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Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai and Adam Grant on Facing Adversity, Building Resilience And Finding Joy

How, even after the most devastating events, can we learn to find deeper meaning and appreciation in our lives?

‘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.’ – Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO at Facebook and international bestselling author of Lean In. In 2015 disaster struck when her husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly at the age of 47. Sheryl and her two young children were devastated, and she was certain that their lives would never have real joy or meaning again. Just weeks later, Sandberg was talking with a friend about the first father-child activity without a father. They came up with a plan for someone to fill in. ‘But I want Dave,’ she cried. Her friend put his arm around her and said, ‘Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.’

Everyone experiences some form of Option B. We all deal with loss: jobs lost, loves lost, lives lost. The question is not whether these things will happen but how we face them when they do. Sandberg’s new book, Option B, weaves her experiences of coping with adversity with new findings from her co-author, the award-winning psychologist Adam Grant, and other social scientists. The book features stories of people who recovered from personal and professional hardship, including illness, injury, divorce, job loss, sexual assault and imprisonment. These people did more than recover – many of them became stronger.

In this special Intelligence Squared in June 2017, Sandberg was joined by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for speaking up for women’s education. She refused to be silenced, and her recovery, bravery and stoicism have made her an international role model. In 2014 she became the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Sandberg and Yousafzai, in conversation with Grant, explored how even after the most devastating events, we can learn to find deeper meaning and appreciation in our lives and rediscover joy. They discussed how we can help others in crisis, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to our everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead.



Adam Grant

One of the world's most renowned organisational psychologists. His latest book is Hidden Potential

Adam Grant - Top-rated professor for seven straight years at The Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been recognised as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40. ​He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of five books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 45 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been named among the year’s best by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His viral piece on languishing was the most-read New York Times article of 2021 and the most-saved article across all platforms. His new book, Hidden Potential, has been released in October 2023. He hosts the TED podcasts Re:Thinking and WorkLife, which have been downloaded over 65 million times. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, Bridgewater, and the Gates Foundation. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, has served on the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon and has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.   

Malala Yousafzai

Activist for female education and human rights

World-renowned activist for female education and human rights. Born in northwestern Pakistan, she began blogging as a young schoolgirl for the BBC about her experiences during the Taliban’s growing influence in the region. In 2012 the Taliban attempted to assassinate her on the bus home from school. She survived, but underwent several operations in the UK, where she lives today and continues her education. She founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit, and in 2013 co-authored I am Malala, an international bestseller. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Time magazine featured her as one of the world’s most influential people. In 2014, she was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

Sheryl Sandberg

Chief operating officer at Facebook

Chief operating officer at Facebook and No1 New York Times bestselling author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Before Facebook, she was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. She previously served as chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department and as an economist with the World Bank. Sandberg is the founder of LeanIn.org and serves on the boards of Facebook, the Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, ONE, and SurveyMonkey. Her latest book is Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, published by WH Allen.