Year of Yes with Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person Book Cover Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Shonda Rhimes
Self Help
Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition
September 13, 2016
352 pages

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.

I love Shonda Rhimes.

Who wouldn’t love Shonda Rhimes?

Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to get Away with Murder is already enough reason for anybody to love this phenomenal women. Not only is she a brilliant writer (I have watched most of her shows so I can attest to that), she is also funny as hell.

I just read Shonda’s book ‘Year of Yes and I could not put the book down. Shonda has a way of drawing readers into her world (Shondaland) and making you feel at home there. You literally do not want to leave but what caught me off guard about the book was it wasn’t just another self-help book of this is what I did and you should most likely do the same.


Shonda ‘exposed’ herself in the book and it almost makes you feel like her friend. She writes in such a way that you feel you can relate to her pain, her disappointments and her fears. It’s almost like you know her and feel happy for her and her success. The success she achieves is contagious because all of a sudden you feel like you can too. Shonda makes what we struggle with and what we deem impossible possible by sharing how and WHY she said yes to each of the items that drastically changed her.

The reasoning behind every yes for her and how she could be happy. Most of us, yes me included look at what the world tells us to change and then we fixate over that. I try and I try and I try but because I try and do what the world is suggesting I normally land on my behind and fail. Once I fail I rationalise by saying I tried and quite but if the change is something that is coming from within and not from the outside forces then I believe I have a better chance of succeeding and when I do fail I won’t quite as easily.

I will not be trying the year of yes the way Shonda Rhimes has done it but what I will do is to commit to thinking about things a little more before making a decision. I am prone to saying NO a lot and just not trying because there is no failure with just sitting at home, but I am starting to view doing nothing is actually failure by default (that’s from JK Rowling) and that in itself is making me question and THINK about the decisions I have to make.


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1 Comment

  1. True.

    I think I struggle with the same thing in another form. It’s really easy to just let yourself think that because you’re busy with some other things, you don’t have to do the other important things.

    Thanks Jean – this is good reading 🙂 Good to know what’s going on in your head.

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