#5Star #review The Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes


It’s been a while since I read a self help book, and I’m so glad that I picked this one! It was referred to me by my sister, so a big fat thanks to her for passing the paperback into my oh so willing hands. It reads more like a journal of Shonda’s story than it does a ‘how to’ or ‘self-help’, yet in doing so she’s teaching her readers oh so much more than she would have by saying ‘this is what you need to do’ so to speak. This way, Shonda tells an actual story – a tale – yet she’s jam packed it with beautiful insight to bettering one’s day to day life.

You see, for years Shonda let herself slip into a mundane routine filled with nothing but work work work… that, and allowing herself to stress in constantly and gain weight. Although successful in her career, Shonda was completely unhappy and living her life hiding. She hid behind really anything she could in order to stay out of the limelight. On a thanksgiving day while her sister was prepping dinner, she made a comment to Shonda about ‘never saying Yes to anything’. This comment stuck with her. She dwelled on it until she came to the realization that being an excuse maker and always saying no to everyone and everything had transformed her into misery.

At this point Shonda made a pact to herself, and even told a few friends in order to hold herself accountable that she would say yet to everything that terrified her. Sure enough within weeks she was asked to give a public speech.  She forced herself to say yes despite her nearly paralyzing fear of personal publicity, all because of the promise she’d made to herself. Not only did she survive the speech, but she nailed it! (she even gives the speech in the book along with more and they’re pretty fantastic.)

But it doesn’t stop at this speech. Really it’s only a fraction, a step in the direction of Yes’ that takes her from unhappy to a woman exuberating confidence and self worth. This step turned into more steps of speeches, TV appearances including Oprah, Jimmy Kimble and more. Shonda took trips, dedicated herself more to her children than ever before, and even went from being overweight to a healthy lady in amazing shape. She takes us readers through her journey of this life transforming year with grace, attitude, opinions out the wahoo (which are hilarious BTW) and leaves us completely fixated on her. I personally will be saying Yes much much more than usual. I admire Shonda and feel like a better person after reading her tale!! Hands down 5 stars for me!


The instant New York Times bestseller from the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder shares how saying YES changed her life. “As fun to read as Rhimes’s TV series are to watch” (Los Angeles Times).

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today. Her iconic characters live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she suffered panic attacks before media interviews?

With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

“Honest, raw, and revelatory” (The Washington Post), this wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes finally achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. Best of all, she “can help motivate even the most determined homebody to get out and try something new” (Chicago Tribune).

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