Book Review#7 ‘Years Of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes

This was a surprisingly good book about confronting your fears and being more open to new experiences. Shonda Rhimes is the writer and producer of several popular TV shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” A self-described introvert, she realized she was always turning down opportunities to attend gatherings because she would rather stay home with her kids or just keep working.

So she challenged herself to spend a year saying yes to things that scared her, such as going on the Jimmy Kimmel show and giving a commencement speech at Dartmouth. The experiences were positive, and soon it became easier to agree to things that used to scare her. She also got inspired to exercise more and start eating better, and she lost 100 pounds. 

A friend recommended this book to me, saying it had some good stories about balancing work and personal life. I was glad I gave it a chance, because I did find it inspiring and got some useful tips. I listened to this on audio, and Shonda was an entertaining performer. Recommended for those who like project memoirs or life-changing stories.

Favorite Quotes from the book.

  1. “They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.
    I think that’s crap.
    I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”
  2. “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.” 
  3. Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” 
  4. “Her toolbox is full. She has learned to not let go of the pieces of herself that she needs in order to be what someone else wants. She’s learned not to compromise. She’s learned not to settle. She’s learned, as difficult as it is, how to be her own sun.”
  5. “Lucky implies I didn’t do anything. Lucky implies something was given to me. Lucky implies that I was handed something I did not earn, that I did not work hard for. Gentle reader, may you never be lucky. I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”
  6. “Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one no at a time.”
  7. “Saying yes . . . saying yes is courage. Saying yes is the sun. Saying yes is life.”
  8. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” I whisper to myself in the shower every morning. That is my favorite Muhammad Ali quote. If you ask me, Ali invented modern-day swagger.” 
  9. “You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring, and dreams are not real. Just . . . DO.” 
  10. “Yes to everything scary.
    Yes to everything that takes me out of my comfort zone.
    Yes to everything that feels like it might be crazy.
    Yes to everything that feels out of character.
    Yes to everything that feels goofy.
    Yes to everything.
    Say yes.
    Speak. Speak NOW.
    “Yes,” I say. “Yes” 



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