Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes

No fairytales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.”

– Shonday Rhimes

What better time to talk about Shonda’s Rimes book Year Of Yes than the start of a brand new beautiful year?

Let’s say ‘yes’ in 2019!


I have never watched Grey’s Anatomy, one of the (arguably perhaps the?) best Shonda Rhimes television shows. Whereas I have watched Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder with great fervour, I have never watched Grey’s because I know myself and the emotional depth of that show will destroy me before I even get halfway. It’s self-preservation, really. But I have a love for (good) television and gifted writers, and Shonda is both. So when I heard she wrote a book, I got around to reading it.


Shonda finds out she’s shrinking away from life when her sister, one night at home, tosses a grenade Shonda’s way after she had to listen again to all the amazing things Shonda gets asked to do, and she declines.

“You never say yes to anything.”

Oof. Right? And if that’s not bad enough, Shonda wakes up one night after going to the Kennedy Center Honors (an event she wasn’t asked to go to, she was told she was going) sitting next to Michelle and Barack Obama, with the distinct and clear thought:

If they had asked me, I would have said no.

And she realises she is ruled by fear, and she’s miserable. And she remembers how happy she used to be, and she wants it back. Which is why she then promises herself she will starts saying yes.

To everything scary. To everything outside of her comfort zone. To all things that might seem crazy, goofy and out of character. And so the year of yes begins.

Kookiness (1-10):

It’s not kooky AT ALL, it is a beautiful book about a personal journey. But if you’re a big believer in the comfort zone you’re not going to like this book one bit.

My favourite chapters:

  • Chapter 5: Yes to Speaking the Whole Truth, which is so real
  • Chapter 7: All Play and No Work, about the importance of joy in a life
  • Chapter 13: Yes To Dancing It Out (with the right people), you just gotta read it. It’s amazing.

My favourite quotes:

  • “Dreamers often end up living in the basement of relatives. (…)I could dream about being Toni Morrison. Or I could do.”
  • “Shonda, how do you do it all? The answer is: I don’t. Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.”
  • “Nothing works until you are ready for it to work.”
  • “You say no and you say goodbye. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.”
  • “It makes me prickly in my true-north-y creases.”
  • “Nothing makes a toxic person more miserable and destructive than a happy whole person. Unhappy people do not like it when a fellow unhappy person becomes happy.”
  • “And yet, she [Cristina from Grey’s Anatomy] is goal. She is freedom.”
  • “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”

Self Help Hipster Stamp of Approval:

Hell yes. A hard working person who wrote a book about what happens if you go towards life a little more curious and open-minded. And I gotta say, Shonda Rhimes is an incredibly gifted writer. Beyond what most writers can do, she makes the story dance in front of your very eyes.

Give me 10 of these, honestly.

Where to buy: The paperback is only 9.30 on*! You can also buy the ebook version there, or on Amazon*.

*Affiliate links, although after four year of using ’em I just realized the Amazon one only works for the States. Go figure. Anyway.


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One comment

  1. Ja allemaal prima, maar het is nog steeds niet oké dat ze Derek heeft laten dood gaan. Nee sorry, flauw. Lijkt me een super gaaf boek! Ik had geen idee dat ze überhaupt ook een boek geschreven had. Fijne inspiratie 🙂