Gray’s Anatomy or any of the other Shondaland shows. If you’re not sure if the whole “self-help” thing is for you – although maybe you should just say yes to self-help books starting with this one!

Brush it off:

If you already say yes too much and need to learn to say no more often - although you could just read chapter 11: Yes to No, Yes to Difficult Conversations.

Bedroom or boardroom?

Bedroom – Rhimes’s writing style is easily digestible and engaging but probably not for everyone.  If you like your advice to be backed by statistics and science instead of personal anecdotes than this probably isn't for you.

If you’d like to suggest a book for review send me a message.

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