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Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person Paperback – September 13, 2016
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The instant New York Times bestseller from the creator of Greys 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 Rhimess TV series are to watch ( Los Angeles Times ). Shes 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 Shondas life before her Year of Yesfrom 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 begunwhen 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 ). An Amazon Best Book of November 2015: I usually shy away from books with titles like Year of Yes hokey, I think, or glib. Besides, I dont need a self-help manual; I like to take my self-empowerment lying down, on the couch. Except e
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1) First off, unlike a lot of authors, she did not pre-seed Amazon with preselected reviewers hitting up all 5 stars and offering formulaic praise. When I signed on this morning there were 3 reviews versus the 20-30 replicant reviews you often see when a new book is released. Why? Because she doesn't need forced praise. The book is good. Very good. And like Shonda herself, it doesn't need fabricated self promotion but can stand on it's own merits.
2) She's funny. Like laughing out loud in public funny. Like people changing seats on the bus because you're smiling and snickering to yourself funny. Like spitting up coffee and pastry on the Kindle screen funny. You get the point.
3) In addition to being funny, she's pitch perfect in her capacity to convey authenticity, vulnerability, and confidence all within the same paragraph.
4) She's also wicked smart and genuinely compassionate. Sadly those two traits sometimes don't travel in pairs.
5) Her year of living fearlessly by fully stepping into her life and saying YES inspires because it shows that even a Shonda Rhimes can suffer from the "Who Me?" disease that afflicts so many women. Granted, Shonda needed to say yes to things like hanging out with the Obama's or being honored as a Human Rights Boss, but she brilliantly shows that despite the loftiness of her life, like many of us she too struggled with stepping into her well earned right to "stand in the sun" without fear or apology.
6) And like a good and righteous Queen, she shares the glow. She has done more than any other TV writer in history to celebrate, and as she says normalize, ALL human experiences by merely allowing people of all orientations, races, and ethnicities to BE and To do and say human things on television. Radical inclusiveness...what a concept.
I could go on, but really just read the book. Worth every ducket.
I first became aware of Shonda Rhimes because of Grey's Anatomy. From the first episode I was hooked. A few years ago I became a fan of How to Get Away With Murder. Side bar: Viola Davis is a master of her craft and she deserves all the awards! I still have yet to watch Scandal, but somehow I know I'll love it as well. So it's safe to say Rhimes knows how to write killer television series. And despite her epic dramas and phenomenal writing skills it was the title of her book that grabbed my attention: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.
One of the reasons the title grabbed my attention is because I had been saying no a lot. No to nights out with friends. No to events. No to my family. I felt overwhelmed by my responsibilities: work, school, mom, wife, trying to be everything to everyone. It's exhausting. Also, I'm an introvert. Which means I basically want to hide in my hobbit hole for days at a time. My husband is an extrovert as well as one of my children. And I think it's hard for them to understand why I need downtime. But I also felt guilty. Am I spending enough time with my kids, my husband? Should I be saying YES more?
So, on a cold December day I started Year or Yes. Shonda (I feel like we should be on a first-name basis now) describes how one little comment made by her sister led her to start her year of yes. Saying yes to things, especially things that scared her, was a liberating experience. It literally changed her life, her attitude, her way of living. Shonda doesn't hold back. She talks about her amazing family and friends, and how they helped her on her path to yes. No man or woman is an island and she gives credit where credit is due. I also like how she pointed out that sometimes we say yes to things by our actions that we should really be saying no to. By the end of the first chapter I was ready to start saying YES to more things in life. Now, I don't have Shonda's resources, so I still have to be choosy about when I say YES. Because this girl needs her sleep!
Year of Yes was narrated by the author as well. And I'm glad it was. Shonda has an easygoing conversational manner about her as if she's a friend about to give you some epic advice. So you might want to pour yourself a glass of wine and get comfortable. Year of Yes is inspirational, especially if you're not really feeling it these days. Shonda's vulnerability, humor, and journey will help you find the courage to say YES to life.