Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

My eyes were opened to a world of awesomeness the day my friend said, “Have you watched Grey’s Anatomy?” and I replied, “Nope…”. Needless to say she was firstly stunned and then immediately excited to show it to me. I was hooked from episode one and have been a fan of Shonda Rhimes’ shows ever since. So when I found out she had a book, Amazon was opened immediately and it was straight in my basket. Here’s what I thought about it…


Spoiler Free Review

Title: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun & Be Your Own Person.

Author: Shonda Rhimes

Published: Simon and Schuster UK, 2016

Pages: 352

Some links: Goodreads and Amazon


I have been having a moment with autobiographies recently. Up until last year I don’t think I’d really read any (and I wasn’t interested to). But then people I actually liked and admired began to publish books and I was curious. This purchase was one of those moments – I have loved Shonda Rhimes TV shows since I was first introduced to them. They are smart, insightful, witty, drama-filled and fun. It’s hard not to get hooked into her style of story-telling. Let me tell you, reading her autobiography was no different. I was interested in her stories and couldn’t wait until I could pick up the book again and continue to read.

The Year of Yes was a product of a few mumbled words from her sister: you never say yes to anything. They shook her to her core and forced her to look at her life. Saying no is often the easy route, but she chose to say YES for a year and see how it impacted her life. She was stunned by the positive impact and wanted to share this with the world.

There were so many points in the book where I was like, “I’ve done that too”. It’s so true – it’s often easier to say no and go and hide in the corner again. I’m quite an anxious person and would say no to any opportunity which would lead me out of my comfort zone. Thankfully, I’ve started to say yes more often and it’s led to me doing this I would have never imagined before. I went across country for university. I went across country again for a job. I live away from the comfort of my family. I took a trip to a different continent by myself. I would have never done any of these things without challenging myself to say yes. So reading this book was like a reflection of my life (albeit not on the same scale as her life is!) and another push in the YES direction. It was so uplifting to read about struggles and overcoming them with the help of one word.

Her voice was so strong, too. Even though she was talking about the struggles she’d faced and how anxiety had plagued her life, there were hardly any moments when the belief she had in herself faded. She knows she’s good at what she does and she’s not going to dumb that down for anyone. It was really refreshing to hear such a self-positive voice. I must be honest though, it did take me a little while to see it that way. At the beginning of the book, I was faced with thoughts of “Wow, she sounds quite big headed!” but then I begin to see it as just being pride at how hard she has worked and knowing she does her job well. I guess that says more about me (and possibly society in general) than it does about her.

If I was going to say anything about the format, I would have one niggle: a didn’t really see the purpose of all of the excerpts from her speeches. I enjoyed some as they related well to the stories she was telling. However, there were a few times where I caught myself thinking, “I could just look this up on Youtube” and that took me away from the story a little.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars!

This was a really powerful read! I enjoyed seeing more about the person who creates shows I really love, and I enjoyed hearing a voice who had no problem telling us how proud of herself she is, which seems rare. If you are thinking of buying this book, I’d tell you to watch her TED Talk – it’s very reminiscent of her writing style and the stories she tells in her book.

Happy reading, everyone!


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