Bouncing back from grief

Sheryl Sandberg’s new book is tentatively titled Option B.
Sheryl Sandberg’s new book is tentatively titled Option B.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband died last year, is writing a book to help people cope with hardship and loss

SAN FRANCISCO • After Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, lost her husband last year, she wrote a moving post about her grief. It prompted questions about whether she would write a book that would help people cope with their own loss.

Now she is moving ahead with the project.

The author of the best-selling book Lean In, which helped women think about their careers, Sandberg plans to write a book titled Option B about resilience, according to her co-author, Adam Grant.

Grant and Sandberg have previously collaborated on articles about women in the workplace.

"Option B is about how we can face the adversity in our lives, find meaning and bounce back stronger," Grant, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said in a post on his Facebook page last Friday.

Along with resilience, the pair will touch on themes of hardship and finding comfort after marriage, raising children and experiencing suffering, he said.

A spokesman for Sandberg confirmed her plans for the book and declined further comment.

Sandberg has not announced the publisher of her new book and her agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For years, the 46-year-old has been in the public eye for her technology roles, including leading Google's early advertisement sales efforts and later building Facebook into a booming business.

She became better known beyond Silicon Valley with the publication of Lean In in 2013 and is often talked about as a possible political candidate, although she has long denied that she has plans to leave Facebook.

But she was thrust into a different role in May last year when Mr Dave Goldberg, her husband of more than 10 years, died suddenly after collapsing in a gym while the couple were on holiday at a resort in Mexico.

In the months that followed, she began to speak publicly about how she was handling his death - this included her 1,700-word post the next month that resonated widely.

"I have learnt that resilience can be learned," she wrote in the post, adding that resilience requires three qualities: "Personalisation, permanence and pervasiveness."

In a speech delivered to the University of California, Berkeley's graduating class of 2016, she also touched on the idea of doing more writing on the difficulties that women who do not have a partner face in their daily lives.

The book's tentative title, Option B, springs from a motivational poster plastered around Facebook's Menlo Park, California, campus, one of many displayed on the company walls.

The phrase, Sandberg said, was uttered by Mr Philip Deutch, a friend and managing partner of NGP Energy Technology Partners, when she was struggling after her husband's death and said she wanted him, her Option A.

Mr Deutch's response: "Option A is not available." Instead, he said, they would make the most out of Option B.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2016, with the headline 'Bouncing back from grief'. Print Edition | Subscribe