adamgrant

Wharton professor Adam Grant will be partnering with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in a new book, titled "Option B." // Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Through their books “Lean In” and “Originals,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton professor Adam Grant inspired millions with stories of success and ingenuity. But the two are now tackling a more sober topic: grief.

Currently titled “Option B,” the book is meant to explore how people can recover from and grow through grief and trauma.

Sandberg has spoken openly about the loss of her husband, former SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, who died suddenly on a trip to Mexico last May.

“For many months afterward, and at many times since, I was swallowed up in the deep fog of grief — what I think of as the void: an emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even to breathe,” Sandberg said in a commencement address at the University of California at Berkeley.

“I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface and breathe again,” she said.

Along with stories of personal loss, including Sandberg’s, the book will also include research conducted by Grant. It might seem unusual to bring in a Wharton professor for a book about grief — but Grant’s research on emotions like generosity and motivation makes him a natural fit for the topic.

“Some people felt that I did not spend enough time [in ‘Lean In’] writing about the difficulty women face when they have an unsupportive partner or no partner at all,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post this May. “They were right.”

Unlike “Lean In,” Sandberg and Grant’s new book will focus explicitly on the difficulties and loss that people may experience in their lives.

“We explore what it takes to help others through hardships: how to speak about the unspeakable, comfort friends in the wake of suffering, and create resilient workplaces, build robust marriages, and raise strong kids,” Grant said in a July Facebook post.

The book’s title comes from a conversation Sandberg had with her friend Phil Deutch shortly after Goldberg’s death, CNN Money reported, about how she wished her husband was there to participate in a father-son activity with their child.

“I cried to him, ‘But I want Dave,’” she said. “Phil put his arm around me and said, ‘Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.’”

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