Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. – Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

For this week’s book review, I decided to reflect on a favourite of many, Year of Yes. The title gives the premise away and you get to travel with Shonda Rhimes through a valuable year indeed. She needs no introduction because you should know who she is.

I gifted my brother this last year for the holiday season and swiftly managed to borrow it as soon as he was done.  I had enjoyed her allowing us into her life, she wrote from the heart and personality really framed the essence of this book. But, I just could not connect in the way I think she wanted the audience too. I felt many of the lessons repetitive, her tales could have been shortened and would have been just as effective in delivering her message.

My mother adored this book (yes we are a family of borrowers) and I felt more disappointed with myself for not feeling the same way. After reading a few reviews online, I couldn’t help but agree with someone when they had said, that the book felt very much like a first draft. The book does give you the impression that Shonda wrote earnestly but somehow it feels more like you are reading through someone’s personal journals…I expected great writing not scribbled down notes if you get what I’m saying. Although the message really could have been summarised into “just do it”, I’m not sure if this is really motivational/self-growth book. I felt that her learnings were not explained well enough for me, which is strange because it is a 300-page book. What’s the word or phrase, I’m looking for? Superficial? Lack of genuine introspection?

The book is very surfacey in my opinion but her refreshing honesty does make up for it somewhat. That particular quote at the beginning of this post is my biggest takeaway. It’s taken me a long time to find happiness in the now rather than the could be’s and should be’s. It’s never a permanent state, so this book does serve as a gentle reminder on how to get back to it. Overall, it isn’t the worst motivational book personally (I’m looking at you “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck”), that I’ve read but it is rather average. In my opinion, there are gems scattered throughout it which you can implement in your life but they feel rather spread out. Would I recommend it? Sure, we are all different and you may find it more valuable than I did. Do I genuinely believe it will really change your life? Doubtful.

What are your stand-out motivational/self-growth or learning books? Do you find them useful and easy to implement?