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The Facebook COO opens up about what she’s learned since the sudden death of her husband in 2015.
Sheryl Sandberg’s new book is not an easy read. Well, in a sense, it is: The pages fly by. But the book is tough, full of the raw, painful emotions that followed the sudden loss of her husband Dave Goldberg when he was just 47 years old. What followed was, for Sandberg, a process of figuring out what life could look like when it wasn’t at all the life she had planned.
The book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, is somewhat framed as advice for people who are grieving. Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and the author of Lean In, recommends avoiding what the psychologist Martin Seligman termed the “three P’s”—personalization (“this was my fault”), pervasiveness (“this affects everything”), and permanence (“nothing will ever be the same again”)—and finding support in community.
But it’s also a book for the friends and families of the bereaved—which is to say, nearly everyone—people who may not know what to say or do in the wake of a tragedy.
I got it all wrong before,” Sandberg told me, referring to her earlier efforts to comfort those who were grieving. “I used to say, ‘Is there anything I can do?’ I used to say, ‘How are you?,’ or not say anything. Every mistake that someone else made with me, I’ve made.”
I sat down with Sandberg and her co-author (and friend) Adam Grant, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, at The Atlantic’s offices in Washington, D.C., to talk about death, grieving, and resilience. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.
To read the full interview, visit the link below: