I hadn’t ever read a motivational book until picking up Shonda Rhimes’ semi-memoir, semi-motivational book “Year of Yes” at the Putnam County Library. And yes, the author is the Shonda Rhimes who owns ABC’s Thursday nights. Despite being a mega-successful television writer and producer, Rhimes connects well to her audience since everyone can learn to say yes.
The title of the book basically reveals its entire premise. After her sister comments that Rhimes, a self-proclaimed introvert, always says “no” to everything, Rhimes sets out to say “yes” to everything that scares her for a year. See, she’s really only happy-ish. Rhimes writes, “I had no real way to account for my unhappiness. For once, the storyteller had nothing to tell. I had no idea why I was unhappy, no specific moment or reason to point to. I just knew it was true. . . . Maybe it was time to start saying yes. Maybe.”
Because of Rhimes’ goal, she says yes to giving the commencement address at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. I highly recommend for anyone to look it up on YouTube. I really enjoyed the beginning of the speech when she tells the students to “be a doer, not a dreamer.” People cannot go anywhere if they only dream. Rhimes also agrees to go on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” always play with her children no matter what she’s busy with, not answer emails on weekends, accept an award and give a speech at the Women in Entertainment event, and much more.
Throughout her accounts of saying “yes,” Rhimes explains how forcing herself to go to these events and focus on things that bring her joy made her feel totally happy again. Honestly, it’s very inspirational.
My two favorite chapters of the book were “Yes, Thank You” and “Yes to No, Yes to Difficult Conversations.” These chapters focus on accepting compliments, not blocking them, and being willing to say “no” at times. I, personally, really related to these chapters because it’s something I struggle with too, and I am sure I am not alone. However, by saying “yes” to these two things, anyone can be so much happier. Just accept the compliment, don’t be afraid of success, and be okay with telling a person “no.”
Overall, Rhimes’ book will make anyone want to say “yes.” It did for me.