Book Review | Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: An Engaging Listen

Title: Year of Yes
Author: Shonda Rhimes
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Pages: 336


With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.


You should listen to the audiobook of Year of Yes. I tried to read the first couple of pages after listening to it, and was glad I chose the audiobook. Shonda is famously known as the creator of the amazingly popular shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. The way she writes in this book is hard to get used to, in my opinion. It doesn’t read like a novel. It feel more like voice-overs on a TV show, and I think that’s why I found the audiobook so much more enjoyable.

I’m not usually into self-help/inspire-you-to-be-better types of books, but since I am so impressed by what Shonda has managed to accomplish in the world of television, I decided to make an exception. I, too, say “no” to a lot of things. This book was meant for people like me. Year of Yes touches on subjects like motherhood, marriage, weight, self-confidence, diversity, putting yourself out there and more. This book is more than just telling everyone to say “yes” to more things. That is part of it, but this book also shows you that you don’t have to jump off a cliff with no parachute. You can do new things in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

The stand-out section of this book, for me, was the section on motherhood. I’m not even a mother, but the underlying message of it was great. Shonda is often asked “how she does it all” in regards to her work and being a mother. She sheds light on the fact that many mothers who work in the industry have help from nannies, but do not disclose this information. For normal mothers who may not have it all together, it can make them falsely feel a sense of failure.

She likened this to an experience when she was young, trying to no avail to get her hair to mimic Whitney Houston’s. She tried and tried, but she could never accomplish it. Later in life, she found out that the hairstyle she was trying to emulate was actually a wig. She could have never replicated it, and it wasn’t her fault. If only she had known it was a wig she wouldn’t have had to feel like a failure. I had a “woah” moment at this section of the book.

The message that kept coming up throughout Year of Yes was that in order to accomplish the things you want to accomplish, you can’t just dream it. You can’t just sit around and fantasize. You have to get up and put in the hard work to make it happen for you. it can be off-putting to hear things like that from someone so famous, but I never felt like that when listening to this book. Shonda felt really down-to-earth, and I personally related to her a lot.

If you aren’t the type of person who needs a push to say “yes”, then you may not get much out of this book. And if you have no interest at all in Shonda or her TV Shows, then you may not enjoy Year of Yes. I enjoyed it, though! I could totally see myself listening to it again some time.

4 Stars!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review | Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: An Engaging Listen

    • It’s really fun to listen to! I already watched How to Get Away with Murder but after listening to this I wanted to watch Grey’s. I’ve been binge watching it and I’m in the middle of Season 2 now lol


      • Yes, I heard from someone else that the first 7-ish seasons were good then it went downhill. I should check out scandal! I actually bought the first season on DVD a whileeee back and never watches it, oops. Better get on that! xD Thanks for reading my review!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I also listened to this on audiobook this past week and was really glad that I did. I think I just got more out of it by hearing the author read her own work. I think for me, there was just more authenticity by listening to Shonda as she talked a lot about her feelings and emotions. I found the parts of the book relating to being a woman in a powerful position was very similar to the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg which I also really enjoyed. I rated this read four stars.

    Liked by 1 person

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