I’m super excited to tell you about this month’s virtual book club – Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. You may recognize the name as she’s the powerhouse writer behind Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy. Year of Yes documents the year she decided to start saying yes to the opportunities she was being given. When she previously would hide behind her computer and try not to show herself to the world, she had a turning point where she decided she would not be the person who always said no. Lucky for us, she shared what she learned in the process. Check out what we thought about the book below! ~Tiffany
Overall Pop Rating (1 to 5 stars, more stars the better we thought it popped!)
B: 4.5. I seriously couldn’t put this book down! Shonda Rhimes’ terribly blunt and personal writing style made me feel as if I was just chatting with my best friend, not reading a book. She just puts herself out there – the good, the bad and the ugly, and I found myself nodding along in agreement so often. It’s an approachable story and a great read for the new year.
T: 4.5. There are not many non-fiction books that I would call page-turners. I read this book so fast and I just loved it. Shonda Rhimes is such an incredible writer who speaks to normal people (and I’d argue her life is anything but normal!). The steps she took in her “Year of Yes” are things that anyone can do.
What is one word that describes how you felt after reading Year of Yes?
B: Validated. In quite a few of the stories she shared she made an observation that rang true to me and was often something that I think needs to be talked about more often. For example, in talking about an awards dinner honoring women, she says to a colleague: “Did you notice not a single woman in this room can handle being told she is awesome? What is wrong with us?!” I mean, how many times have you been paid a compliment and you actually just said “thank you”? I, for whatever reason, often try to explain away my success. These were my favorite moments in the book – moments that made me think and question my actions.
T: Happy. It was actually a really fun book to read. Shonda has such a sense of humor that she makes what could be such serious topics into something lighthearted to read. I was totally cheering her on and excited for her as the book ended.
What is one thing that you will take away from Year of Yes?
B: Toward the end of the book Shonda declares that “There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.” It is so easy to compare myself to others, to think I am not where I should be. This section was a wonderful reminder that to truly accept where you are leads to peace and happiness.
T: I really liked when she talked about how she is going to own her accomplishments and opinions. She says, “Mentally, I’m trying to be as cocky and immodest and brazen as I can. I’m trying to take up as much space as I need to take up. To not make myself smaller in order to make someone else feel better. I’m allowing myself to shamelessly and comfortably be the loudest voice in the room. I’m never merely lucky.” I struggle with this as well so I loved this section and aspire to be like Shonda!
Has anyone else read Year of Yes? We’d love to know what you thought.
And… (drum roll please)… the March book for our virtual book club is: Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. We hope you read long with us and share your thoughts in March!