A Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes


Dear Fellow Reader,

To read a book entitled A Year of Saying Yes right now seems to be going against the tide. Everywhere I look, I see articles on how to say “no”. Apparently, people have a hard time saying “no” and because of this, their lives are overly full and they are stretched too far. Now, I have been accused of not knowing how to say “no” but I think age has cured part of that.

But then there is Ms Rhimes. She had gotten very good at saying “no”. So good that she really was not doing anything much except working and going home to her family where she would work some more. In case her  name sounds familiar, she is the force behind such TV shows as “Scandal”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”. These shows make up the ABC Thursday night lineup. As you may guess, she is a very busy woman with a lot of pressure.

The book is written in a casual style that is easy to read and I was pulled into her story right away. She talks about how by writing this book she feels that she is exposing herself to the world. To a certain extent that is right. Her apparent openness invites you in to find out what she said “yes” to and how it went.

She explains in the book that she is the youngest of six children but that none of her family sees her position as anything to get excited about. One Thanksgiving while watching her older sister make the family dinner she was talking about the things she had been invited to attend. (Trying in her little sister best to get some response to how cool she was) when her older sister muttered under her breath, “You never say “yes” to anything.” This caused Ms Rhimes to stop and take stock and see that her sister was indeed right. She decided that it was time to change that.

Her first invitation when she started her year was an invitation to speak at her alma mater’s graduation ceremony. (Dartmouth) She felt safe in accepting because it was six months away. But other challenges came on the heels of that and she had committed so she had to rise to the challenge.

I thought that her explanations of why she didn’t want to do things – like live TV were funny. As one introvert to another, I would also create horrible scenes of disaster in my mind if I were asked to speak in front of an audience or walk out as a guest on a live TV show. She showed her vulnerabilities in a humorous relatable way.

The year went beyond just saying “yes”. She also learned that saying “no” was also valuable and that there were some things that she needed to make an absolute commitment to do. She learned a great deal about herself and the people around her. She learned that by setting limits in her work life that the world would not collapse.
I found this book easy to read and I wanted to read it to see what would happen next.
If you are interested in finding out more about Ms Rhimes either before you read the book or after, she has a TED talk that you might enjoy. I have included it at the top of this page also.


My last post had a giveaway of the book “Getaway with God” by Letitia Suk. We splurged and had two winners! The winners of the autographed copy of the book were TLC Nielson and Susan Natchke Tichkowski. I hope they enjoy the book as much as I did. And if you have had a chance to read the book and can leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, that would be great.
Actually please always try to leave reviews for books you read. It helps others and the author.

Thanks for reading!

About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
This entry was posted in Talking Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

  1. As many writers are introverts, saying “Yes,” must have been very difficult for Ms. Rhimes. I wonder how a person, who must receive tons of invitations, decides what to say “Yes,” too?

  2. Pingback: What Can You Change in a Year? | Carol Early Cooney

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.