Year of Yes

Year of Yes

Book - 2015 | First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
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In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood's most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life--and how it can change yours too.

She's the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder . Her iconic characters--Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating--live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before , Shonda's introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda's sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, 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 creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn't marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun--when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live , and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2015.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476777092
Characteristics: xxii, 311 pages : illustrations (chiefly colour)


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Nov 14, 2018

I primarily judge books based on whether or not I would recommend them to my very busy and highly intelligent friends. Wink. So based on that metric, it fails to pass the test. The book was not inspirational as much as it was just overly personal, somewhat self-effacing, and anecdotal. There was a moderate level of amusement to be found in some of her musings but overall it was reminiscent of that all too awkward feeling when the person on the airplane next to you is just prattling on about their life and you're just thinking about what cocktail you want to order next. You smile and nod, but it really stopped being cute about 200 pages ago.

For what is worth, I did like the speeches that she included in the book. Overall, its an ok read but I would not recommend it unless you are a Shonda Rhimes super fan. There are a few funny moments and other random nuggets to savor, but honestly this piece would have been better suited as one of those profound "life-changing" articles that you would read in "O" magazine.

Oct 18, 2018

This is a shameless, sell aggrandizing book about the author, by the author.

Mar 07, 2018

If you like her shows, you'll like her book. It's written like a Bailey or Meredith monologue.

Feb 07, 2018

Oh, I wanted to like this so much. Shonda Rhimes is an amazing woman who has accomplished so much. Before I go on, I want to state my incredible admiration for her. I know I couldn't achieve 1/4 of what she does before breakfast in a month. And I fully understand that she's human and this is a book about her becoming more herself, a more fully realized human being. Gods bless her! (And not in the Southern "bless your heart" sense, but a sincere invocation of All Good Things to come to her.)

The problem is that it made me feel incompetent and awful. And it made my depression trigger like crazy, because if someone as awesome as Shonda Rhimes has issues, what hope do the rest of us have? I know all of these things are irrational, and no one should compare one's self to another person, but I commit to be honest in the review and this book made me really sad.

Rhimes' book is a memoir of the year when she committed to say Yes to doing things that made her afraid and want to run and hide. This is fantastic, and I think she's braver than hell for trying it. I think it's a valuable tool for many people. I'm not sure that "speaking to the graduating class at Dartmouth" is scalable to something many people can understand. It seems to me it would have one of two effects: Either really inspiring, or "Man, and I can't even speak to the church Ladies' Auxiliary, I suck."

I might be being too hard on this book. I certainly wouldn't tell someone not to read it. But I don't think I'll be rereading it any time soon. Three of five stars.

May 22, 2017

I really loved this book. I must admit, I had no idea who Shonda Rhimes was before I read this. I have seen the TV shows but never paid attention to the credits.
I could totally relate to her always saying no or coming up with the plague when you want to cancel plans, I think I have had every disease known to man for my excuses. And the part about saying yes to not getting I don't feel like a bad person for not wanting all that.
I'm going to start with 3 months of yes first. Baby steps!

Feb 27, 2017

I was thrilled to take this book home after seeing Ms. Rhimes interviewed about it. I expected a lively account built on a solid foundation, maybe some personal wisdom to use in my own life.

It's the story of a very rich woman with every means at her disposal to do whatever the eff she wants, whenever. She's an introvert, so being in social situations is difficult for her. (I'm an introvert too. I once had a party in my honor in a Fifth Avenue Penthouse: I spent most of the night hiding on the balcony, in the kitchen, behind floral arrangements....)

But, OMG! This book TEDIOUS! One word paragraphs. Two word paragraphs... Here's a sample:

"Well, it's gotta be broken.
It's BROKEN, right?
Right? RIGHT?
I do not have a broken seat belt."

Every page has at least one passage like this. Most pages, several. Say "No" to this book!

Jan 09, 2017

I didn't know much about this book prior to reading it, but I knew a lot about Shonda Rhimes (or so I thought), and knew that I HAD TO read it. I am more than happy that I did. I.Love.This.Book!

The Year of the Yes is EMPOWERING and speaks to women, mothers, those wanting to get ahead in their careers and others. It sheds an honest light on the masks covering the imperfections that we all have, while allowing ourselves to embrace the good within us and the vulnerability needed to change those parts of our behavior or routines that hinder us from enjoying the gift of life, family and friends. This book made me think, reevaluate, prioritize, laugh and inspired me in numerous ways. Although the hard copy is amazing, I also recommend listening to the audio version to hear the wit, sarcasm and heart behind the words.

This is a great read for anyone starting their New Year's resolutions, setting a new goal or simply wanting to reinvent themselves. And to those people, I say, good luck and enjoy the book!

Oct 29, 2016

If you're looking for a permission to live the life you want to live, then this book may be the last push you are looking for. Written in an honest, funny, Shonda-esque way, it's a quick read that will pick up step or at least your perspective for the weekend.

Sep 06, 2016

This book is incredible! I love that Shonda Rimes found the courage to say yes to things she would normally say no to. It's not easy for an introvert and as she walked through those yes's she found her boldness. It's amazing that despite her accomplishments she was terrified to talk to others or be seen and after one comment from her sister "you never say yes" she decided to persevere!
(Shonda Rhimes is the critically acclaimed and award-winning creator and executive producer of the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal and the executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder.)

Jul 28, 2016

The topic of a Year of Yes was interesting to me because I have a soft spot for books about year-long experiments. But I was also intrigued because I felt the topic of such a book could just as easily be a Year of No. Just as many people need to learn to say No to inappropriate requests as need to say Yes to scary opportunities. I was worried that this book might be reductive on that score, but Rhimes addresses it ably in her chapter entitled “Yes to No, Yes to Difficult Conversations.” This chapter really crystallizes the fact that Year of Yes isn’t about Yes, so much as it is about not saying either Yes or No simply because you are afraid. Full review:

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Jul 28, 2016

In the fall of 2013, Shonda Rhimes was, by all accounts, extremely successful. She had two popular TV shows on the air, a third that had just been retired after six seasons, and a new program was in development. She also had three children, including a three month old baby. Over preparations for Thanksgiving dinner, Rhimes was telling her older sister, Delorse, about all the invitations she was receiving to parties and awards shows as a result of this success, none of which she had any intention of accepting, when her big sister said six words that stopped her dead in her tracks. “You never say yes to anything.” It would take several weeks for those six words to percolate, but by Christmas they would be waking her up in the middle of the night. By her birthday in January 2014, she was making a public declaration to her closest friends and family that she was going to spend a year saying “yes to anything and everything that scares me.”


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Jul 28, 2016

“Judging by some of the reactions I’ve gotten to stories I’ve written for my characters on TV, a woman not wanting to marry or not wanting to have children is cause for a good old-fashioned witch hunt.”

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